The importance of nutrition after training
- Body & Gym Posts
- 10 Oct, 2018
For practically most athletes it is well known that after training you need to consume sufficient protein (and carbohydrates) to restore muscle and to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. This is essential for building the muscles. The timing of these nutrients is very important. After a training, a growth window opens, as it were. We call this the Anabolic Window of Opportunity. During this period, the absorption of nutrients can offer a greater benefit to the muscles than outside this window. This means that the nutrition during the hours immediately after a training session can indeed ensure both muscle recovery and muscle growth.
As a strength athlete you undoubtedly need more protein than a non-athlete, and this is already known to many. Proteins are building materials of muscles and therefore very important for muscle recovery, and therefore muscle growth. There have been several studies into the optimal amount of protein that a strength athlete needs, but opinions are divided on this. The values generally range from approximately 1,5 to 2,2 grams of protein per kilo of body weight.
There are again many studies about the timing of proteins. From this it is suggested that the intake of your proteins around 4 eating moments per day is optimal for muscle growth. It is also indicated that consuming protein in the first hours after your training can offer some benefit to the muscles.
During training we damage the muscles. Because of this the proteins in the muscles are broken down, this process is also called proteolysis. By eating proteins just after training, the proteins in the muscles are rebuilt. This build-up is, in most cases, greater than the muscle breakdown during training and as a result the muscle mass will grow. This is done in a so-called positive balance. You therefore eat the proteins that you absorb after training within the growth window (Anabolic Window of Opportunity) with the result of optimum muscle protein synthesis.
Studies have shown that the Anabolic Window of Opportunity is open longer than people think, namely up to a minimum of 24 hours after training. Therefore, ensure that you get enough healthy and important nutrients throughout the day. The anabolic effect of this will decrease during the growth window so that we recommend consuming a substantial dose of protein within the first 2 hour after your training. We assume approximately 20 grams, even more ideal would be 40 grams in order to benefit more from the proteins and optimally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins. They can be distinguished into essential and non-essential amino acids. You can only get the essential amino acids through your diet. BCAA (Branched-chain amino acids) is probably a well-known term that you have heard more often in the gym. We call this branched amino acids and these are the most important amino acids for muscle building. These contain the 3 amino acids Isoleucine, Valine and Leucine, of which Leucine is the most important. If you already eat a protein-rich meal of, for example, 40 grams of protein, you already have enough BCAAs. These are therefore also offered as supplements in powder, liquid or tablet form. Animal proteins already contain sufficient BCAAs. In addition, Whey protein is also a handy way to get the BCAAs, also because it is quickly absorbed by the body.
In the fitness world we often only talk about knowing when it comes to muscle growth. Carbohydrates are certainly no less important if you want to achieve maximum muscle growth, restore your muscles optimally and live a healthy life. After all, carbohydrates give you the most energy to train properly.
As described above for the proteins, it also applies to carbohydrates that a total intake during the day is the most essential. A usual dose for bodybuilders is around 3-6 grams per kilo of body weight per day. This ensures sufficient energy, also during training! The carbohydrates that are not used as energy are stored in the body as glycogen in the muscles.
Nowadays, a combination of carbohydrates and proteins after training is a much-discussed topic in promoting muscle growth. Carbohydrates provide you with the energy you need for effective training. Because you build up a stock, you don't necessarily have to consume a lot of carbohydrates before training. It is often recommended to take a carbohydrate-rich meal approximately enough 2 hours before training for sufficient energy.
Is the timing of the carbohydrates important? Research has shown that your glycogen stored as a supply does not run out of one hour of strength training, which means that it is not necessary to replenish your glycogen reserves immediately after your training. It has even been shown that after extremely heavy training the body uses only 20 to 30% of the glycogen in the muscles. Because it has been shown that the growth window can be open for up to 24 hours or perhaps even longer, it is important to take carbohydrates, in addition to proteins as mentioned throughout the day.
VITAMINS & MINERALS
Often athletes only think about proteins and carbohydrates after training, because this is the most important for muscle growth. But vitamins and minerals are perhaps even more important. Not just for your muscles, but for your entire body. So make sure that you eat a varied diet, especially after an intensive workout.