Post workout meals to burn fat and build muscle - Part 2

In the previous post, I discussed the best post workout meal for building muscle. If you haven’t read it already, you can read it here. I did a lot of research on the best post workout meals to burn fat. There are just too many theories out there, but I finally read an article by Tom Venuto which stated that the best post workout meal for fat loss is just a normal meal with complex and natural carbs. I personally would say that one should take low GI carbs with protein and unsaturated fats. Here’s why.

After a fat loss workout – which should include full body workouts, you use up quite a bit of your muscle glycogen and you raise your metabolism due to the EPOC effect. Now your body needs the fuel. If you eat a normal meal as mentioned above, you will send the message to your body that you have some food coming, so don’t go to the muscle for fuel and don’t increase cortisol levels. Now, slowly and steadily the food that you have eaten will start getting absorbed and continue to get absorbed for quite some time. Because you are taking low GI carbs with proteins and unsaturated fats, you will slow down the absorption and during that time, a vast majority of the energy will come from the stored fats. This process will continue till such time that all the food has been absorbed.

Personally speaking this is a very good method to lose fat. Do keep in mind that you need to control the portion size. Don’t overdo it. However, you don’t get all the benefits from this method.

Once you do full body workouts or HIIT sessions, you get both the effects mentioned above i.e. using up of glycogen and raising the metabolism. But at the same time, it is known that if you work your entire body especially through HIIT, you increase your HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels to amazing levels. The HGH is good for muscle building but at the same time, to is amazing for fat breakdown. The two peak timings of HGH are post workout and during deep sleep. If you eat carbs right after your workout, you stop the release of HGH. This is something you don’t want to do. The HGH forces your body to use fat as the primary source of energy instead of the carbs that have been taken and are in the blood stream. The best way to avoid lower your HGH is by:

- Taking only protein after a workout
- Taking in carbohydrates an hour or two after the workout (Low GI)
- Not taking any fats an hour before the workout

The above points will help you keep HGH raised after the workouts. Some people may say that you should take carbs after a workout an ANY COST. I disagree with that because our body is very smart. If you need fuel in your body and you don’t have carbs in your system or the carbs are very low, it will look for alternatives. We have processes like glycogenolysis, gloconeogenesis and lipolysis that increase the levels of carbohydrates or fuel in our system from fats and stored glycogen. If you do not have any stored glycogen, then most of it comes from fats. If you take in proteins, the body knows that you are not starving and will not increase cortisol (muscle breaking hormone). Basically, in very simple terms, you can breakdown fat and use it as energy and also provide some amounts of glycogen to the muscles. This will be particularly useful if you have quite a bit of fat.

I hope you didn’t fall asleep reading all that. I would recommend (personally) going with the second method as it includes the effects of the first method plus lots more. Stay tuned for some more details and meal examples.

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Vered - MomGrind said...

Interesting. I just grab an energy bar after a workout - which obviously contains carbs in addition to protein.

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

Energy bars always have carbs in them. They are used to give you boosts of energy. As mentioned in the article, it really depends on your aims whether you should or should not be taking energy bars post workout. However, they do not make you FAT if taken after a workout :)

Ellie Hamilton said...

Far from falling asleep -- your post reinforces points I've been reading in my high-protein low-carb books. I really think I'm onto something here! Wondering though, if the recommendation differs after an endurance workout (e.g. long bike ride or walk/run?) I guess I'll find out when I do it :-)

Usman Pasha Siddiqui said...

Ellie - thanks for the comments. The main idea of this method is to increase HGH to breakdown fat, build muscles and temporarily increase glucagon (and the related reactions in our body) levels to use more fats for energy. Endurance workouts don't do much for HGH so I wouldn't recommend the same methods post endurance workouts. Long SS cardio uses more fats and less carbs which is different to the strength workouts thus a completely different method should be used. Personally, I would say a normal meal should do just fine in small amounts. But, if you are into high protein then that should do fine too.

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