Post Training Meals: a Secret to a Hard Abs

By: N. J. Lutes

As you're probably aware, the meal following your training workout may be the most important meal of the day. The reason is that when you've completed an intense workout, you're entering a catabolic state where your muscle glycogen is depleted and increased cortisol levels are excessively breaking down muscle tissue. This is not a good condition and the only way to reverse this catabolic state (and promote an anabolic state) is to eat foods that are easily digested, and do it as soon as possible following training. The goal is to eat quickly-digestible carbs to replenish muscle glycogen, and quickly-digestible protein to provide the amino acids needed to accelerate the muscular repair. The surge of carbohydrates and amino acids from this quickly-digested meal causes an insulin spike from the pancreas, which sends nutrients into the muscle cells.

The post-training meal should contain about 300 to 500 calories for the best results. For example, a 120-lb female may only need a 300-calorie meal, whereas a 200-lb male may need a 500-calorie post-training meal. This meal should also contain anywhere from a 2:1 ratio of carbs:protein to a 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein. While most other meals should offer a source of healthy fats, keep the fat content of your post-training meal to a bare minimum. Fat slows the absorption of the food, which is the opposite of what is needed after training.

Choosing foods for the post-training meal is simple. First of all, realize that you DON'T need any of the expensive supplement formulas that the magazines (who advertise for them) tell you that you NEED! As with any nutrition plan, natural is the best way to go. Good sources of quickly-digestible natural carbs are: frozen bananas, pineapples, raisins, honey, or organic maple syrup. These are perfect to bring about an insulin response that will cause the replenishing of muscle glycogen and a general anabolic (muscle building) effect.

The best source of quickly-digestible protein is a quality non-denatured whey protein isolate or fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Here are a couple ideas for delicious post-training smoothies that will give a boost to your recovery process:

Chocolate Banana - blend together 1 cup water, ? cup skim milk, one and a half frozen bananas, 2 tbsp organic maple syrup, and 30 grams chocolate whey protein powder - 38 g prot, 72 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 440 calories.

Pineapple Vanilla - blend together 1 cup water, ? cup vanilla yogurt, one cup frozen pineapples, 2 tbsp honey (preferably raw), and 30 grams vanilla whey protein powder - 35 g prot, 71 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 425 calories.

When looking to lose body fat, keep in mind that post-training meals should have the opposite effect of all your other meals. Post-training meals should have quick high glycemic index carbs, quickly-digested proteins, and minimal fat. On the other hand, all other meals should consist of low glycemic index, slowly digested carbs, slow release proteins, and ample healthy fats.

These are powerful strategies towards developing those hard abs with a low body fat percentage. And one other plus is that post-training meals can satisfy even the most powerful sweet tooth, since this is the one time of the day where you can get away with eating extra sugars without adding to your belly fat. Instead, it all goes straight to the muscles! Yea! That's good news.

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