Top 3 Nutritional Strategies Everyone Should Try
Working out is easy. Well, let's not say that it's easy because if you do it right, it's extremely gruelling and taxing on the body. However, in comparison to how disciplined one has to be with regards to nutrition, it is easy. Lifting weights is the fun part of our day. It's when we can forget about everything, chase the pump, experience the release and flush of all those good endorphins, look and feel bigger than we do at any other time of the day and leave the stressors in our lives behind that are trying to hold us down. It's the one or two hours a day when we're 'free'. When it comes to our nutrition, however, we're never free from that as this is a constant thought process all throughout the day. Questions such as how many calories do I need, how much protein should I consume post workout, should I cut carbs in meal 2 or 5 and many more are always looming. This sort of thinking can also take its toll psychologically. So, to hopefully give you some relief in your day with regards to nutrition, here are three very important strategies you may want to incorporate or pay more attention to for the purposes of improving upon your physique.
The Anabolic Window
Much attention should be given to the hour or so right after you're done your training for the day with respect to nutrition. Years ago the phrase 'Anabolic Window' came to my attention in that the importance of eating within this time frame was of the utmost importance if you were to capitalize upon the workout you just completed. This period of time was described as an opportunity when your muscles were compared to a sponge in that they were ready to soak up everything and anything you fed them because of their depleted state in the post workout hour. So in accordance with that analogy, we all fixated ourselves on the importance of the post workout meal so that we didn't waste a workout and a chance to grow. Now bringing it back to current times, this may not be exactly true anymore with the advent and inception of our next strategy, but the post workout meal is still a highly important meal and one you certainly do not want to take lightly, it's just that it may not have to occur as immediately in the post workout as we had previously thought. That said, make sure you consume quality and fast digesting carbohydrates and proteins roughly an hour to an hour and a half or so after training has been concluded.
This strategy is when things really changed for us as far as speeding up the healing process from training goes and got us thinking about the chances of that Anabolic Window actually not being as open as we had previously assumed. The Anabolic Window was so important because of the fact that we were in a depleted state after training as there had been no nutrients or calories consumed for the duration of the workout and most likely an additional hour before that to avoid stomach upset during training. That meant for some, going three hours without food. That right there was why we all rushed to eat as soon as the workout was done so that we could leap through the Anabolic Window and start healing and growing. Fast forward again to current times, and we have many people now taking advantage of an Intra-Workout drink which actually provides our body with nutrition as we train. So with this, we're never really in a depleted state anymore and we're feeding our body with muscle building nutrients after and between every single set we do. The idea is why wait to feed and grow when we can feed right now and grow. Coming from someone who uses this strategy daily, I can tell you first hand it works and definitely cuts down on the amount of time it takes for damaged muscles to heal and feel ready to work again. I still eat within an hour of training (probably because I still believe that if that window is open even a little bit I want to take advantage of it) but the intra-workout shake can certainly buy you some time in the post workout if eating right away isn't convenient for you.
Energy loading is nothing new under the sun and many athletes for many years have been using this strategy very effectively for a long time now. I just think it's important to mention it here in this article because the new breed of bodybuilders coming up seem to be so consumed with staying ripped all the time that they neglect the importance of eating lots of healthy and energy storing foods to help propel them through their workouts thinking that doing so will affect their condition. The fact of the matter is that it won't and here's how you should use energy loading as a growing bodybuilder. We all have lagging muscle groups that just don't seem to respond to the training stimulus as effectively as other muscles do. So with that, you should be thinking that you have to train even that much harder on the days those muscle groups are scheduled. That means having lots and lots of extra energy to put into those workouts to force those lagging muscle groups to grow. The only way to do that effectively is to energy load the day before those training sessions. If your legs are weak and need to come way up, the day before leg day you should be loading yourself up with high quality, slow burning carbohydrates that can be stored and later released as immediate energy in the form of muscle glycogen when it comes time to dig deep during that leg day session and squeeze out as much muscle energy as you possibly can to get in those extra sets and reps. The same is true for any other body part you need to bring up. So quit worrying about the possibility of this type of strategy blurring your physique a little and use it instead to grow quality muscle. You'll thank for it sooner than later, I guarantee it.
Hopefully by reading this article I've either reminded you of the importance of these strategies which you'll put back in play for yourself or I've introduced a new concept to you that you've never seen or heard of before. Either way, all the matters is you start doing something to get yourself growing at a rate which you can be happy about. As much as your new Tactical Trainers will help you improve your squat, these nutritional strategies will serve to only help you that much more. So do both and start gaining the way you've always wanted to!
Author: Dana Bushell
AST Sports Science sponsored athlete/writer, sponsored by Schiek Sports Inc.