Performing strenuous exercise isn't the only factor to consider when you are aiming to bulk up or lose weight. Muscle fibres can break down when exercising, especially with demanding fitness routines, which is the opposite of your goal to build muscle and strength. Working out should be fun and bring you positive health benefits, not end in muscle tears or stress fractures. This can be prevented by getting adequate nutrition throughout the day. Working out regularly requires your nutrition plan to provide the fuel you need for both exercise and recovery.
However, the dilemma surrounding post-workout nutrition isn't so much about what to eat as much as how much to eat. The thing you have to remember is that protein needs to be a priority following a workout. Protein, as one of the most important sports supplement, is essential for maintaining and building muscle, and a protein-rich diet can increase both your calorie burn and your satiety. It also helps maximise performance and aid recovery from hard training which is why it is best to consume protein after working out.
Now the real question is, how much protein should you intake after working out? Since protein is necessary for synthesising muscle which gives you better results in the gym, is too much protein really necessary?
Just because protein is essential to build muscle and strength, more does not always mean better. There is only so much protein the body can use in tissue construction for the average person. Personal trainers and registered dietitians agree that an average person should aim for under 1g of protein per pound of bodyweight per day. In conclusion, you need to take on at least 20-25 grams of protein after a workout. However, larger athletes may need closer to 30-40 grams of protein to stimulate muscle synthesis. Basically, the amount of protein you need post-workout depends on your training goals and your body weight.
When it comes to timing, there is usually a period of time after your workout that leads to the best recovery. The time frame usually ranges from 45 minutes to an hour post-workout. It is probably best to consume a meal, either whole food or liquid form within an hour after your workout, containing both fast-digesting carbs and protein to make the most of your training.
However, you don't really need to consume a large protein-packed meal straight after your last rep. Yes, the effect of protein is potentially higher if consumed immediately after exercise, but it doesn't mean that consuming protein an hour after your routine will bring meagre to no results. After all, building muscle is not just about what you do immediately post-workout, it is about what you do with your overall diet.
Whilst it is vital to eat protein from a variety of sources, one way to get your protein is in liquid form. Protein smoothies and water-based protein drinks are much quicker and convenient. It’s ready for your body to absorb with very little effort.
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*Based on past two years Amazon ranking. Vieve is 'Amazon's Choice' for Protein Waters