Optimal Post Workout Nutrition

Everyone knows nutrition is essential to muscular hypertrophy and meeting/maintaining fitness goals!

Training is the easy part. You go to the gym, pick up heavy things, put them down, and work in a little bit of HIIT cardio here and there.

Nutrition, however, is confusing. Everyone has a different opinion on what to eat pre and post workout. There are all types of diet techniques–IIFYM, carb back loading, intermittent fasting, paleo diet, primal diet, standard body-building diet, the zone diet, and SO MANY MORE. 

So, what’s right and what’s wrong?!

Well, unfortunately, nothing is right or wrong. Everyone is unique and different, so what works for Arnold or your favorite bodybuilder might not work for you.

BUT! We can look at the FACTS from scientific studies, and then we can do our own studies on ourselves–trial and error until you find what works for YOU and YOUR BODY.

Let’s look at the research!

Study numero uno! (You can read the full study here if you’d like.)

“In general, protein supplementation pre- andpost-workout increases physical performance, training session recovery, lean body mass, muscle hypertrophy, and strength. Specific gains, differ however based on protein type and amounts. Studies on timing of consumption of milk have indicated that fat-free milk post-workout was effective in promoting increases in lean body mass, strength, muscle hypertrophy and decreases in body fat. The leucine content of a protein source has an impact on protein synthesis, and affects muscle hypertrophy. Consumption of 3-4 g of leucine is needed to promote maximum protein synthesis. An ideal supplement following resistance exercise should contain whey protein that provides at least 3 g of leucine per serving.”

In summary: This study suggests that 3-4 g of leucine, an amino acid, be consumed with post workout protein along with maltodextrin or glucose (simple carbs that help spike insulin and help leucine be more effective) to increase muscle hypertrophy.

This study also suggests that pre-workout meals should consist of essential amino acids and dextrose (another simple sugar).

Foods high in leucine include egg whites, tuna fish, and turkey!

Study number 2! (You can read this full study here!)

The second study I found compared consuming milk or a carbohydrate-electrolyte drink post workout in untrained men (ages 18-25).

The study found that both the group that consumed milk and the carb-electrolyte group gained muscle mass. However, the milk group tended to show a greater increase in fat-free soft tissue mass than the carb-electrolyte group.

Study number 3 (You can read this study here!)

“Athletes should aim to achieve carbohydrate intakes to meet the fuel requirements of their training programme and to optimize restoration of muscle glycogen stores between workouts. General recommendations can be provided, preferably in terms of grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of the athlete’s body mass, but should be fine-tuned with individual consideration of total energy needs, specific training needs and feedback from training performance. It is valuable to choose nutrient-rich carbohydrate foods and to add other foods to recovery meals and snacks to provide a good source of protein and other nutrients. These nutrients may assist in other recovery processes and, in the case of protein, may promote additional glycogen recovery when carbohydrate intake is suboptimal or when frequent snacking is not possible.”

Summary: This study made a lot of sense. Athletes need to fuel for their individual needs. If you are training twice per day and have less than 8 hours between workouts, you should consume a greater amount of carbohydrates with a moderate to higher glycemic index. If not, however, you should eat enough carbohydrates to recover from your program and structure your greater intake of moderate to high glycemic carbs closer to your post workout period. Fat intake was not shown to benefit post workout recovery.

Moderate to high glycemic index foods include: raisins, honey, potatoes, muesli, watermelon, bagels, white rice, parsnips, bran flakes, and many more!

Study number 4 (You can read this study here!)

This study didn’t tell us anything new. This study said that protein is the most important for post-workout recovery and muscle hypertrophy. It said whey protein is optimal because of its fast absorption and amino acid profile, and that 20 grams of protein should be consumed either immediately following resistance training or during training for maximum protein synthesis.

Study number 5 (You can read this study here!)

“It has been observed that muscle glycogen synthesis is twice as rapid if carbohydrate is consumed immediately after exercise as opposed to waiting several hours, and that a rapid rate of synthesis can be maintained if carbohydrate is consumed on a regular basis. For example, supplementing at 30-min intervals at a rate of 1.2 to 1.5 g CHO x kg(-1) body wt x h(-1) appears to maximize synthesis for a period of 4- to 5-h post exercise. If a lighter carbohydrate supplement is desired, however, glycogen synthesis can be enhanced with the addition of protein and certain amino acids. Furthermore, the combination of carbohydrate and protein has the added benefit of stimulating amino acid transport, protein synthesis and muscle tissue repair. Research suggests that aerobic performance following recovery is related to the degree of muscle glycogen replenishment.”

