In bodybuilding, there are a lot of factors that must be in place in order for muscle growth to occur. You can’t just have 80% of them and see 80% of your potential growth. If you take one of these legs off the stool, you’re going to fall flat on your face. Proper training, adequate sleep, and solid nutrition (including pre- and post-workout needs) are essential for growth. And proper eating is the toughest part for some bodybuilders.
Many bodybuilders, particularly young and active ones, will hit the gym religiously during their busy day. They don’t have obligations of family, but they do have jobs which may require a lot of hours. They see some good results from the gym, so they attend religiously, but they may not take nutrition as seriously as they should. Following their workout, they’ll rinse off in the shower, hop in their car, and drive to the next planned event of their day, whether it be work, school, a date, or some other social event. They are content that they covered their weightlifting base for the day, but they may not think about post-workout nutrition needs all that much. They figure when the next mealtime rolls around, they’ll eat well. The problem is that the next meal may not be for 2 to 4 hours – and they need protein NOW.
Delivering some fast-digesting protein during that small post-workout window (up to 20 minutes following the moment you set down that last weight) is imperative for muscle growth. You need to plan to have a fast-acting protein on hand, either in your car or in your gym locker, if you want to achieve all potential growth. What sources of post-workout protein are best? Most bodybuilders choose whey for their needs. It is in the bloodstream in about twenty minutes, refilling depleted amino acid stores and repairing muscle groups which have been torched during your workout. It is very effective, very cheap, and above all, very fast. You can mix then slam a whey shake in less than 60 seconds. Some lifters will opt for milk, which won’t sit well in the gut of many. Whey is often a much safer bet, and it doesn’t have all the carbs, sugar and fat found in milk.
Following your workout and your post-workout protein delivery, you will want to include a normal meal in 45-75 minutes. Aim for an hour, give or take a bit of prep time. This meal should contain a healthy balance of slow carbs, desirable fats, and of course, more protein. The low-fat nature of whey will mean your post-workout shake an hour earlier won’t still be in your stomach when this meal time rolls around. Remember that pre-workout nutrition is important as well. This meal will focus upon a fair amount of protein (about 40 grams) but will be your main source of the carbohydrates you need for growth and restoration of depleted glycogen reserves. Keep your diet in check, your training hard and your sleep adequate and you will see some serious growth!
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