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What to Take after a Bodybuilding Workout

Find out what to take after a weightlifting workout to help build muscle from DreamBodies' Tony DiCostanzo in this Howcast bodybuilding diet video.


It's nothing new to the athletic community, something known as nutrient timing. It'll make all the difference in the world as to whether or not all the time you wasted in the gym was well spent or if it was wasted. Because the fact of the matter is, after an intense, hard work out and really putting your muscles through some serious overload and some damage, your body is starving for specific nutrients and starving for specific carbohydrates to replenish your glycogen stores and to feed your muscles the protein that it needs.

This is where the post-workout window comes into play. You have approximately 15 minutes to about 30 to 35 minutes to feed your body specific portions of proteins, carbs, and maybe even specific amino acids. While some would argue that window stretches out a little bit further and it doesn't have to be within the first 15 minutes to 30 minutes, the more and more they study this the more they come out with the belief that it really needs to be as soon as possible. And it needs to be in liquid form because it's going to digest the fastest into your bloodstream.

So, what you want to do is you want to make yourself a shake. You want to have it ready, already prepared, when you get to the gym so you can just grab it out of your gym bag. Or, if not, have the components ready. You can mix it all with some water, or you can choose to use some kind of high glycemic juice if that works well for you.

You want to have a protein powder that's fast acting, egg protein, whey protein is probably best. You also want to have a high glycemic carbohydrate powder, unless you're going to be using juice - then the amount of carb powder you use can obviously be brought down. The protein powder, anywhere from 25 to 35 grams of protein. You can have upwards of 40 or 45, but at some point your body's only going to digest only so much. And I'm assuming you're also maybe going to have a meal after that following the shake maybe an hour and a half to two hours later. So, you want to have protein 25 to 35 grams of quality protein, whey.

You want to have carbohydrate, high glycemic, anywhere from 35, 45, maybe even 50 grams of high quality carbohydrate powder, malto-dextrin, dextrose powder. And, again, you can also get your carbohydrates through a different type of sugar. It's interesting how after a workout your body will allow you to absorb sugar better than any other time of the day. So it's a good time after a workout to have that sugary beverage if that is the time of the day when you want to have it. Maybe use that as the base for the cocktail that you're going to make post-workout.

The last two things I would throw in there are amino acids - branch chain amino acids, BCAA's - and glutamine. BCAA's is going to help to rehydrate the muscle cell and keep the muscle cell anabolic. At the same time glutamine is going to do the same thing, but it's also going to help force more water into the muscle as well which is also going to help the muscle to rehydrate and even begin to heal and recover faster. Glutamine is also going to bring down cortisol levels which are rising pretty quickly after an intense workout if you train correctly and if you train heavy enough.

So, glutamine, BCAA's, carbohydrate powder, and protein powder, and maybe a little bit of juice. Try this shake after every workout. I guarantee that you'll notice incredible difference in your rate to recovery and your muscle size and growth.

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