Instead of letting the body remain depleted and with muscle tissue in a catabolic state, consuming a protein shake with an abundance of select carbohydrates following a workout will help muscles repair and grow. Practicing this method of proper post-workout nutrition will substantially benefit those seeking to build lean muscle mass as part of a physical fitness goal.
The Catabolic State
After consuming food, the body breaks down larger nutrient molecules. Eventually, the small strands of beneficial chemical byproducts derived from the large pieces of food reach muscle tissue. Before helping regulate muscle function and growth, the smaller pieces of nutrients must get converted into adenosine triphosphate (ATP), which acts as the main source of cell energy in the body.
The catabolic state actually fuels the anabolic state, which helps the body build up the small nutrient strands into useful building blocks. Anabolism requires energy while catabolism does not. The catabolic state simply works to initiate the anabolic state.
Benefit of Post-Workout Nutrition
The body has the ability to enter the catabolic state without consuming food. In other words, catabolism happens in both food and human body tissue. Consequently, when individuals negate this fact, muscle tissue remains weakened and hungry for fuel prior to exercise sessions, resulting in losses rather than gains.
In order to ensure proper muscle maintenance and growth, any person who takes part in vigorous physical activity must supply her depleted muscle tissue with a combination of macro nutrients before, during, and more importantly, after a workout.
Carbohydrates and fast-absorbing protein molecules work together to build lean muscle mass. A quick source of these valuable nutrients comes from many of the available mixable protein powders. Many protein supplements contain limited amounts of carbohydrates, however, so mixing these select supplements with low-, moderate- or high-glycemic carbohydrates will provide optimal results in muscle recovery and growth.
Avoid Prolonged Catabolism
An entire division of nutrition and exercise science has become dedicated to researching the effects of food consumption after exercise and its effects on catabolism and anabolism. Most avid fitness enthusiasts know that consuming moderate to high levels of protein after exercise helps muscles recuperate, though many of those same individuals fail to understand exactly why.
In basic terms, the energy provided from protein-laden food sources also contains amino acids, the basic building blocks of larger protein molecules. These play essential roles in muscle repair and growth. However, many of these same chains of molecules become nutritionally enhanced when added to carbohydrate sources, thus providing a perfect mixture of anabolic-educing energy.
The key to post-workout nutrition involves putting an immediate end to catabolism, one that increases cell respiration and muscle protein synthesis. To place this important idea into perspective, imagine the exact opposite. Rather than providing muscle tissue with the necessary fuel to grow and repair, some people leave their muscles in the depleted state.
Though letting this happen will not completely negate the benefits of exercise, it does hinder your results, especially when repeated often. Muscles require specific nutrients to grow, and consuming protein shakes or other protein sources after exercise provides the best possible way for lean mass gains.