Post workout eating is very important for gaining muscle.
I received a question about what to eat after a workout and when to eat after a workout.
My answer here on this page will concern eating after a weight lifting workout and not a cardio workout.
The period after a weight lifting workout is one of the more important times of the day if you're trying to build muscle.
You need to take advantage of this period of time.
If you follow my advice here, you will trigger the muscle building process and you'll recover from your workouts faster than ever. When you recover from workouts faster, you can workout more frequently and get even faster results.
BUT… be careful to follow WLC System guidelines so you aren't overtraining.
Plan Your Diet Around Your Workout
If you've read the WLC System Manual, you'll know that I recommend building a diet plan for each day of the week. You'll see that I like to build my daily diet plans around the workouts because I have a post workout eating plan that works wonders for building muscle.
No matter if you are in a calorie deficit or a calorie surplus, I want you to follow this plan.
All you have to do is figure out how many calories you will be eating after your workout. Then use the rest of the calories for the other meals throughout the day. Below, I will guide you in how to eat after your workout.
Remember that developing a diet plan for each day and executing that plan is very important in order for you to meet your goals.
So, What Is This Workout Eating Plan?
I recommend that you have a good meal an hour to two hours before your workout. This may change depending on your goals.
For example, someone who is trying to gain weight may have the pre workout meal shceduled closer to his/her workout in order to get more calories in each day.
Have a balanced pre workout meal loaded with protein, complex carbs, and some good fats.
Then make you up a pre workout shake to drink before and during your workout. If you are trying to lose fat, I suggest you have a drink consisting of BCAA's and some type of energy supplement if you need it. I like to use energy supplements before my workout because it really does help me in my afternoon workouts.
If you are on a muscle building cycle, I suggest you have a drink consisting of whey protein and simple sugars like dextrose and maltodextrin. The amounts will depend on your diet plan and your calorie target for the day. Drink these pre workout shakes during your workout.
Here's What You Do…
Directly after your workout, I want you to drink a post workout shake consisting of BCAA's and some type fast acting carbohydrate. I prefer Waxy Maize as the fast acting carb source. Again, the amount will depend on your calorie target for the day and the diet plan you develop.
Fifteen to thirty minutes after that, I want you to have another shake consisting of whey protein and dextrose/maltodextrin. After you down that, wait about 30 minutes to have a whole food meal packed with more protein and complex carbohydrates. Keep the fat intake low for this meal. I suggest something like a chicken breast and a baked potato.
After you've had your first whole food meal, I want you to have a second whole food meal thirty minutes after you finish the first one.
This meal should be a good combination of protein, carbs, and fat. You could have something like lean beef, whole grain pasta, tomatoes, and a salad with ranch dressing.
That's it for the post workout plan.
Once you finish that second whole food meal, I want you to go back to your normal diet plan with another meal 2 to 4 hours after that last meal.
Remember to make your diet plan and stick to it. Don't just rely on eating after your workout to build muscle.
Each and every meal you eat during the day is important for building muscle. You better get that in your head.
That's why it's so important to design your diet and meals for each day. It might take some time, but it's worth the extra time.
What If I'm Not Hungry?
If you're trying to build muscle, you better understand that you're going to have to eat even when you're not hungry.
When you are eating to build muscle, you will be eating a calorie surplus every day. A calorie surplus means that you will be gaining weight, and you'll have to eat when you're not hungry. It's that simple.
One of the toughest things to do when building muscle is eating enough food. It can get uncomfortable at times eating every few hours because you still might be full from the last meal.
This usually only happens when you get to the end of a weight lifting cycle and you're eating more food than you ever have. Anyone who is at this point, should think about having more liquid meals like whey protein, ground oats, and fatty acid oils.
Liquid meals go down fast and will not make you feel so full all the time. They'll get you a good amount of calories too.
Over eating too much can cause unwanted fat gain so ensure you're following the guidelines I've laid out within the WLC System section.
You follow those guidelines, and you'll keep fat gain to the minimum while you build that quality muscle. Follow the post workout plan laid out on this page, and you'll be well on your way to building that muscle you want.