Keep Dreaming, punk!
I have a sneaking suspicion that he (and a couple of his friends who train with him) might be hitting this site more regularly. He was curious about what he could eat to help recover from his workouts, which are leaving him feeling a bit worn-down. Hey, even adding a little muscle would be a nice bonus! He got in touch with me and I realized that it would be a very good topic for blog entry.
Post-workout, there are two things that the body needs, and pretty damn quick: protein and some high glycemic carbs. A hard session of training is going to leave the body with a lot of "torn down" muscles and not much glycogen (sugar that the muscles use to move) left. The protein part is easy to understand: that's what you make muscle out of. The high glycemic carbs need an explanation (this is very simplified, BTW).
Glucose is what you really want here. Glucose is the fastest-absorbing, insuling-spiking sugar. After a workout, the muscles love a good insulin spike! Glycemic index (GI)is the measure of how fast a carb will trigger the release of insulin.
So, what's high on the GI that we can take to trigger that insulin release? Well, read enough muscle-comic magazines and they'll tell you things like white bread, white rice, oreo cookies and even chocolate milk. Highly processed foods drive up insulin levels fast, sure but they're still junk food. There are better ways to do this.
Although, I have experimented with chocolate milk and the results can beMy two favorite candidates are ripe bananas and dates. The bananas have to be ripe, or even over-ripe. Bananas have a lot of starch that convert to sugar as they ripen. So, a barely ripe banana comes in around the mid-40s, which is kind of low. Let them get some brown on them and they sky-rocket up into the mid-to-high 70's, which is pretty high. Dates are REALLY HIGH on the GI, usually coming in the high-90's. Just two or three will do the trick here. Another major plus that I like about both of these is that they're both very high in potassium. Since you've probably sweat like a bulldog in the desert, some electrolytes could be very, very helpful to avoid muscle cramps!
okay, with a few conditions. You really have to be jonesing for some sugar
by the time you're done your workout to make the most of Chocolate
milk. Second, you need to be really fussy about which
chocolate milk you use. Some brands, no matter how much your brain and
muscles are screaming, crying and begging for sugar, they simply have too
much. Moral here: be as careful as you are picky!
So, we get done the workout, threw down either a mushy banana or 2-3 dates. Now, for the protein part. Most readers will know that I'm not a huge fan of any supplements, including protein powders. I don't consider whey a food. It's a food extract that comes from milk. So, why not just drink the damn milk? It's cheaper and it tastes a whole lot better! Besides, do you really know what's in your protein supplement? Do a quick search! A lot of these snot-mixers have been caught with conaminants from heavy metals to some "fairy dusting" of Performance Enhancing Drugs (PED's).
There's always cattle blood too! This Surma kid is on his way to being a bad-ass stick fighter! Hey, Jack Lalanne drank a lot of this in his earlier years...
How much of either to consume after a workout varies. If weight gain is the goal, drink and eat more. After a workout during my bulking days, I would drink a quart of milk and eat two bananas. If simple muscle recovery is in the order, consume less.
There are a few other things that can help out for muscle pains. Earlier I mentioned potassium consumption to avoid muscle cramps. Coconut water is gaining popularity as a natural, low sugar-calorie sports drink, partly because it's loaded with potassium. It's expensive but you don't need to drink much to get a lot of electrolyte out of it. 8 ounces will do. Another fruit that's good to consume after a workout, if they're available, is cherries. Studies have found that they have a natural muscle-relaxing chemical in them, which makes them a good dessert before bedtime.
Of course, this is all second to making sure that you don't push it too hard during the workout and that you're getting enough sleep! These two are paramount to making strong, happy and healthy muscles.