The Best Post-Workout Meals For Maximizing Muscle Gains

January 18, 2019

As a nutritionist and someone who has had a love for fitness for over 10 years, I understand how much of a roll nutrition plays in affecting your progress in the gym.

 

Today I wanted to talk to you guys about the importance of a well-balanced post-workout meal, and what it should contain.

 

During your workout your muscle fibres are placed under tension and develop small tears. In order to repair these muscle fibers, we must consume protein which contains amino acids that are the building blocks for muscles. During muscle repair, your muscle fibres use dietary the protein to increase in thickness and number in order to create growth. 

 

 

In order to get maximum muscle building benefits, you must ensure you’re consuming not only protein, but protein sources that contain ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS. 'Essential' meaning our body doesn’t produce them on its own and must be consumed with diet. Animal sources of protein such as chicken, fish or eggs are considered COMPLETE protein sources because they will always contain the 9 essential amino acids. Plant-based proteins however, such as beans and rice need to be combined in order to make up a “complete protein source” to ensure you’re getting all 9 essential amino acids. 

 

Peanut butter on toast and rice and beans are examples of plant-based food pairings that are needed in order to ensure you’re getting all 9 essential amino acids. Many planet-based protein powders such as the one used for this waffle recipe (see below), are fortified with amino acids to make up a complete protein. 

 

LEUCINE, ISO-LUCINE AND VALINE in particular are essential amino acids that are muscle-building power-houses. Research indicates that 2-3g of leucine in particular, 2-3 times per day will have the maximum benefits for muscle growth. This amount is found in things like 1 scoop of whey protein or 3 oz of chicken breast.

 

 

 

WHAT HAPPENS TO MUSCLES WITHOUT PROPER NOURISHMENT:

 

If you are in a non-fed state you are in a catabolic state, which means to break down. In this state, our body has no food to draw from for energy, so our body begins to break down its own stores of fats, carbs and PROTEIN. This is a survival mechanism. Unfortunately this means our body will break down our own muscle tissue in order to make energy for us to live. 

 

Muscle growth does not occur in a catabolic state. Muscle growth occurs in an anabolic state, which means a building-state. In order to be in an anabolic state, which means to build, we must be in a fed state with the fuel sources needed to build and repair muscle. 

 

 

WHY YOU ALSO NEED CARBS POST WORKOUT:

 

To preface, the BCAA (branched chain amino acid) leucine, boosts the release of the anabolic hormone insulin. You want insulin levels to be rapidly elevated after your workouts because this hormone carries nutrients such as glucose and amino acids into muscle cells — promoting greater protein synthesis and muscular gains. Insulin is typically released in response to the consumption of carbohydrates, such as sweet potato, rice, and fruit. These are great options to have post-workout in combination with a protein source. 

 

 

TAKE HOME MESSAGES: 

 

  • Carbs and protein are the most important macronutrients post-workout for optimal muscle repair and glycogen replenishment.

  • Complete protein sources post-workout are the most favourable for increasing protein synthesis and muscular gains. Awesome examples include 1 scoop of whey protein, fortified vegan protein powder, or 3 oz of chicken breast. 

  • Try to eat within 1 hour after training at the gym to avoid your body catabolizing (breaking down) your hard-earned muscle tissue. 

 

POST-WORKOIT PROTEIN WAFFLE RECIPE

 

DRY INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 scoop vegan protein powder (I use Genuine Health Fermented Vanilla protein powder. Use discount code: MarissaHealth at healthyplanetcanada.com to save 10% off your purchase of $150 or more + free shipping!) - note: has to be plant based protein powder or the recipe/consistency will not work.

  • 30 g gluten free pancake mix (about 2 tbsp) - I love GOGO QUINOA pancake mix, also sold at @Healthyplanet

  • 1/2 tbsp Ceylon cinnamon if desired

  • 1/2 tsp of both baking soda and baking powder

  • 1-2 Packet of stevia

WET INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 whole egg

  • 1/3 cup egg whites

  • 2-3 tbsp almond milk

 

DIRECTIONS:

  • Mix wet and dry ingredients separately first and then add wet to dry. Mix until pudding-like consistency is formed.

  • Pour into waffle maker and let sit until steaming stops (~2 min).

  • Top with your fav fruit/syrup and enjoy! 

 

NOTE: These can also be made into pancakes if you don't have a waffle maker, however, I recommend a waffle maker for this particular recipe!

 

 

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