what to eat after gym

In this article we will see specifically, what to eat after the gym , focusing especially on post-workout integration. Is it really essential to integrate something or finish the workout is enough to go home and eat?
It depends.
It depends on what you eat, how long it will be, how fast you are, what your level is, etc. Integration has a big advantage: it’s convenient. It is not essential but it simplifies our life. As we will see soon it will not be necessary to take 10,000 supplements. On the contrary, almost all we need are: carbohydrates and proteins , let’s find out why.


Contexts in which we find ourselves finished training

There are two contexts in which we can find ourselves following the training:

  1. Energy stocks strongly depleted.
  2. Energy stocks moderately depleted.

Are we trivializing and simplifying? Yes, and a lot, but everything is functional to understand how to behave with what to eat after the gym, so go with the trivialization.

Therefore, to the first group there will be situations of particularly long and strenuous training, carried out in fasting or in general in conditions of hypo-feeding etc. In the latter, for example, particularly accentuated hyper-feeding contexts (ie bulked bulk), short workouts or even in the case where nutrients were taken in the pre or intra-workout.

What to eat after the gym: the Carbohydrates

post workout carbohydrates

There are several reasons why it will be logical to take carbohydrates after training:

  1. Following the exercise our body is oriented to the restoration of consumed energy stocks. This is that they are “completely” depleted, whether they have just been dented. To start all the adaptation processes it is necessary first to restore them (which is itself an adaptation process). It is true that, in situations of strong depletion this request will be more immediate and urgent, in this case a timely recruitment could be logical, in other cases you can also take a shower and / or go home, nothing happens in fact.
  2. The metabolic and physiological structure is particularly favorable for the intake of carbohydrates. This is because the DNL is inhibited, the GLUT-4 are more receptive, the glucose intake does not lead to a metabolic shift to scapido of the lipid oxidation (ie continue to burn fat even if carbohydrate assumption) etc. Above all, however, all this will lead to a partitioning of nutrients in favor of the muscle and to the detriment of fat. Basically they will be more likely to be captured by myocytes and hardly by the adipocyte. This, during periods of hyper-alimentation protracted in time, will allow the delay of the onset of phenomena of insulin resistance or of so-called “anabolic resistance”.
  3. It is logical to take carbohydrates at the moment when our body requires it. Too often we look at the tree, losing sight of the wood. We all have a glucose quantity to be taken during the day, whether we count it or not at the end of the 24h we would have taken in grams of carbohydrates. Well, in deciding how to distribute them, the most sensible thing will be to do it when there is an organic request (we will see the exceptions). Getting lost in considering single variations or hormonal trends makes no sense. The picture is extremely complicated but above all it is placed only to cope with a specific need of the organism (the need for glucose), so .. why not start directly from this need?

What to eat after the gym: Proteins

post-workout proteins

Regarding proteins (or amino acids in general) the literature is not unanimous about their usefulness. Better, it is unanimous about the positive effects in acute (increase in proteosynthesis) but it has not been shown that, in the long run, this means improvements in body composition.

So why take protein after training?

Simple, why not?

Again we focus on the blessed tree and do not consider that the wood behind it .. Bullet poin please!

  1. Studies have limitations. One example among many is the fact that few were made fasting and therefore the subjects could still count on a certain rate of amino acid in the blood. Let’s not talk about training protocols.
  2. The fact that literature has not demonstrated something does not mean that it is not true. For now we know that there is a benefit in acute, this is already an indication that even in the long term there could be an advantage. It is important to understand that we must focus on how LOGIC behave, not on how SCIENTIFICALLY DEMONSTRATED it is right to do.
  3. Body composition is but one aspect. Admitted and not granted (it is since I saw MIB III that I wanted to “say”!) I said: admitted and not granted that in the long run there is no influence on body composition, this does not mean that the acute stimulus to proteosynthesis has other implications useful. First of all the fact that we are going to exploit a moment of local hyperemia to immediately give way to all the necessary adaptation processes. So it could make the difference in a context of high frequency training and not low frequency (the limitations of the studies that come back to be heard again).
  4. It is logical to take proteins at a time when our body requires them. Certainly the body is primarily oriented towards restoring energy supplies but the next step (in this case contextual) is to start the adaptation processes for which the structural material is needed. This is all the more true the more we have a low rate of amino acid (fasting training, etc.). The discourse is always the same: target of proteins to be taken during the day, it is logical to go and insert them also close to training, even if there was a doubt about their usefulness (which I personally do not have).

