"Why is a post workout drink or after workout meal important?"
If you want to maximize your gains, your meal/drink after lifting weights is vitally important. And if it's not the stuff you need, or you don't eat it, you're just making it harder to gain muscle.
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Eat right to make it easy to gain muscle. Here's why it works, and how you can get the benefits easily…
Right after you've been working out at the gym is the time to eat. You've been breaking down your muscles, and now your body wants to rebuild them.
Give your body the raw materials it craves!!!!
Also, your blood is circulating quickly so nutrients will travel to your muscle tissue slightly faster after exercise. Assuming that your meal/drink is digested fast enough to make it into your blood stream.
Try to eat as fast as possible after going to the gym. Within 30 minutes is great, but the sooner the better. And don't set a stopwatch - 30 seconds won't matter, but doing other errands after the gym on your way home will.
Your body can't store protein for later use. And your muscles are, structurally speaking, primarily made of protein.
So give your body the raw material to build new, stronger muscles. It's that simple.
You need carbohydrates because they cause your body to release insulin, which has an anabolic (constructive) effect on your body. Your body releases insulin primarily in response to carbohydrates (fruit, bread, sugary stuff, honey, etc.).
Basically, you want carbohydrates. They help get the amino acids of the proteins you eat to your muscles fast to start building your muscles back up.
For right now, you don't want any fat. Fat tends to slow the absorption of nutrients in your intestines, which will slow your body's access to the protein and carbohydrates you're eating. And you want the nutrients available fast!
Whether it's a post workout drink or meal, don't have fat. It won't help you build muscle.
Drinks get absorbed into your blood stream faster. To make sure your muscles get what they need the fastest, use a post workout drink.
If you don't have a drink ready, a good healthy meal is a great alternative. You're still getting the protein and carbs, which is the important part.
And don't use those crappy, sugary, commercial drinks. Most of them have too much carbs and not enough protein. The majority of them are simply crap - eating a real meal or making your own shake/smoothie/drink is much better.
OK, I've just finished lifting weights and hmmm…. What has carbs, protein, no fat, is easy to get, and is a drink?
After lifting I usually drink some chocolate milk (non-fat). It's easy to get and gives me the nutrients I need.
If I'm eating something it'll probably be sausages and fruits, or a turkey or ham sandwich. They're simple, and they work.
If your workout doesn't push you hard enough, all the food and great timing in the world isn't worth squat. You won't gain muscle.
And eating anything with protein after your workout is good. Protein and carbs is better. Protein and carbs in a post workout drink is better still. And drinking that immediately after your workout is better still.
But something is better than nothing. And it's certainly possible to gain muscle without an after workout meal or drink - it's just easier with one.
Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!
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