So, you’ve been in the gym a hard hour, you’ve pushed yourself to the limit in every exercise. Your muscles are completely shredded and you’re feeling good about yourself; you know you’ve done what’s necessary to make your muscles grow.
But, don’t rest on your laurels, because the game is only just beginning.
The training session is nothing but the beginning of building muscle. What you do after your workout will determine whether or not you get the goods, or come out empty handed.
Once you’ve broken down your muscles, your body is in a frantic state to repair them. The problem is, unless you immediately take in sufficient nutrients, your body won’t have anything to repair and grow your muscles with – so instead, it will begin to cannibalize the muscle tissue for energy, making your muscles shrink.
This is precisely the opposite of what you want.
You need to make it your goal to get nutrients into your system as quickly as you can, and the sooner the better. It’s not for nothing they say the most important meals of the day are breakfast and post workout.
So the sooner you can get a good amount of protein and carbohydrates into your muscles the less they’ll break down, and the sooner they’ll begin to grow. And make sure you continue eating regular small protein-packed meals, at least every 3 hours. This provides a steady stream of nutrients for the body to use, so you are in a constant state of regenerative growth, rather than stagnating, or degenerating.
Rest is critical post-training. Not only do you want to avoid burning off energy and depraving the muscles of the nutrients they need, but, by participating in any other kind of physical activity you are forcing already damaged muscles to continue working when they need rest. (If you bumped your head on a door and bruised it, you wouldn’t continue bumping your head on the door purposely and expect it to repair any time soon would you?)
Remember: Post workout = nutrients and rest, and you’ll not go far wrong.