If your goal is to build muscle mass while also burning excess fats, your post-workout habits are just as important as the proper execution of your workout. Next to breakfast, your post-workout meal – specifically, post-workout macros – is probably the second most important meal of the day.
What are “Macros?”
“Macros” is short for “macronutrients,” which are made up of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. When you check the nutritional content of any food label, these three are the most prominent nutrients listed, and their numbers are, therefore, also the most important.
In order to gain muscle mass, you will need a combination of strength-building workouts and consuming the right mix of nutrients after your workout. It is important to know that your body only builds muscles when necessary; when you engage in a good strength-building workout, your body damages and rebuilds muscle fibers to make them stronger. But to effectively rebuild stronger and bigger muscles, you also have to sufficiently provide your muscles with the fuel and right nutrients, particularly macronutrients.
How do post-workout macros help with muscle gain?
As with any exercise designed to help you burn fat and build muscles, an intense workout is succeeded by a catabolic state, a condition in which muscle glycogen (the primary fuel for your muscles, derived from carbohydrates) is depleted, and muscle tissue is broken down by increased cortisol levels.
In order to support muscle growth and development, you have to reverse this catabolic state and induce an anabolic state, which promotes muscle tissue growth. To achieve this, your post-workout meal should be quickly digestible and contain the nutrients necessary for muscle repair and growth.
To sustain your muscle-building and fat-burning efforts, you have to remember to consume a quickly digestible, carb- and protein-rich post-workout meal immediately after your training. The carbs replenish the depleted muscle glycogen, and the proteins provide the amino acids essential for muscle repair and growth. Additionally, the quick absorption of these nutrients also causes an insulin increase which facilitates the transport of nutrients into muscle cells.
To be effective, you have to determine the right amount of calories you need in your post-workout macros, which will depend on your gender and weight, among others. The most ideal carbs to protein ratio is between 2:1 for women, and 4:1, for men.
While a healthy amount of fat consumption from your other meals is still important, you have to minimize the fat content of your post-workout meal as much as possible. Fat slows down the absorption of your post-workout meal and quick absorption is critical to promoting muscle growth and repair.
There are plenty of post-workout supplement mixtures being sold in the market and most of them do not come cheap. They might advertise that you absolutely need these specially-formulated supplements to support your muscle-building, fat-burning goals, but you can actually achieve the same results by making your own post-workout meals using natural ingredients that you can be sure will provide all the nutrients you need.
The best post-workout macros that are also very easy to prepare are shakes and smoothies. And the best ingredients that you can use, and which are quickly digestible, are frozen bananas, pineapples, and honey or organic maple syrup. The fruits provide the carbs you need to replenish the depleted glycogen and promote muscle building, while the honey or organic maple syrup brings about the needed insulin response. For your source of quickly digestible protein, you can use non-denatured whey protein isolate and/or some fat-free or low-fat yogurt.
Post-workout macros for muscle gain should have quickly digestible proteins and carbs (with the latter having a high glycemic index) and are specifically intended for muscle growth and repair after an intense workout. Your other meals the rest of the day should contain just the opposite: low glycemic index, slowly-digested carbs, and slow-release proteins.
With proper post-workout macros, you will build a body that is very efficient at burning fat, muscular, and with a low body fat percentage. And don’t forget that you can only achieve these with a super-high intensity resistance training that works out large portions of your body. Post-workout macros do not only supplement your high intensity workouts but allows you to satisfy your sugar cravings, as well. This is the best time for you to get away with indulging in sweets without worrying about the sugars going to your gut.
Check out Modern Fit for a tailored nutrition plan that allows you to eat without having to worry so much about macros!