Every athlete recognizes the need for pre-workout nutritional support. This recognition is clearly evidenced by the incredible array of such supplements. Anything from energy drinks to the newest protein formulation is currently being marketed for the purpose of pre-workout nutrition. What many people seem to forget or not realize in the first place is that post-workout nutrition is just as important. In fact, there are even indications that it might be MORE important. Lack of post-workout nutrition can severely hamper performance in the gym, performance in your chosen sport or activity, and reduce the chance of reaching your full potential.
Why Pre-Workout Nutrition is Important:
The main reason why nutrition is important immediately before a workout is to provide your body with the support that it needs to power through the increased demands you are about to place upon it. There are so many energy drinks, pills, and powders on the market that it can make your head spin. Another reason why pre-workout nutrition is important is to help place your body in a good position for future muscle repair and growth. This means giving your body things like amino acids in order to supply more building and growth materials for later.
Why Post-Workout Nutrition is Important:
Very often the need for post-workout nutrition is overlooked. Workouts are intense and damaging events. You are actually destroying muscles. Of course, the hope is that this will force them to adapt and grow stronger, bigger, and more conditioned (depending on the type of routine and goal).
The rebuilding process is what will ultimately determine the results and effects of your training. After a workout, your body is in a severely catabolic state. To reverse this process you need to eat something soon after the workout is over. The 30-45 minutes immediately following training has often been called the ‘golden’ hour for nutrition.
What to Use after Your Workout:
In order to reverse the catabolic (the body feeding off of glycogen and protein stores) state, consume a high quality supplement. This supplement should contain some high quality protein and high-glycemic index (turns to glycogen very quickly) carbohydrates. When consumed in a ration of 2-to-1 or even 1-to-1 in favor of the carbohydrates, this supplement is able to help restore insulin levels and begin the process of recovery. Another thing that can help is to immediately consume some branched-chain amino acids. This will help to supply some of the best types of protein building blocks to the muscles very quickly.
Following these guidelines will help to make your workouts much more effective. You will see added gains and results after as little as a few weeks. Just be sure to always nutritionally support your efforts in the gym or on the field.