 

All of these studies basically make the same point.

No matter what your goals consume moderate to high glycemic index carbohydrates post workout to maximize muscle synthesis and recovery post workout.

If you are doing two workouts per day consume more carbohydrates than you normally would. If you find your performance is suffering consume more carbohydrates post workout for recovery.

If your goals are to gain muscle, add calories preferably in the post workout window in the form of carbohydrates and protein. You should be eating in a caloric surplus.

If your goal is to lose weight you should limit your carbohydrate intake during the day, BESIDES POST WORKOUT. Post workout carbohydrates are essential to recovery NO MATTER WHAT YOUR GOAL.

Protein intake should be 1-1.2 grams per pound of body weight.

Fat intake isn’t as crucial to muscle growth and recovery, however, we DO still need to intake healthy fats–ESPECIALLY FEMALES. DO NOT FEAR FATS. Our bodies need essential fatty acids that it cannot create. We can only get these through diet.

 

 

Work out hard, eat clean, nutritious foods, and results are bound to follow!!!

😉

❤ God Bless you all!

Fitgirlfab

Endocrine Glands Part 2

The endocrine system is pretty complex, but by far one of the most interesting systems in the body because of all the different bodily functions that are affected by the endocrine system.

In you brain, there exists the hypothalamus. It’s basically the king of all hormones. It releases inhibiting and releasing hormone to the gland below it, the pituitary gland.

(SOURCE: This image came from The Mayo Foundation)

“Though she be but little, she is fierce,” William Shakespeare.

It’s hard to believe that tiny area of your brain and the neuroendocrine hypothalamus and pituitary gland can have such a large influence over our entire bodies!

The pituitary gland actually has two sides to it–the glandular anterior pituitary gland and the neural posterior pituitary.

(SOURCE: This image came from Medical Look)

In the image above, you can see all of the hormones produced by each side of the gland and a few of the different glands or tissues these hormones effect.

I know this is a bit complicated, so lets do a quick summary thus far:

The hypothalamus releases inhibiting and releasing hormones to the anterior pituitary (AKA the adenohypophysis). The hypothalamus also sends neural signals to the posterior pituitary gland (AKA the neurohypophysis).

The anterior releases mostly stimulating hormones–> thyroid stimulating hormone, growth hormone, POMC, melanocyte stimulating hormone, adrenocorticotropic hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, luteinizing hormone,  and growth hormone.

The posterior releases two hormones–> Antidiuretic hormone and oxytocin.

These hormones released from the pituitary gland usually effect other glands or just effect the tissue.

For example, thyroid stimulating hormone affects the thyroid gland, while growth hormone just effects the muscles or bone directly.

Here’s a quick chart to reference for some of the hormones to see what glands they affect and their effects in the body:

(SOURCE: This image is from the University of Miami website)

How can we use this information to benefit our every day lives and training?!

As mentioned in the previous post, some of these hormones follow a daily cycle.

Cortisol release peaks in the a.m. and helps you wake up and get going.

Growth hormone and melatonin peak before bed time and during sleep.

Thyroid stimulating hormone peaks during the night.

Knowing this information, it would be best to train most likely in the morning while cortisol levels are already naturally elevated. Exercise can induce cortisol release if it is prolonged or extremely intense. Inappropriate cortisol release can lead to fat storage around the midsection, restless nights of little to no sleep, and also copious urine output during the night.

We would not want elevated cortisol levels because high levels of cortisol can make it impossible to get rid of midsection fat and lead to sleep disturbances, which further inhibit muscle growth because growth hormone release would be effected.

Growth hormone peaks during the night, making a good night of 8-9 hours of quality sleep vitally important to muscle hypertrophy and recovery in general.

You should also try to limit large meals at night because the thyroid hormone can raise your body temperature, making sleeping uncomfortable and more difficult.

