Tuesday, May 17, 2011

8 Workout Nutrition Tips To Build Muscle

Pre- and post- workout nutrition is critical for you to build muscle and improve your workout and game-time performance.

The rigors of training breaks down your body and you need proper nutrition and rest to rebuild your body bigger and better. Protein consumption, in particular, is critical if you want to build muscle (more discussion below on protein)

Here are 8 Workout Nutrition Tips to help you Build Muscle:

1. Pre-workout nutrition should mainly include carbohydrates and proteins. During intense training, your body depends on fuel from glycogen made from the carbohydrates that you eat. The body can't use fat for fuel during high intensity exercise because there is not enough oxygen available.

Consuming fruits, vegetables and smoothies 1-2 hours before a workout will build up your glycogen stores. When your glycogen stores are low, your performance will suffer.

2. Research has shown the effectiveness of pre-workout protein drinks (such as whey and casein). Your muscles get 2 times as much benefit from a pre-workout protein drink compared to having just a post-workout protein drink. Check out a great, cheap whey protein powder from Dynamic.

3. Post-workout nutrition is important to help your body recover from intense exercise. You don't need to eat immediately after your workout but there is a 45 minute to 1 hour window where replenishing your body's fuel (carbs, protein, fats) will optimize your tissue's repair and growth.

The post-exercise meal should consist of carbohydrates, protein and a small amount of essential fats. A drink, such as a smoothie, is good because it is quickly digestible. A ratio of 2g carbs/1g protein is what you need.

The carbs should be high glycemic, the proteins should be easily digestible (such as whey) and the fats should be from sources such as fish or flax oil.

4. Your body needs a minimum of 200 grams of carbs per day if you are a light exerciser. You will feel tired and listless without this amount of carbs.

5. Athletes in sports that require plyometrics, speed and weight training need about 2.5 grams of daily carbs per pound of body weight. A 180 pound athlete would need at least 450 grams of carbs each day to function properly.

6. Endurance athletes such as marathoners, swimmers, triathletes need high amounts of daily carbs. About 3.5 to 4.5 grams per pound of body weight is needed. So, a 180 pound athlete would need 630 to 810 grams of carbs per day. These athletes sometimes use carbohydrate loading before events.

7. Protein provides the main building blocks for your muscles. Daily protein needs for athletes should be calculated according to body weight (not by percent of calories). Daily protein targets (grams per pound of body weight) are:

--Recreational exerciser, adult 0.5-0.75
--Competitive athlete, adult 0.6-0.9
--Growing teenage athlete 0.8-0.9
--Adult building muscle mass 0.7-0.9
--Maximum usable amount by adults 0.9 (your body will excrete excess protein)

For example, if you weigh 190 pounds and want a high protein intake (0.9 gms/lb), you'll need 171 grams of protein. Protein should be eaten at least every 3-4 hours (with every meal) to insure adequate supply during the day.

Your night meal should be comprised of slowly digesting protein (such as lean meats) that will give a constant release of amino acids into your system overnight.

8. Drink daily about a half an ounce of water for every pound of body weight (180 pound person would drink 90 ounces). During exercise, drink about a cup of water for every 15 minutes of exercise.

For exercise lasting more than one hour (or during games), a sports drink with carbohydrate and protein is needed.

Eat like an athlete! Train hard and smart!

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Mark Dilworth, BA, PES
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