Does Post Workout Protein Really Help Build Muscles?
Posted Jan 21 2012 11:57am
Creating muscle and strength is the product of many variables- a good diet, a strong workout routine, and regular practice. Many people know that consuming protein and supplements are vital to a healthy workout routine and good muscle mass. But is there really a good time to eat your protein shakes and protein heavy meals? Science says yes. Of course, there is no magic bullet in muscle building. Your favorite bodybuilders rely on a variety of tactics to gain muscle, but eating protein after a workout is a great way to gain a slow, sustained, and constant muscle growth. Along with eating protein after a workout, it’s important to follow healthy lifestyle habits and effective exercising.
While eating a lot of protein is a great way to bulk up, it has the weakness of promoting unwanted fat growth if you utilize a high protein diet without adequate and strenuous exercise. Why does eating post workout protein work? First, we have to explore how protein builds muscle. Your entire body, including your stomach, liver, and digestive track, work on protein synthesis and building muscle.
After a workout, let’s say you eat a piece of chicken and a protein shake. Immediately, your body will begin breaking down your food into muscle-building minerals and amino acids. Regardless of whether you ate your meal after your workout or sometime a few hours later, you will still be getting the same amount of protein-building supplements. But there are a variety of benefits to eating your protein heavy meal after a workout. Firstly, a workout can promote appetite and increase hunger, leading you to eat more than you normally would. Being hungry and tired, you can benefit from the effects of a big, protein-heavy meal.
Additionally, after a workout, your muscles are in a state of recovery and rebuild. The muscle-building effects of exercise can last for almost three days, giving you a time window to bulk up and consume protein. The nutrients you consume directly after a workout can immediately go to rebuilding and strengthening your muscles, increasing your muscle mass effectively, but slowly. There, we come to the conclusion at the muscle-building effects post-workout are the results of the workout itself, and not only eating protein. Regardless of whether you ate a giant salad or a steak dinner, you will experience the natural muscle building effects that just come with lift weights or doing bench presses.
It’s important to note that muscle-building after a workout can only follow after a good, effective workout. Because of this, your first step in building muscle should be finding a suitable routine and learning how maximize your muscle growth in relation to your body size, weight, height, and metabolism. Once you’ve established a strong workout routine and an optimal weight, it’s time to begin examining the strengths of eating protein post-workout. Eating protein increases your body’s content of branched amino acids, which can be used to bulk up.
Your tired muscles will immediately begin regrowing and becoming stronger, hopefully creating a noticeable gain in muscle mass. Whether you eat your protein and nutrient rich meal an hour or nine hours after your weight lifting routine, you will experience both the benefits of exercise and protein. There are many ways to increase your protein intake after a workout. Drinking protein supplements are a popular choice. These drinks come in a variety of flavors, and usually come in a big jug of powder, which can then be mixed with either water or milk.
To further increase your protein intake, try blending your shakes with nuts or whey protein powder. Meats are obviously high in protein, but should always be eaten in moderation, along with a enough vegetables and fruits to create a healthy and balanced diet. Foods like chicken and fish are light and low-fat, but taste great and have a lot of protein. Red meats like beef are popular, but also have a high cholesterol and fat content, and should be eaten in moderation.
As always, avoid high-fat oils as much as possible, but olive oil is a great way to get some needed ‘good’ fats in your diet. Trail mix, dried fruits, and nuts are also great snacks for an added post-workout energy boost and protein benefit.