Train Well: Sports Nutrition Basics

Fuel Metabolism After Training

Published: August 13th, 2012
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In my first post in this series, I explained how post-workout nutrition can maximize your workout efforts and prepare you for the next day. However, when your goal changes from performance to fat metabolism, what you eat after your workout should also change. Let’s take a look at how carbs may work against your goal of fat metabolism after you’ve left the gym.

Carbs May Cause Storage of Energy

After your workouts, your body is primed to replenish its energy stores.  Your body becomes particularly sensitive to sugars.  Even though carbohydrates post-workout may help in building muscle glycogen, the added calories may throw you off your diet plan and limit fat loss, especially if you use high fructose sports drinks.

When trying to metabolize fat you want to facilitate fatty acid release from your fat stores and avoid anything that might hinder release.  Consuming sugars post workout can cause an insulin response that puts your body into an energy storing state, instead of an energy burning one.  However, to metabolize more fat over time, you need to maintain the energy burning machines that are your muscles.

What I Recommend

I recommend that you should avoid the sugars and concentrate on consuming a quickly absorbed amino acid source such as whey protein isolates after your workout.  Studies show that a 10g essential amino acid blend or 20g of whey protein will suffice in stimulating your muscle post-workout.  A whey isolate blended with water beats any sugary sports drink in my mind.

AMP60 BCAA5000

GNC Pro Performance® AMP Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60™ 

GNC Pro Performance® RapidDrive™ BCAA 5000 (2 scoops of this product will provide 10 g of BCAA’s)

At a minimum, you need to avoid foods with a high glycemic index score, particularly sugar, and concentrate on using lower glycemic foods like whole grains, nuts, dairy, and some fruits.

If You’re Not Hungry Post-Workout

It is very true that exercise can have an appetite suppressive effect.  It is definitely difficult to force your body to try and digest a big meal in your gut when all of your blood is still feeding your muscles.  That is why I am not recommending that you sit down post-workout and eat your meal.  This could be quite nauseating.

What I Recommend

I recommend that you use a post-workout protein shake that can be of a relatively low volume and not make you feel “full”.  Using ready-to-drink supplements or preparing a shaker bottle beforehand can make post-workout nutrient delivery much easier.  Don’t let the lack of appetite stop you from maximizing the “anabolic window” post-workout.  Even if you train late at night, at a minimum consume your proteins before bed to maximize recovery.  Getting in your protein will support your lean muscle, crucial for maintaining a healthy metabolism.


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