There are few things you can do to maximise your gains after workout. Let’s focus on nutrition today and how it may improve muscle repair, growth and strength.
- Spread protein intake throughout the day. 20-30g is average recommended amount per meal/serving to maximise muscle protein synthesis (MPS). Consuming more than 30g in one meal will not add much further benefits.
- Leucine – is on of the branched-chain amino acids (BCAA) that is thought to be most potent at stimulating MPS. 20-30g protein serving containing all essential amino acids including around 3g of Leucine showed to be most beneficial.
- Protein source – animal protein is usually higher in essential amino acids however combination of plant proteins like pea protein, brown rice protein or hemp gives very similar amino acid profile to i.e. whey protein and is a good substitute for vegetarians and vegans. Plant proteins are considered to be easier to digest, allergen free, higher in fibre and better for people with lactose intolerance. Pea protein is also high in glutamic acid comparing to whey. Glutamic acid converts to glutamate which is important neurotransmitter (affecting mood, memory). Glutamic acid also has detoxifying properties in muscle cells which is important when you exercise as working out increases levels of ammonia and lactic acid which slow downs recovery
- Vitamin & Minerals: muscle growth and repair happens at the cellular level and it depends on a variety of vitamins and minerals, especially vitamins B, D, A, E and C. Briefly speaking, protein is essential for building muscles but including essential vitamins & minerals to your diet is a great addition to maximise MPS.
- Vitamin C: kiwi fruit, bell peppers, pineapple, papaya, oranges and broccoli.
- Vitamin E: sunflower seeds, almonds, hazelnuts, avocados.
- Vitamin B6: salmon (best wild caught Pacific one, not Atlantic or Scottish salmon), chicken breast, turkey, beef, sweet potatoes, tofu.
- Vitamin B12: clams, mussels, mackerel, trout, king crab, beef,
- Vitamin B9: edamame beans, lentils, asparagus, cooked spinach, artichokes,
- Vitamin D: sunshine:)
- Vitamin A: lamb and beef organ meats for the brave ones. Other sources but not so abundant: eggs and butter. Also carrots, sweet potatoes and butternut squash (however plant sources contain beta-carotene, not retinol – the form that your body actually needs and can use)
- Omega 3: recent human studies shown that omega 3 fatty acids boosts muscle growth and recovery due to anti – inflammatory properties but still more evidence is needed. Omega 3 may also reduce heart rate and oxygen demand during exercise without decrease in performance which means less energy used.