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If big, defined muscles are your goal, there’s no getting around the need to step into the gym 4 or 5 times a week and lift, curl, pump, and sweat and grunt like there’s no tomorrow. But if you walk out, and pig out like all those people who couldn’t tell a dumb bell from a door bell, you will be very disappointed with your progress.
What you take into your body will help determine how much body fat you lose and how much muscle you will gain. Let’s start by looking at what your body needs right after that serious workout you should always aim to do.
After a session with the weights, your body is spent. It’s expended a lot of protein and needs to replace what it’s lost. Take in an extra 50 grams of protein after you workout. This will promote muscle growth over the course of the next day or so when your broken down muscles begin to rebuild.
Give some though, though, to the kind of protein your feeding your muscles. A good protein to consume after a workout is whey protein. It’s available in many protein drinks or you buy the powder and mix your own drinks. Whey is low in the worst fats and the body assimilates it rapidly, making it available for muscle recuperation and rejuvenation.
Besides replacing your body’s store of protein after a session with the weights, you will need to replenish your body’s fluids. You don’t need any fancy or expensive drinks for this purpose. Drink plenty of water. You have just sweated a lot and your body has lost a good deal of its most plentiful constituent part. However, while you should drink a lot of water after a workout, don’t try to force it down. Chugging water, as great as it feels at first, can make you sick in the stomach. Discipline yourself not to chug, but to continuously sip.
Now, what about what you eat and drink during the course of the day. First, keep in mind that in general your diet on workout days, not just the period immediately following a workout, should be higher in protein consumption than your off-day diet.
Protein intake, however, needs to be considerable and informed whenever you’re eating if you’re going to attain the body you crave. Eat a little every three or four hours. Aim to eat 1-2 grams of protein for every pound of your body’s weight.
Chicken and eggs are excellent sources of complete protein, but try to eat fish as well. If you don’t like the “fishier” tasting ones, give tuna and salmon a try. If you are vegetarian, you might look at this list of vegetarian sources for protein.
If you opt for the convenience of protein drinks, be very careful (read here:the real deal behind protein bars). Many of them are top heavy in sugar. If you’re floating your body with sugar, you will not be able to cut body fat. What you need to look for in a protein drink is one that has few carbs.
Also, you don’t, if you haven’t just completed a workout, need to consume 50 or more grams of protein in a sitting.
In general, don’t shortchange your daily intake.
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