There is a lot of controversy on what you need to do post workout.
Today I’m going to give you some post workout tips to follow, however there is a disclaimer: different doctors, nutritionists, personal trainers and other health care professionals have their own ideas on what to and not to do, and some of them will disagree with my ideas. This is why I’m giving you guidelines rather than telling you what I think you should do.
What should I eat?
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What your goal is here is to replenish the glycogen reserves in your muscles and liver and provide enough protein for your body to make repairs.
Glycogen is a carbohydrate that is stored in your muscles to provide immediate energy, it is also stored in your liver and is broken down into glucose and released into your blood stream in times of energy deficiency.
Obviously during your workout you are going to somewhat deplete the carbohydrate reservations and you need to replenish them. Complex carbohydrates are usually best because they take time to break down into glucose so they don’t spike your insulin levels, however immediately after your workout you should have some simple sugars to immediately start the uptake of that sugar into your muscles and liver.
This is the best time to cheat on your diet and have that chocolate bar you’ve been craving since this morning. Just remember to stop after one.
During your workout you created tiny micro-damage to the inside of your muscle cells and you need protein to replace the tears. You also need energy to forge the amino acids into a functional structure. That’s another big reason post-workout is optimal time to cheat on your diet.
How much should I eat?
Well there is no real one single answer that everyone agrees on. If your goal is to build muscle than you should eat enough carbohydrates to replenish the energy lost, and if your goal is to burn fat you should eat a little less than that.
Protein is just as controversial, one thing I should mention is more is not always better. Most people can’t digest more than 30 grams of protein at a time. So if you’re having more than that you are wasting your money.
It’s probably a good idea however to get in more than 10 grams after your workout and more so if you did a workout that focuses on hypertrophy, strength or power.
When should you eat it?
For the guidelines I’ve already specified I am referring to immediately after your workout. In addition to this if your goal is to build muscle you should also consume a high carb and high protein meal or snack every 2-3 hours after your workout.
If your goal is to burn fat, resume your regular diet regimen, unless you are on a restrictive diet. My advice in that case is stay away from restrictive dieting. Restrictive diets never work long term and they put you through so much mental and hormonal stress that it’s not worth it at all.
What is DOMS?
DOMS stands for Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Remember those micro-tears I mentioned earlier? If these micro-tears are too extensive the result is DOMS. Typically DOMS will begin when you get out of bed the following morning and they hurt whenever you use the muscles that are sore.
How do I handle DOMS?
The only thing that will get rid of DOMS is time, but there are quite a few things you can do to shorten the time needed for repair, post workout tips include:
– Eat lots of carbs and protein.
– Don’t workout sore muscles.
– Make sure to do a good warm-up before your workout to ease the soreness that might occur.
– Avoid eccentric (Rapid muscle shortening) exercises-these tend to cause DOMS more than any other exercises, however if you are a bodybuilder you will actually want to use eccentric exercises, and elicit DOMS.
– Rolling out your muscles as part of your warm-up may help, but the research conflicts on this. Rolling out as part of your cool down can make you less sore, but the soreness will last longer. You may want to consider the pros and cons when trying this.