Protein is by far the most important of the macro nutrients. If you are training regularly and not getting enough protein, this is going to impact your body on muscle growth and repair. To do this they need protein. There are many different amino acids that make up complete protein, but ensuring you have a varied amount of protein in your diet should have you covered. This can be plant or animal based protein.
An individuals protein needs can vary greatly depending on the total amount of lean body mass that person has.
· Sedentary individuals can calculate 0.8-1g per kilo of bodyweight
· Athletes (regular gym/crossfit/PT clients) 1.2-1.8g per kilo bodyweight
· Heavy resistance trained athletes/body builders/ rugby players etc… 1.8-2.4g per kilo of body weight.
As long as you are consuming protein within around two hours post workout, this will help your muscles to repair and grow. The second macro nutrient post training is carbs.
Glucose is the main energy source in our bodies. When we do not need it for fuel, the body stores it in the muscles and the liver as Glycogen. When we do strength/intensity training the glycogen stores are depleted. There is a bit of leeway on this statement though. If your goal is fat loss and body composition and you ate carbs before you trained and with your breakfast, you may not need to carb load post session. Its worth remembering that excess carbohydrate can be stored as fat, so taking on excessive amounts when they will not be burnt off can lead to weight gain. Learning how to be organised and structure your meals around your training sessions will help. If you have done your training ina fasted state due to training early morning, eating some carbs post training would be beneficial.
Avoid eating a high fat meal post training. As fat can slow down digestion, it can also slow down the ingestion of protein and carbs into your muscles. While this is true it isn’t going to be the end of your nutrition regime if you eat a little fat post training. Most clients and members I come across are training to be healthy and live longer. If your needs are that of a bikini competitor or bodybuilder, of course you need to be stricter with your diet on an hourly basis! If you are ingesting around a thumb of fat post workout/females & 2 thumbs for males - it isn’t going to hinder all of your hard efforts. If you can easily work to protein and carb post training, then great but please don’t lose sleep over this unless you are competing in this years Mr/Mrs universe comp!
My top 3 tips for your post workout meal and recovery:
· Work towards achieving your daily protein goals, use the calculation above to establish how many grams of protein you need per day. Split that number between your meals and snacks.
· Try wherever possible to schedule your meals around training (if you are training 3+ times per week)
· Get organised and structured so the balance of your meals works with the goal you are trying to achieve.