Taking advantage of the post workout window
The post-workout window sometimes referred to as the "anabolic window" is often misunderstood and therefore mis-used by individuals looking to build muscle mass. I've put a step by step breakdown of the post-workout window below for you to learn about the key facts and ultimately apply the right protocols.
By the time you reach the end of your workout you will have caused a number of things to happen, including catabolism (muscle breakdown) to set in, heightened testosterone, GH and cortisol production and an increased state of insulin sensitivity.
This might appear confusing on the face of it but by applying certain nutritional strategies you will increase your chances of taking full advantage of this.
Firstly, I've covered what the main focus of your post-workout nutrition should be.
Flush your bloodstream with fast digesting amino acids from a hydrolysed whey protein powder. This will help reduce the catabolic effect and kick-start the recovery process, leading to anabolism. In most cases (I never say "all") I'll also get my clients to take in a fast acting carbohydrate powder to help illicit a more aggressive insulin response which helps transport the nutrients into the muscle cell fast. In the post-workout environment your body is more suited to using faster digesting carbohydrates (due to up-regulated Glute-4 protein transporters) so this makes sense in a lot of cases to further the recovery process.
Secondly the aim is to help reduce your cortisol output (stress hormone) which can in acute amounts leads to catabolism and even stubborn fat in men. Having that fast digesting post workout shake which creates a rise in insulin will help blunt cortisol levels which is another reason why getting this shake in post workout is important to your recovery process.
Having allowed your body to digest and assimilate the shake and settle after the workout (usually 45-90 minutes post workout) you want to take on a whole food based meal to put some solid food into the body. As hunger can be an issue after training for some I like many (again, not all) of my clients to have a lean steak here as it will breakdown gradually and feed amino acids into the blood stream. Carbohydrates sources will differ, but something relatively easily digesting is preferable like Jasmine rice, white potato or something similar. Along with that will be some vegetables and even some fruit in certain instances.
By following these processes you will help your body recover much faster from your workout, kickstart the recovery process and ultimately "reset" the body to continue thereafter.
It doesn't need to get more complex than this for most people, certainly as a "day to day" approach. Obviously there are more intricate details I apply with certain clients depending on their body type, goals and timescales but as an overall view this should really help you.
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