Post-Workout Nutrition for Strength, Size and Power
Post-workout (PWO) nutrition has been shrouded in half-truths and lies for too long. It is time to set the record straight.
The current accepted norm for PWO nutrition is that one should consume a whey-only protein shake as soon as possible after training. The reasoning provided is that the quick absorption rate of whey stimulates protein synthesis at a time when the body is most receptive to said stimulation. This concept is valid, but neglects the “rest of the story” as Paul Harvey used to say.
Immediately after an intense session in the gym our body is in a net negative state relative to skeletal muscle protein. Intense training accelerates the catabolism of muscular protein and blunts its synthesis with this double whammy resulting in a net catabolic state.
Above: AtLarge Nutrition sponsored athlete Chuck Vogelpohl – raw power incarnate!
The consumption of whey protein by itself PWO is really quite ineffective. Whey protein is quickly absorbed and does promote a spike in protein synthesis. However, whey does very little to attenuate protein catabolism, thus it only affects one portion of the net protein equation and does a poor job of reversing the net catabolic state. In addition, whey’s fast absorption rate is a limiting factor in that it results in a lower net retention (less amino acids are available to fuel recovery) when compared to other high quality proteins such as casein and egg.
The real key to the PWO puzzle lies in empirical evidence (what the biggest and strongest have known for years) and in the research if one is unbiased and willing to delve into the world of scientific mumbo-jumbo (I know, there are a few of those terms used here). Men like Louis Cyr, Paul Anderson, Doug Hepburn, and now Chuck Vogelpohl and Donnie Thompson, the strongest men to have ever walked the planet, have always known the one must eat after training. From milk to steaks, calorie dense, protein packed foods have always been the PWO foods of choice for the mass monsters. Research proves-out this iron wisdom. A complete “meal” PWO is the most efficient means of getting the skeletal muscles into a net positive protein state. This is due to a myriad of factors of which the three most important are briefly outlined below:
1) Insulin, a very important anabolic hormone, is released primarily in response to the ingestion of carbohydrates. Insulin provides for a “permissive” effect relative to the stimulation of protein synthesis. Its presence in and of itself does not directly enhance protein synthesis, but its absence results in dramatically reduced protein synthesis.
AtLarge Nutrition sponsored athlete David Trantham is a professional bodybuilder who understands the important of Post Workout Nutrition
2) Cortisol is a catabolic hormone released during and after training which both suppresses protein synthesis and enhances protein catabolism. The ingestion of a meal PWO quickly reduces its blood levels thus permitting an anabolic environment.
3) Amino acids from ingested protein work in concert with insulin to synergistically enhance protein synthesis.
Now, for an additional fact that you may never have heard before (especially in an article like this): protein synthesis, assuming a normal level of nutrition, will be spiked within a few hours of training and a net positive protein state will be realized nearly irrespective of what is done nutritionally.
That said, a net positive state will be more quickly realized and said state will be more anabolic if one consumes a complete meal as soon as possible after training.
If said meal is in a liquid state the results will be even better. Thus, the ideal PWO meal is a liquid shake which provides all of the macronutrients to include a high quality protein blend, a relatively high-GI rating form of carbohydrate, and a small amount of fat (so as to not delay absorption). Opticen is a product which does exactly that.
For best results, one 2/3 serving size Opticen shake should be consumed immediately PWO. At the 1-hour PWO mark, another shake, or a solid food meal should be consumed. Follow these instructions and you will be able to train harder, more often, and reap increased benefits from each and every training session. Heck, you may even become one of the strongest men on the planet like the AtLarge Nutrition athletes pictured above!
Full Newsletter can be found here - Serious About Muscle Newsletter January 12th, 2010
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