After a workout, your muscles are left broken down due to microscopic tears and your glycogen stores are left depleted leaving you feeling a little more tired and much hungrier than you felt before you started your workout. Now, this is all perfectly normal as long as you do the right things after your workout to recover.
Take your body one step closer to your goals of burning fat or building muscle. However, there are some very common mistakes that so many people are making at the end of their workouts.
These mistakes can literally kill your progress and actually make you move further away from your goal. even if you’re working out hard and consistently.
8. Avoiding fats after a workout is a myth
The first mistake that I want to start with is believing that you can’t eat any sources of fat like eggs avocado or steak after your workout. Now this belief has been around for a long time and I used to believe in it too. it’s based on the fact that fats can slow the digestion of your meals and the idea behind that is that.
It would make it take longer for the nutrients to get into your muscle cells and for your body to switch from breaking down muscle to repairing. And rebuilding muscle on top of that while carbohydrates and protein play a big part in the recovery and muscle growth process of fats. don’t really help spike your insulin levels in the way that carbs do.
They can’t be used to repair your muscles the way that protein can and in general they don’t really have any direct anabolic properties. But with all that said there’s really no evidence that it’s necessarily bad to have fats after your workout even though.
It might slow the absorption of your post-workout meal, it shouldn’t really hurt you or reduce. the benefits that you experience this is because even though you don’t want to wait too long you don’t necessarily need to get all those nutrients into your muscles as fast as possible.
after your workout so if your meal, takes a little longer to absorb because you added fat to it. It’s really not going to make that big of a difference especially if you already had breakfast or you simply ate before your workout. Even though the research that we have is limited and is only based on cyclists rather than weight lifters. That research does still support the idea that even if you consume a very high-fat meal.
after working out where 45 of the calories are coming from fat. the recovery process should not be negatively affected. so, the bottom line is that it’s okay to have sources of fat like whole milk instead of skim milk with your protein shake after a workout. the one exception to this is if you haven’t eaten anything in over four hours. then you may want to limit your fat. intake after your workout to help get the nutrients to your muscles faster.
7. Don’t reward yourself for working out with crappy food
the next mistake is going overboard with rewarding yourself for your workout with food. I’ve seen people with my own eyes hit the gym and then right afterward stop at a 7-eleven. and pick up some candy like gummy bears for example. now even though one of the best times to have sugar does happen to be immediately after your workout since it’ll help spike your insulin levels. there’s a big difference between having a banana versus sour patch kids.
first of all, working out, in general, is going to make you feel hungrier when you’re done, and to put it simply if you’re trying to satisfy that hunger with food that you find at your closest convenience store. you’re probably going to wind up overeating especially if that food is candy and that’s okay if you’re doing a dirty bulk. but if you’re trying to stay lean while building muscle or if you’re trying to burn fat the food you eat will play a bigger impact than the workout you perform.
For example, if you have two slices of pizza you’ll have to run for about 45 minutes to burn those calories off. so it’s very important that you don’t lose your willpower and give in to the increased hunger. that you’ll feel after a workout by going for just any random food that comes your way.
If you find that you have a problem with managing hunger after your workouts make sure that you have an already pre-prepped post-workout meal waiting for you in the fridge. or even a quick protein shake can help fill you up and reduce hunger for a little while.
6. Always stretch after your workout (as the muscles grow, they get tighter)
Another thing you should never skip out on after your workout is stretching. even though it’s not very wise to perform static stretches before your workout. it’s very important to make sure that you stretch after your workout especially if your workouts revolve around lifting weights.
You see working out and lifting weights provides many benefits and one of the most obvious and important benefits is that your muscles will get stronger and stronger over time. however, the problem is that as they get stronger they’ll also get tighter and tighter over time, and having tight muscles can lead to a whole bunch of consequences.
for example, if you train your chest all the time with exercises like the bench press and flies but you never stretch your chest after your workouts. your chest will probably get tighter over time and when your pecs get tighter. they pull your shoulders forward and together. This contributes to a rounded shoulder posture on top of that the postural imbalances that you can create by not stretching your tight muscles are much more likely to lead to an injury. also in general even if you don’t work out your muscles will slowly lose their elastic properties as you age.
So even though resistance training is very important having a flexibility program and stretches that you engage in consistently is just as important as making it a habit to always stretch after your workout. you can help ensure that you maintain maximum flexibility and mobility as you get older.
