Recently I have been using the gym a lot in order to get myself fit to play sport and build muscle. I'm wondering if anyone has any further information about what could help me doing this even more? (beyond the basics which I know and understand quite well through studing physical education)
If we take it you are having a healthy balanced diet? Then check your protein intake. As a rule of thumb I use 1g/kg of body weight. I train 6 days a week and since doing this my weight has fallen and my fat is now 17%. Check out my hubs as I've witten loads on this.
Forgot to mention, this could include types of workout, what should be eaten, specific plans etc
Out of the three options of foods there are two which should be eaten after a workout, Protein and Carbohydrates. Fat needs to be left off the after workout menu!
Having said that fat is good and necessary for you. Fat helps to dissolve certain vitamins and is essential in your diet. The reason you don't need fat after a workout is because it slows down the digestion of carbs and proteins which is the exact opposite of what you want to happen after a workout.
Immediately after a workout the food that you need most is protein. There is a window of time after a workout in which protein is most beneficial to repair your muscles and replenish your body with nutrients which have been depleted during your workout.This window lasts about an hour but you want to get your protein as quick as possible, hopefully within the first half an hour.
So what kind of protein should you have after a workout? Chicken, egg whites, tuna and other meats are great sources of protein but unfortunately they are whole foods and can take quite some time for your body to absorb. If you have spent time at our gym you have probably noticed the trainers walking around with their coveted protein shakes. The reason for this 'obsession' is that the protein shakes contain a mixture of whey and a liquid (water) thus a whey protein shake.
A whey protein liquid is the fastest digested form of protein there is. This is why it is the protein of choice for a post workout meal. Not only is protein powder easy to transport with you to the gym but it is easy to mix together after your workout. Generally 20 to 50 grams of protein should be consumed after a workout (shoot for 30 grams).
Second food source that should be eaten after a workout is, carbohydrates. Like protein, there is an ideal form of carbohydrates after a workout. Generally speaking, the good carbs like whole wheat bread and brown rice are great for meals during the day but not ideal after a workout. The fiber in these carbs which makes them 'good' also makes them harder to digest. Now this doesn't mean that the ideal food is a doughnut or a cookie, it just means that a simpler sugar will be more beneficial in restoring the muscle's sugar levels post workout.
The ideal carbohydrate after a workout is essentially sugar in the form of dextrose (glucose). Dextrose is a simple sugar and is the chief form of sugar manufactured and used by the body. The body makes dextrose/ glucose from proteins and fats but mainly from carbohydrates. However like in the case of protein from whole food, producing dextrose takes time and after a workout time is of the essence. Without dextrose in your post workout meal your body may actually breakdown your newly built muscle to in order to restore your glucose storage.
Like protein there is an ideal amount of carbohydrates to consume post workout. Generally 40 to 80 grams of carbs should be consumed after a workout (shoot for 50-60 grams).
So how to get this all in after a workout? Simple, get a shaker and measure out your protein powder and glucose ahead of time. After your workout simply add water and drink it down on your way home!
It's hard to say what to do since I'm not there. Different things work for different people. The first and foremost thing to do is to check your diet and make sure you're eating only what you need. I would avoid any fast food and suggest eating plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. One thing that I've always seen work well is to eat 5 or 6 six small meals throughout the day rather than the usual 3 meals.
Moderate to high intense cardio is your best bet for burning fat, depending on your fitness level, I would suggest doing at least 4 days of cardio and if you want you can do this before and/or after a strength training workout. The easiest way to know if you're getting a good cardio workout is if talking while doing so is a little difficult, but not too much.
Many gyms don't have punching bags, but if yours does use it, they are great for getting the heart rate up, you can also jump rope.
I hope I could be of help
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