I realize I mentioned these aspects of hormones in my last post, but I wanted to go further in depth into the science behind these hormones and glands.

Sneak peak of what my next post will include…

Post workout nutrition is also vital to muscle hypertrophy and recovery.

( huge spinach salad complete with fresh veggies  from the farm down the street chicken breast and nutritional yeast, apple and paleo wraps! EAT TO GROW, EAT TO PERFORM)

Post workout nutrition should include a complex carbohydrate and a serving of protein. Most bodybuilders and fitness junkies think that simple carbs are best post workout, however, this is not the case. Numerous studies published on PubMed and other sites have found that you DON’T need to overly spike your insulin levels to recover from exercise or induce muscle hypertrophy. The only athletes that should be consuming simple carbs or sugar post workout are those who are either involved in endurance sports that are highly glycolytically demanding or workout twice or more per day. Otherwise, the benefits are inconsequential.

Next time I will go into some studies regarding post workout nutrition and the endocrine glands of the pancreas and liver that affect glucagon and insulin production!

What do you guys eat post workout? What’s your favorite post workout meal?

God Bless! xoxo

Fitgirlfab ❤

Taking Advantage of your Endocrine System

Hello everyone! It’s been a while! 🙂

I’ve been learning a lot lately about the endocrine system. I’ve always found the endocrine system so interesting because of how it can affect nearly every part of our bodies and every single one of our cells!

(SOURCE: this image came right from my text book, Marieb, Anatomy and Physiology, 4th edition)

This internal communication system that regulates our body can be our best friend or worst enemy when trying to meet and maintain fitness goals.

I won’t go into a super in-depth explanation just yet. I decided to do a little, short series on different endocrine glands because I feel it is important that everyone have a better understanding of these very CRUCIAL glands so that we can TRAIN SMARTER, NOT HARDER. 😉

Today we will focus on the pineal gland!

(SOURCE: this image came right from my text book, Marieb, Anatomy and Physiology, 4th edition)

This tiny, little gland may be the reason you’re an insomniac; it may be the reason you toss and turn at night; it may be the reason you wake up at the same time every day–even when you want to sleep in on the weekends.

The pineal gland mainly secrets melatonin. I’m sure you’ve all heard of melatonin. Maybe you’ve even taken a small dose of melatonin before to help induce sleep.

Melatonin is an antioxidant that is derived from serotonin. It is released in a daily cycle–highest at night and lowest around 12 or noon time.

Melatonin’s benefits extend beyond sleep. Melatonin has been recently shown to help migraine sufferers, protect the body against free radicals, protect lipids and proteins, and even help cancer patients have a better response to chemotherapy drugs to better fight the cancer. (You can read more on the study and benefits at this site!)

How can I use this information to my advantage?

The pineal gland receives input from your eyes!

The more light it is exposed to, the less melatonin it releases. Along with the suprachiasmatic nucleus of the hypothalamus, it is referred to our biological clock.

You can actually offset your “biological clock” by continuously exposing yourself to light at night and influence physiological processes that work with the clock to regulate sleep, appetite, and body temperature!

In animals, melatonin even mediates mating and size of gonads.

TIPS:

  1. Shut off all electronics and sources of bright light at least an hour before bed.
  2. Sleep in a dark, slightly cooler room.
  3. Get at least 8-9 hours of sleep per night.

Other tips related to sleep and the endocrine system but not the pineal gland…

  • Don’t eat big meals before bed. Stop eating at least an hour before bed because TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) is also released in higher levels at night, causing your body temperature to rise. The metabolism of food also raises body temperature. This could interrupt your sleep,  and the digestion of the food can also cause sleep disturbances.
  • Try to work out earlier in the day, such as the morning because cortisol release is highest in the morning and helps you deal with “stressors”. It is lowest right before bed in the evening. If you workout at night, you could spike your cortisol levels if your workout is more glycolytically demanding, causing sleep to be more difficult.
  • During sleep, growth hormone is released in the highest amounts! SO MAKE SURE YOU SLEEP TO GROW.

Sleep is essential to leading a health, functional lifestyle. You will function better in general, and your body will thank you!

Train hard, eat clean, and educate yourself!

Hope this helps!

God bless!

-Fitgirlfab