The studies have shown that physical activity has so many benefits that it would seem almost silly not to workout at all. It doesn’t matter if you prefer to jog in the park or lift heavy barbells over your head. Exercising has positive effects on your mood, memory, cognitive performance, and energy levels. It makes you more productive, but it could also save your life! Our society is getting progressively more overweight, which leads to many life-threatening diseases. It means that no matter what lifestyle you lead, you should implement some physical activity into your schedule.
Okay, so if you already workout several times a week, you probably want to maximize your results. No matter how often do you lift weights, you won’t see much progress if you don’t care much about your diet. In a second, you’ll learn what you should eat after your workouts. Let’s go!
If you are mostly concerned with endurance training – jogging, swimming, or even kayaking, you should choose food that is rich in carbohydrates. That’s because you will use the glycogen stored in your body during the physical activity, and you’ll need to replenish it. Other types of physical activity – like weight lifting also uses up the glycogen reserves, though not at the same rate. Ideally, you should consume both carbohydrates and protein after training in a 3:1 ratio. This way, you would increase the speed at which the glycogen gets replenished. It is especially important if you exercise frequently. You will need to eat a lot of carbohydrates to help your muscles have the energy for the sustained effort. If you don’t have time to prepare meals, you could check out the website of Meal Delivery Experts.
If you don’t do much cardio and focus on weight lifting instead, then you should focus more on protein. Your muscles will be tired after intense training, and you’ll need to provide your body with a lot of protein. Without it, your body won’t be able to repair the damages. You shouldn’t worry about it – once you eat meals rich in protein, your muscles will start repairing themselves, and they’ll become a little bit stronger.
What about fats?
Even though you have probably heard that you should avoid eating foods rich in fat, that’s not true. Many of the vitamins are only soluble in fat. It means that even if you eat a lot of fruits and vegetables, and avoid fat, your body might not be able to absorb them efficiently.
No need to hurry
You will likely encounter some comments, either from your gym buddies or on the internet, about the importance of hitting an “anabolic window”. It’s not something that you should care about. Ideally, you would have a meal after a workout to replenish your energy, though the timing is not crucial. The studies about the existence of “anabolic window” are inconclusive, though it is safe to assume that if you are not exercising in a fasted state, then you don’t need to hurry to eat a meal just right after you finish exercising. Some studies suggest that eating a lot of protein after your training could improve your muscle protein synthesis, though it seems that even if such an effect exists, it is only a slight difference. If you are not a competitive athlete, then you don’t need to worry about it. Just train regularly, have a proper diet, and you’ll start seeing the effects pretty quickly.
Sleep a lot!
Even if you don’t eat trash food, and you visit the temple of iron several times a week, you won’t gain a lot of muscle mass if you don’t sleep enough. It is during sleep that the speed of your muscle recovery increases. If you exercise regularly but don’t sleep enough, you could easily injure yourself. That’s because your body won’t be able to keep up with repairing microtears in your muscles. On top of that, not getting enough sleep negatively affects your testosterone levels, which would further slow down the growth of your muscles. Getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night will also have a positive effect on your motivation levels. That’s because if you don’t sleep enough, your cortisol levels will spike, and you’ll feel more stressed, and unable to make long-term decisions.
If you want to have enough energy to continue your workouts at the same level of intensity, you should make sure that you are providing your body with adequate nutrition. If you are focused on endurance training, you should eat more carbohydrates after a workout, whereas if you put more emphasis on resistance training, you need much more protein. The exact timing doesn’t matter. The studies are inconclusive, and even if it promotes muscle protein synthesis, it is a slight difference.