9. Fear of Food
Ready to have your dietary beliefs shaken, Jell-O like, to their core? Okay, here goes: It’s virtually impossible – no matter what you eat – to gain any fat in the post-workout period, which is roughly defined as the hour-long timeframe after you finish lifting weights. While gaining fat during this period is highly improbable, it’s highly probable that you will build some muscleduring this same timeframe, provided you give your body the protein (and calories) it requires.
It all has to do with insulin, the hormone that carries glucose and amino acids to muscle cells. Broadly speaking, insulin has two choices, it can either shuttle glucose and protein to storage in fatty tissue and the liver, or it can deliver those nutrients directly to muscle cells where they’re used to fuel, repair, and grow muscle. The path it takes is determined by exercise – if you’re lifting weights or just finished lifting weights, insulin will take the nutrients directly to muscle instead of storing it.
Muscle is particularly sensitive to insulin during this workout/post workout period, so if you want to build muscle/curves, it’s imperative that you eat during what we call the “peri-workout” period, which is comprised of the period just before, during, and after a resistance workout. So temporarily forget your calorie fears. Temporarily forget your carb fears, too, because this is when you definitely need to provide your muscles with the material it needs to build those curves. In general, have a protein/carbohydrate drink about 45 minutes to an hour before a workout and a substantial amount of protein and carbohydrates after a workout. In an ideal world, you’d also sip a protein/carb drink during the workout, too, but at the very least, make sure you don’t skimp on that post-workout meal.