5. Don’t drink alcohol after working out
alcohol is bad to have before a workout for some pretty obvious reasons. but it’s also really bad to have alcohol after your workout. the point is when you work out you increase the blood flow to your muscles and blood flow will stay elevated for some time after your workout. now after your workout, your body is expecting to receive some micronutrients as well as protein carbs and fats to start repairing your broken down muscles.
But if you drink alcohol soon after your workout that alcohol will be shuttled through your bloodstream directly to those torn-up muscles that need good nutrients for repair.
So rather than helping your muscles grow drinking alcohol after a workout will only lead to further muscle wasting and breakdown as well as other negative side effects. also in another vein, if you’re trying to burn fat your body will prioritize getting the alcohol out of your system. over breaking down fat which will drastically slow fat loss.
4. Don’t wait too long post-workout to eat
moving on to the next mistake as opposed to eating too much after your workout is waiting too long to provide your body. the nutrients it needs to recover, yes it’s true that the anabolic window is a myth for those of you that don’t know the anabolic window.
Is a short period of time after your workout usually within 30 minutes where you absolutely must either eat or take down a protein shake? to make sure that you don’t lose your gains well this is actually not true.
You don’t have to rush home as fast as possible to eat a meal. However, if you want to maximize muscle growth it’s proven that supplying your body with a consistent stream of amino acids.
throughout the day can help keep you at a positive protein turnover rate which is essential for muscle growth. now when you work out you break down muscle tissue which will slowly drain amino acids and put you into a negative protein turnover rate.
The only way to reverse this and to start building muscle again is to eat and more specifically to eat protein to replenish those amino acids. now the good news is that as long as you’ve had a meal somewhere within about four hours before your workout you really shouldn’t worry about rushing to take in your post-workout meal. this is because the amino acids that you took in before your workout can still be used to start repairing your muscles after the workout.
however on the other hand if you didn’t eat anything all day before your workout or it’s been hours upon hours since your last meal. well in those two cases your body will end up being in a muscle breakdown mode after your workout rather than a muscle-building mode until you take in some amino acids. now even if you do eat before your workout if you wait like 10 hours after your workout to finally eat your post-workout meal.
You’ll still most likely be hurting your gains and recovery because within those 10 hours you’ll definitely run low on amino acids. And create a negative nitrogen balance leading to further muscle breakdown.
So the point is even though you don’t have to rapidly make a protein shake at the gym after your workout to ensure that you don’t miss the anabolic window. It still is a good idea to not wait too long. Usually, in most cases, it’s best to eat a post-workout meal or shake at least within one to two hours after your workout and this brings me right to the next mistake
3. Eat enough protein post-workout
after your workout now based on what I’ve already talked about this should be pretty obvious without consuming enough protein you won’t have the amino acids required to start rebuilding and growing your muscles. You want to have at least 14 grams of protein per pound of body weight after your workout.
So for a 215-pound man like myself, i would want to have at least 30 grams of protein post-workout. You can achieve this with a protein bar or protein shake or a meal.
Just make sure that you get some protein in within a reasonable time after your workout to start the muscle repair process also remember as a general rule of thumb that meals are better than shakes. So even if you have a post-workout shake try to still eat a high protein meal later on in the day
2. Get enough sleep on days you workout (min. 6-7hrs)
another big mistake is depriving yourself of sleep after your workout or your workouts. In general, it’s pretty common knowledge that the three big things that you need to do to maximize muscle growth are eaten train. And sleep and I’ve seen people enough sleep you’ll struggle to build muscle just as much as if you weren’t eating or training correctly.
You see your muscles grow while you rest and recover not while. You hit the gym and the biggest strides that your muscles make towards full recovery are made while.
You’re sleeping so staying up all night watching tv or playing video games can really diminish your returns from eating right and training hard. The bottom line is to do your best to get at least around six to seven hours of sleep per night regularly.
1. Drink plenty of water post-workout
finally last but not least don’t forget to drink plenty of water after your workout especially if you sweat a lot during that workout. When you exercise and sweat you lose water weight and you need to replace that water.
That’s lost to maintain a healthy balance of body fluids you also lose electrolytes when you sweat. And some really great marketers have made many people believe that to replace those electrolytes you need to grab yourself.
Something like a Gatorade but doesn’t make that mistake Gatorade is definitely far from the ideal post-workout drink to rehydrate with especially if you’re trying to watch your calories instead.
Just make sure that you have enough water and if you’re concerned about replacing electrolytes after a workout. That makes you sweat a lot then you can go for coconut water instead of something like Gatorade which is much healthier than wraps.
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