Hello Intense Trainer!
If you spend a lot of time in the gym, you want to be sure you have a workout recovery meal. This is usually best obtained from a pre-made shake. Besides breakfast, this meal is the most important of your day. Workout recovery meals can make the difference in getting stronger, bigger and faster, staying the same, or even worse, injury. We need a meal loaded with carbohydrates and some protein immediately following a workout for a few reasons. We need carbohydrates to refuel muscles to have the energy for the next workout. We need protein to repair and rebuild our muscle tissue that we have just broken down, and we need vitamins and minerals to facilitate these properties.
The workout recovery meal is key. This meal should consist of mostly simple quick digesting carbs and a bit of slow digesting carbs as in brown rice, oats, or cereal. A good quality whey protein powder is the best protein choice. Aim for about 1/4 – 1/3 your lean body weight in grams of carbohydrates, and 2 scoops of protein powder. Add in juice, or water and ice. The best way to get this mix into your system is with a shake. You can pre-blend this mix and keep it in your car, or cooler to make sure that it gets into your system within 30 minutes after a workout. At least have it waiting in the fridge for when you get home so that you can immediately drink it. Waiting too long will slow your progress, and healing time. Since normal workouts are basically tearing down your muscles, you want to get the recouperative process moving along as fast as possible.
With all the talk about low carb diets, this is one time that you should never omit carbs. Carbs can be cut in the evening. The first meal of the day, which is actually “breaking the fast” should have some sort of carbs and protein on a regular basis. Extra carbs are needed on a day when a big workout is planned. Next meal or pre-workout meals should contain carbs, and again, immediately after a workout. The rest of the day is when you can skip carbs unless in the form of vegetables.
Following these tips will keep you strong in the gym and recovering properly. The goal of pretty much everyone is to add muscle, stay lean and strong, and prevent injury. Never forget that hard bodies are made mostly in the kitchen. So plan your meals accordingly and watch your body get stronger, feel better and look amazing!