Post-Workout Nutrition and Fat Loss

The Hierarchy of Fat Loss
December 19, 2012
December 19, 2012

Post-Workout Nutrition and Fat Loss


by Paul Dexter, copyright

It is no secret that the only way to increase an aging metabolism is to increase and/or preserve lean muscle tissue. As we age muscle proteins are being broken down daily at the rate of 1-2%. We can reverse or stop this process by increasing Protein Synthesis thru proper strength training and nutrient intake. Strength Training is the major stimulus because it increases Protein Synthesis for up to 24 hours post-exercise. The problem is that without the right nutrient intake at the right times any potential lean muscle tissue increases can be canceled out by protein breakdown. But follow the right nutrient intake at the right times will result in the accumulation of lean muscle tissue over time, leading to an increased metabolism.

So, what is the proper nutrient intake and the right times?

  • Pre-workout – within an hour or so before the workout      begins.
  • Peri-workout – during the training session.
  • Post-workout – within 2 hours post-exercise.

When implemented properly and consistently, Pre/Peri/Post-workout supplementation can greatly increase the effectiveness of your training. Your post-workout meal may very well be your most important meal of the day. To increase lean muscle tissue, we need more protein, and the type and timing of protein intake during the post-workout period has been shown to control the overall increase in protein synthesis that occurs immediately after training. The reason is that when you’re finished with an intense workout, you’re entering a catabolic state where your muscle glycogen is depleted and increased cortisol levels are beginning to excessively break down muscle tissue. These conditions are not good and the only way to reverse this catabolic state (and promote an anabolic state) is to consume a quickly digestible post-workout meal as soon as you can after training. The goal is to choose a meal with quickly digestible carbohydrates to replenish muscle glycogen as well as quickly digestible protein to provide the amino acids needed to jump start muscular repair. The surge of carbohydrates and amino acids from this quickly digested meal promotes an insulin spike from the pancreas, which shuttles nutrients into the muscle cells.

The take home message is this…. Training is important, but if the proper nutrients aren’t being taken at the right times you are fighting an uphill battle. Proteins are the building blocks for lean muscle tissue. More lean muscle tissue will equal a faster metabolism, which unfortunately gets slower every day as we get older. The bright side is that as long as we train smart and eat smart we can hold back father time a little longer and look a little better in the process.