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9 Golden Rules of Post-Workout Nutrition and Supplementation

If you are hoping to achieve the best results in your training and fitness program, you have to consider what to eat post-workout. This is a serious matter in that the meals and nutrients that you choose post-workout will make a significant impact on the results that you get from your workout!

What are your goals?

Post-workout meals can be used for a number of different purposes, especially depending upon your fitness and health goals. Some people may be working out to improve their cardiovascular health, others may be working out to train for a competition, and still others may be working out to lose weight for swimsuit season. Regardless, your post-workout choices will impact how quickly you achieve your goals, including the overall results in your health and nutrition!

To begin, let's discuss the 9 Golden Rules to set you on the right track in post-workout nutrition and supplementation:

1.    Immediately After Your Workout: Post-workout, hydrate yourself as much as possible. This is one of the most important components to your post-workout care because your body needs fluids to flush toxins from the body and replenish your energy levels. This will be perfectly paired with whatever you eat post-workout for nutrition and strength.

2.    Immediately After Your Workout: Directly post-workout, you can try a post-workout drink to recover and build muscles. Choose the post-workout protein supplement of your preference, depending on your needs. If you are hoping to lose weight, you may want to try a post-workout protein supplement that is low in carbohydrates and sugar, and if you are hoping to bulk up for competition, you may want to try post-workout protein that contains muscle building compounds and additional calories for strength.

3.    Immediately After Your Workout: Post-workout, avoid fast food at all costs, regardless of what your fitness goals may be. Consuming something high in carbohydrates and fat post-workout will completely negate all the work that you have done for yourself! On top of that, it won't make you feel energetic and refreshed, but only sluggish and lethargic. The bottom line is that eating fat post-workout will slow down digestion and retard the absorption of any protein and carbohydrates you may have eaten, dramatically lessening the results that you will get. In general, eating immediately post-workout isn't the best choice since it will take a long time to digest. It is best to focus on a protein/carbohydrate shake as a post-workout meal.

4.    30 Minutes After Your Workout: Post-workout protein should be combined with carbohydrates directly after the workout. This will work to boost glycogen synthesis post-workout instead of just eating carbohydrates by themselves. It is best to try a whey protein drink that includes carbohydrates up to 30 minutes post-workout to boost insulin levels after lifting and weight training. It is often easy to bring a shaker cup containing dry powder to the gym to mix with water post-workout. This will allow you to consume the protein and carbohydrate shake before even leaving the gym, offering maximum benefits in the nutrients your body craves immediately following a workout.

5.    30 Minutes After Your Workout: Use post-workout protein supplements that contain amino acids, creatine, and glucose to build muscles. These additional nutrients will restore damaged muscle cells post-workout, and they will also work to maximize the benefits of insulin within your body after a difficult workout.

6.    30 Minutes After Your Workout: Focus on replacing any electrolytes and carbohydrates you may have lost post-workout. That being said, make sure to customize your post-workout supplements according to dietary goals. Consuming a protein powder directly after a workout can offer the best results in supplementation, if you adjust the carbohydrates accordingly. If you are hoping to lose weight, you will want a protein supplement with less carbohydrates, and the opposite is true if you are hoping to gain weight. For the latter, you can use a weight gainer powder that is high in protein and carbohydrates, and for the former, you can use a protein supplement blended with berries to replenish storages in the body and aid in the production of lean muscle mass and muscle recovery.

7.    30 Minutes After Your Workout: If you have undergone a heavy workout where you have lost water weight through sweat, then you also need to replenish your potassium levels post-workout. Look for a post-workout supplement that contains potassium to naturally replenish these levels that may have been depleted from strenuous exercise.

8.    30 Minutes After Your Workout: For weight training, try creatine post-workout. Creatine is also something that can be taken pre-workout, but it provides great benefits as a post-workout recovery supplement. This will help you to improve your recovery and strength post-workout, especially if you are an athlete or weight trainer. This is an ideal supplement choice because it provides great benefits, and it can be taken pre-and post-workout. As a note, creatine is not a steroid, but a natural substance found within the body, so it is an ideal choice as a post-workout supplement.

9.    2 Hours After Your Workout: If you are weight training, your best bet post-workout is to consume whole foods two hours after you train. Focus on foods that are rich in protein and carbohydrates, which will give you maximum muscle repair and muscle rebuilding benefits after an intense and strenuous workout. This is your opportunity to strategically choose what you eat to make a dramatic difference in your post-workout recovery. You can also substitute this with a post-workout protein supplement if you are hoping to trim down and burn extra fat, but it is still necessary to have post-workout protein and carbohydrates to repair muscles that have been damaged.

Simply put, it is not terribly difficult to structure your nutrition and supplementation post-workout. The bottom line is that you need to be focused on your specific lifestyle and fitness goals to choose the correct post-workout nutrition to meet your needs. Protein is a must, and one of the easiest ways to get your protein post-workout is through a reputable protein supplement. This will often contain the carbohydrates you need to replenish glycogen levels in your muscles if you are weight training, while many post-workout protein supplements are also low carb if you are hoping to lose weight overall.

Create a plan.

With all of the information above, you have the opportunity to create a clear plan to meet your dietary and exercise needs. The important thing is to commit to this plan to dictate the amount of protein that you need post-workout so that you can put your supplement and nutrition to good use. If you are not intaking enough protein post-workout, then your muscles could potentially begin to feed on themselves instead of creating long-lasting lean muscle mass. Building muscle mass is something necessary for any individual, regardless of their goals. Lean muscle mass will help you to lose weight more efficiently, and it can also help you to bulk up for bodybuilding, depending upon your post-workout fitness plan.

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