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Why is the post-workout meal THAT important?

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created December 14, 2012 at 5:29 PM

I was wondering what most of you serve after a strength/muscle-building workout. What are your favorite post-workout meals? Are nuts a suitable option? Whey shakes (controversial)? Chicken breast or a fat(er) steak? A banana (or a different source of carb) followed by a protein-rich meal? Nothing at all?

Also, what is the time interval one should respect in order to maximize the benefits? I usually pack a light meal (spinach/green peas, sometimes with shredded chicken breast for a low fat, high protein content) and eat it immediately after the work out. Sometimes I go for a handful, or two, of cashew or almond before getting out of the gym.

I've noticed a gain in strength and muscle volume when I replaced chicken with red meat, however, during that period, I usually ate about an hour or two after the workout.

4eb67cdd9ea0ab45ee9a8f74ce6ae66c

(144)

on December 16, 2012
at 02:24 PM

I haven't had a supplement in about a year, never noticed a difference, one would rather eat 250 calories rather than drink them!

4eb67cdd9ea0ab45ee9a8f74ce6ae66c

(144)

on December 16, 2012
at 02:22 PM

I usually feel light-headed after a workout, eating a banana helps me avoid the cold sweats, probably because of low body fat and carb depletion (correct me if incorrect). I will try training on a (half) empty stomach as breakfast is the meal of the day for me.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 15, 2012
at 03:29 AM

You say nutrient timing doesn't matter but you work out in the morning on some bcaa's and do an interesting thing that could be considered IF or CBL. These are inconsistent. I'd argue that you are utilizing principles of nutrient timing. I agree that nutrient timing isn't 'required' but that for optimal results something similar to what you do would be optimal for a lot of people. CBL is a great example of how (macro)nutrient timining can have an effect on people. +1 because I like you're routine.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 15, 2012
at 02:54 AM

Okay, unless the protein (bcaa's) is spiking insulin. where after a workout the muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin tHan fat and when an insulin spike ups the nutrients -> the muscle. Not to say that you have to spike insulin immediately after, but sometime in the next few hours is probably going to be superior to staying fasted and some sort of an insulin spike (doesn't necessarily mean carbs) is goingto be superior to none.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 14, 2012
at 09:26 PM

This, a thousand times this.

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 14, 2012
at 09:26 PM

The need for protein ASAP after workout is thoroughly debunked broscience. Even more so for the whey part.

3327924660b1e2f8f8fc4ca27fedf2b2

(2919)

on December 14, 2012
at 05:58 PM

From a Paleo mindset, you can think of it as the animal you kill after a long hunt. :P

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4 Answers

best answer

3
Fba408128497343799ac28ffbce1d884

(175)

on December 14, 2012
at 06:58 PM

I train at 5am, every day on an empty stomach (ok, i take a scoop of BCAA). Then i dont eat anything until about 1pm in the afternoon..when i get naturally hungry. I used to cram a bunch of post and pre workout nutrition in...not sure why, probably because magazines and forums told me to do it. But to be honest, I hated eating a huge meal at 5am, then going to the gym an hour later. I felt lazy and bloated. I hated even more trying to cram X amount of carbs and protein in after my workout about an hour and a half after my huge breakfast.

So to answer your question. Unless you feel like you're not recovering well, it really doesnt matter if you eat at all before or after your workouts. This is not the same for everyone. I've had clients swear they cannot train on low blood sugar and empty stomach. Over the years I realized that I train best and recover best when I FEEL good, strong, energetic. Nutrient timing has almost no affect on any of this, given you eat enough.

See what works for you.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 15, 2012
at 03:29 AM

You say nutrient timing doesn't matter but you work out in the morning on some bcaa's and do an interesting thing that could be considered IF or CBL. These are inconsistent. I'd argue that you are utilizing principles of nutrient timing. I agree that nutrient timing isn't 'required' but that for optimal results something similar to what you do would be optimal for a lot of people. CBL is a great example of how (macro)nutrient timining can have an effect on people. +1 because I like you're routine.

4eb67cdd9ea0ab45ee9a8f74ce6ae66c

(144)

on December 16, 2012
at 02:22 PM

I usually feel light-headed after a workout, eating a banana helps me avoid the cold sweats, probably because of low body fat and carb depletion (correct me if incorrect). I will try training on a (half) empty stomach as breakfast is the meal of the day for me.

3
3846a3b61bc9051e4baebdef62e58c52

(18635)

on December 14, 2012
at 08:56 PM

Just to answer the OP title......its not. More bro science and supplement ad propaganda than anything else.

4eb67cdd9ea0ab45ee9a8f74ce6ae66c

(144)

on December 16, 2012
at 02:24 PM

I haven't had a supplement in about a year, never noticed a difference, one would rather eat 250 calories rather than drink them!

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 14, 2012
at 09:26 PM

This, a thousand times this.

1
86c97b2779feab3c330f5e1c5fea7e25

(2312)

on December 14, 2012
at 06:07 PM

Just a very basic answer for the muscle building aspect...when you lift weights, your muscle tears. The muscle NEEDS protein to properly repair (bigger stronger). Whey protein is good within 30 min after workout to get the protein in there ASAP.

...maybe people are more sore than needed because they do not take protein after

9f54852ea376e8e416356f547611e052

(2957)

on December 14, 2012
at 09:26 PM

The need for protein ASAP after workout is thoroughly debunked broscience. Even more so for the whey part.

Cb9a270955e2c277a02c4a4b5dad10b5

(10989)

on December 15, 2012
at 02:54 AM

Okay, unless the protein (bcaa's) is spiking insulin. where after a workout the muscle cells are more sensitive to insulin tHan fat and when an insulin spike ups the nutrients -> the muscle. Not to say that you have to spike insulin immediately after, but sometime in the next few hours is probably going to be superior to staying fasted and some sort of an insulin spike (doesn't necessarily mean carbs) is goingto be superior to none.

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on December 14, 2012
at 05:47 PM

I take protein post workout. Most of the time it is a whey shake because its covenant and something I can stomach. I am almost never hungry post workout. I rarely consume anything else post workout.

Some people fast post-workout. Supposedly fasting post-workout can cause a rise in human growth hormone (HGH).

As for the window typically the window is within about an hour of your exercise.

At the end of the day, the goal with a post-workout meal is to maximize strength building by providing the body with the necessary nutrients for muscle synthesis. Not eating within that window does not mean your body will cannibalize your muscle and you will actually be weaker than when you started. You will still get stronger, just maybe not as strong, and maybe the recovery will not be as fast.

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