Muscle growth is directly dependent on exercise and nutrition. Of particular significance is the quality and quantity of the food eaten during 24 to 48 hours following the exercise session, as stated by the US National Institute of Health. For optimum muscle growth, many experts believe in eating sufficient protein within a very short time following your high intensity workout routine is necessary.
Two hour anabolic window
The two hours following workouts is known as the anabolic window when muscle growth can be enhanced by the right choice of food eaten. The idea is to use the body’s natural ability to repair and over compensate for damaged muscle fiber when the right nutrients are available within the right time-frame. The over-compensation, which is a natural ability of the body, will result in muscle growth and development known as muscle synthesis. If no attention is paid to post-workout nutrition then it is likely that muscle protein breakdown will take place due to the body being low in resources following exercise.
It literally will be a case of the body breaking down the muscle to use as fuel. To avoid this undesirable muscle degradation, ensure you consume some protein soon after your resistance training. It is thought that approximately 25g of protein or 10g of essential amino acids is enough to stave off muscle degradation and promote muscle synthesis. Some studies suggested a little carbohydrates alongside the protein was beneficial. The body’s response to the food consumed is to produce insulin and this spike in insulin supports the muscles.
Lose fat for defined muscles
To get that beach body look you will need to lose some fat as well as developing your muscles. This can be tricky as when eating a calorie controlled diet to lose weight it can be difficult to achieve protein synthesis or muscle growth. The best advice is to only implement a 20-25% calorie deficit in your diet, which will still preserve muscle but allow fat loss too.
Any greater calorie deficit and muscle growth is inhibited and muscles are at risk of degradation. Ensure you eat a varied, healthy diet which is rich in low GI foods, healthy protein, fresh vegetables and whole foods. In addition, some fitness experts suggest including hCG which acts as a catalyst for other hormones in the body promoting fitness and weight loss.
Increase your metabolism and strength
There is some evidence to suggest that drinking an energy drink or perhaps a strong coffee before a workout will result in an improved performance. This greater intensity of workout will produce greater effects in terms of muscle growth. Time your coffee drink to be approximately one hour before exercising as the peak stimulatory effects are thought to be between 30 and 75 minutes following the drink although some effects will begin from 15 minutes.
The ability to train harder is brought about by the coffee or other stimulant acting as an ergogenic aid or performance enhancer. This way more benefits are achieved by your workout, resulting in muscle growth. This in turn will help reduce fat as a person with more muscle burns more calories even whilst resting! Ingredients for energy drinks may include carnitine, chromium, creatine and taurine which work alongside caffeine to boost energy levels. Always avoid anabolic and other steroids, which are illegal and banned in sporting events, due to their harmful effects on health.
Reps versus resistance
There is much debate between the respective muscle building benefits of high repetitions at low intensity in your training program, compared with low reps at high intensity. Hardcore bodybuilders will argue strongly in favor of the latter, but research shows that there are equivalent gains by working with lighter weights, but for a longer duration. For many, it is a question whether you are willing to suffer more pain to get the workout over quickly, or reduced discomfit, but for longer.
As you might expect, whichever your preferred approach, you will only see gains if you are committed to some hard work. But, proper nutrition and good hydration will support your training by ensuring that all your hard work is more efficiently and naturally translated into muscle growth. One point to note is that the greater resistance may increase the likelihood of injury, especially in slightly older people or those prone to injury. For such individuals a better choice would be the increased repetitions approach.
Recent innovations for post workout fuel
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA) have recently become the essential extra to any post-workout smoothie. They promise to feed the muscles even for those who are reducing calories to aid weight loss. Although there are 9 essential amino acids in total this supplement is made up of the 3 essential amino acids that are associated with muscle maintenance and growth: leucine, isoleucine, and valine.
Of course these animal proteins can be derived from eating a well balanced meal post exercise but in reality it can be difficult to plan a perfectly balanced meal, with minimal additional calories, being readily available within the anabolic window. This is when the powdered protein drinks are a good option. In addition, if your sports shake is based on whey protein, it will even be suitable for vegetarians and may be especially helpful for them bearing in mind their restrictions in finding suitable protein sources.
Muscle up for your future success
With your newfound beach body you will be ready to take on board anything life can throw at you! It’s a fact that people who are happy with their appearance and who have the self-discipline to improve their health and strength are overall more high achieving. Your energy levels will be vastly increased by being in shape with great muscles. This will increase your confidence, decision making and productivity which can only have positive gains in your life and workplace. Furthermore, people are attracted to those who display such attributes of positivity and strength. Life will be great moving forward in your new body.