BCAA and other post-workout myths

branched amino acids post workout

Let’s see now specifically some “pillars” of the post-workout. The BCAA have two advantages:

  1. Increased glucose uptake thanks to isoleucine [1] [2] [3].
  2. Increased proteosynthesis thanks to leucine .

The first is relatively useful, in truth, as mentioned above, we find ourselves in a condition in which carbohydrates are already efficiently metabolized, isoleucine does not give an added value in this regard.

The second loses its usefulness when we consider that the dose of Leucine necessary to give this stimulus can be easily reached thanks to a standard dose (the so-called “measurer”) of Whey or even Caseine (we are talking about a maximum effect already reached with 2-3g).

Above all another concept. BCAAs can also stimulate proteosynthesis, but as long as there are not all essential amino acids this will have no way to proceed. Therefore, the fasting BCAAs leave a little the time they find. The integration of essential (EAA) or Whey (which contain a good 45-50%) seems the best choice (in general, for specific products, refer to my articles on carbohydrates and amino acids close to training ). Moreover, the literature on BCAAs is rather lackluster in terms of terms of improvement of body composition and the benefits are due to their use as an energy substrate.

Other amino acids or specific compounds (HMB, Creatine etc ..) deserve a treatment in itself and above all an evaluation of the general context.

A starting point, to lose weight

In a previous post workout article  we have seen how, if the goal is to lose weight, it may be useful to avoid taking nutrients immediately to make the most of the hormonal structure and to encourage the weight loss processes. This need for clarification.

If our aim is also to preserve the lean mass (as in most cases) then we must try to keep as active as possible all the processes of muscular proteosynthesis. This is even more the result of weight training because muscle protein synthesis is a specific adaptation to the stress received.

A first idea would be to insert the cardio and take advantage of the moment following this workout to increase the effects of weight loss. In fact it was a solution put forward by several authors and widely accepted in the literature. Lately there has been a reversal of course. The last article was from March 2014, things change, the literature discovers new facts, the studies increase, the scientific evidence changes. The Project changes with them.

As mentioned above, a carbohydrate intake does not lead to a metabolic shift, however the postworkout is a moment that lends itself well to metabolizing the nutrients taken (first of all carbohydrates). This is to say that the timing will probably help us to keep high the caloric input and, consequently, all the processes of adaptation to the training stimulus that will maximize the sought effect of body re-composition (lean mass retention and loss of fat mass). So even if you want to lose weight, take your post workout glucides without waiting for hours because beta-oxidation is higher. If you have a daily quantity, take advantage of it right now.

Which and how many macro post workout 

Protein 10gr of EAA – 2-3gr of Leucine More sensible high VB sources
Carbohydrates 50-70% of daily kcal In most cases even solid food

We state immediately that periods of hyper or hypo-feeding particularly accentuated escape from these indications.

  1. As for carbohydrates, a solid source is fine. The use of supplements can be agreed when there are more daily training or in contexts of very marked depletion of energy stocks. The IG of the source is not too important, the high receptivity of the GLUT-4 allows in any case a rapid uptake. A good choice is to circumscribe a 50-70% of the daily glucose intake and in any case do not fall below 1.5g / kg of body weight , it being understood that on a subject in physiology the caloric intake is the main factor to keep into account.
  2. The protein source should be chosen on the basis of the intake of amino acids, will then choose a source and a quantity of protein that contains c.ca 10gr of EAA and 2-3gr of Leucine (1 or 2 scoops of whey are more than good).

Other supplements after training

what to take post workout

As for the other supplements the speech is complicated. You should make an article for each of them to explain if and in which contexts it is useful. The point is that in those cases the speech starts from the integrator. That is assumed in the postworkout because it is included in its integration protocol, not because this is to bring benefits to postworkout (or rather, not specifically). But these general discourses leave the time they find. So I illustrate three supplements that could be sensible:

  1. Creatine . We all know it, the mechanism of action is based on saturating muscle stocks. Well it is a good move to take advantage of the strong carbohydrate intake and the partitioning of nutrients to convey as much as possible within the muscle.
  2. Beta-alanine . Here too the same speech. In addition, a synergistic effect was found with creatine (in chronic, not that it should always be assumed at the same time is clear) for which in general the first recalls the second and vice versa.
  3. HMB . Very useful in low-calorie periods for the maintenance of lean mass. 3gr divided between pre and post workout or all in post training can be very effective. A supplement still relatively poorly studied but which has excellent potential.

What to eat after the gym: conclusions

An article perhaps for many useless. Basically we “took to the field” to say what has always been said but this always leads to an enrichment because it is an extra point of view and if ” on the internet you read the opposite of everything ” maybe we found a theme in the which there are less countertendencies and more unanimity.

See Another Article: How many times to go to the gym

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