Overtrain to Gain
May 18, 2017
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June 1, 2017

Understanding Post-Workout Supplementation

 

So you’ve spent a solid hour in the gym, putting in some seriously hard work to lay down the foundations of muscle growth. You’ve lifted with purpose and intensity, intelligence and proper form; you’ve got your workouts down to a tee. You’re dripping sweat, catching your breath, and almost seeing double; you really put the hammer down in those final, all important sets. So now your body is ready to recover and grow, right?  Wrong.

Pic: bodybuilding.com

When you’re done at the gym, your body is in a catabolic state. You have damaged and broken down the muscle fibers, and burned a huge amount of various types of fuels for energy. Your body is breaking down, not building up.

A good analogy for building muscle is that of a construction site. The workout provides the site itself, while proper and adequate nutrition floods that site with building materials. But what good is all of that without the workers?

The workers in this case are the hormones and other systems of the body that create an anabolic environment. You have to set your body into growth mode for as much of your day as is humanly possible. So as soon as you finish your session at the gym, you need to get the workers in on double time. Your goal is to flood the muscle tissues with top quality building materials and send your hormones, such as testosterone and growth hormone, through the roof.

This is where knowledge and cutting edge science comes in. This is arguably where sports supplements are at their most effective. When you finish that last set, your body is like a sponge, and feeding it with potent, scientifically proven supplements, as well as wholesome nutrition will see you right on the road to optimal gains. But what do you need to take? And when?

Timing

The timing of post-workout nutrition and supplementation is always a subject of debate, and the truth is, there really is no CONCRETE proof for any of the current theories that are thrown around. They all have their own valid points to be made. All we do know is that following intense training, absorption from the gut is increased and the muscles are calling out for replenishment. The general consensus is that protein synthesis and glycogen replenishment are greatly uprated for at least 24 hours following a good session, so if you train regularly, your body is like a permanent sponge for nutrients.

Now, when we train, the blood is diverted away from the central organs and towards the muscles via a mechanism known as the vascular shunt. By discontinuing activity and consuming foods and supplements, blood is then pulled back towards the gut to facilitate digestion and absorption. There is no need for this to happen immediately; don’t throw the iron to the floor and run for your shaker in a blind panic, but have everything ready.

An old figure that many still stand by is the 45 minute window of maximum absorption following exercise. This is often debated, but seeing that it takes a little time for nutrients to reach the bloodstream, let’s try to get the building blocks in place as quickly as possible.

The best strategy is to consume liquid, powder, or at least soft foods and supplements immediately following exercise to limit the amount of breakdown required. This can then be followed by a solid meal at around 1.5-2 hours post-workout.

So, your first supplement concerns should be…

Macronutrients

Pic: t-nation

Macronutrients should be your first concern when you finish your workout. Forget about fats, even good ones, they will only slow down absorption of the two important macros: protein and carbohydrates.

Protein will be pulled into the muscles to kickstart synthesis of new fibers. Aim for 0.4-0.6 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight, right after training. This protein should be mostly, if not completely, made up of rapidly absorbed whey, or a vegan alternative if necessary. Carbohydrates are needed to replenish glycogen stores, and ensure none of the protein is burned for energy. Assuming you’re not in a cutting phase, aim for 0.8-1.5 grams of rapidly absorbed carbs per kilo of bodyweight. Powdered carbs, such as waxy maize starch, can be added to your protein, and are absorbed extremely fast. A large scoop, alongside a couple of large pieces of fruit, or a smoothie, should see you well towards your target.

This rapidly absorbed ‘meal’ should be followed up 1.5-2 hours later by a full plateful of all the usual whole food goodies.

Specialist Supplements

BCAA’s

BCAA’s are next in line in terms of importance. Taken before and during the workout, the main job of BCAA’s is to prevent the breakdown of muscle protein for energy. When you’re done, their primary job is to kickstart anabolism and synthesis. Of course they will be present in some amount in your protein supplement, but you need to up the ratio with a quality BCAA supplement, such as Sheer BCAA. It is a scientifically proven blend of ultra pure valine, leucine, and isoleucine formulated specifically for muscular recovery. With the ratios tilted heavily towards the most important and potent BCAA, leucine, recovery and growth is guaranteed, as well as an increased rate of cellular carbohydrate absorption.

Pic: muscleandstrength

Creatine

Creatine is a true wonder supplement. It has been around for many years now and is a mainstay of most people’s supplement stack.

It is a good idea to cycle creatine to keep your body on its toes. Eight weeks on, followed by two weeks off is a good plan.

Assuming you are currently on cycle, you need to replenish your creatine supplies following an intense workout.

Creatine works by rapidly replenishing energy molecules as soon as they are depleted. Through the course of a training session you will use up much of your stores and your muscles will be crying out for more.

Sheer Strength Creatine Monohydrate is 100% pure and guaranteed to increase muscle growth and strength. As well as providing increased energy and power during your lifting, this supplement will also speed up recovery time and reduce soreness between efforts.

Glutamine

Glutamine is another amino acid, and in fact makes up almost two-thirds of human skeletal muscle tissue. It is important post-workout for a number of reasons:

  • Glutamine has been linked to increased protein synthesis and muscle growth.
  • It is great for your gut, helping to ease digestion and improve absorption rates.
  • Glutamine has been shown to raise human growth hormone levels, setting up a heavy anabolic environment, boosting recovery, growth, and strength.
  • Supplementing with glutamine helps to maintain cell volume, and adequate hydration levels, which in turn speeds up recovery.

L-Carnitine

L-Carnitine is mainly used to promote the burning of fat as fuel, thereby providing more energy and speeding up the metabolism, as well as promoting fat loss and lean gains.

But as well as forcing fatty acids into the burning heart of the cells, L-carnitine also does the same with carbohydrates. This means that more of your post-workout carbs will be stored as muscle glycogen, ready to be burned during your next session.

Sheer Recovery

If all of these supplements seem like way too many pills and powders to gulp down post-workout, then Sheer Recovery is a good alternative. In contains all of the above specialist supplements: all three BCAA’s, creatine, glutamine, and L-carnitine, in one powder.

It will increase your protein and glycogen synthesis, spike your growth hormone levels, and help you burn more fat.

Antioxidants

Intense exercise really takes its toll on the body. Sure it’s great for you; it strengthens muscle, sinew, and bone, increases energy and vitality, and keeps you in great shape, but the by-products of working out can be seriously detrimental to your results.

Vicious little substances known as free radicals are formed as by products of physical exertion. The oxidative stress these critters cause can lead to tissue breakdown, increased soreness, and reduced recovery times, as well as a decrease in muscular gains.

Well, for every problem there is a solution, and this is where antioxidants come in.

Antioxidants course through the bloodstream, getting hold of these free radicals and rendering them harmless.

The most common and potent antioxidants in our foods are Vitamins A, C, and E. These nutrients, along with many other antioxidant compounds, such as whole food extracts, can also be taken in supplement form in order to keep your body working at its full potential.

You can take these powerful cleansers as individual supplements, or all combined in a multi-vitamin, such as Sheer Total.This particular blend is especially formulated for men who train hard and push their bodies to the limit, and If taken post-workout, will help  rid your body of unwanted oxidative stress that can put the brakes on your results.

 

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