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Muscles don't grow in the gym; they grow after. If you want to get the maximum benefits from your workout, follow these instructions.

Post workout muscle recovery is just as important as training. The opportunity for muscle growth begins the moment you stop lifting. You need proper recovery protocol to ensure maximum gains.

When you are training in the gym you are actually breaking down your muscles. Immediately after workout, your body begins to repair broken muscle tissues. That is called muscle recovery. Ignoring the importance of muscle recovery is a big, big mistake. 

Here are the most important things that I have found to be completely crucial for maximizing recovery process. 

Get serious about pre-workout nutrition.

Learn what you should eat and what supplements you need before workout.

Complex Carbohydrates:
To crush a tough workout, you need energy. You get energy from carbohydrates. Here are the foods that are high in complex carbohydrates: Oats, wheatgerm, whole grains, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, brown rice, high fiber cereals, roti, paratha, porridge, bran flakes, muesli, peas, vegetables, fruits (banana), milk, meat, chicken, fish, chickpeas (chana), lentils (dal) and beans. 

Dosage and timings: You should have complex carbohydrates 90 minutes before workout.      

Fast-Absorbing Protein (Whey Protein):
Whey protein is a fast digesting source of protein. Whey contains all the nine amino acids necessary for human dietary needs. 

Dosage and timings: You should have 25g whey protein 15-20 minutes before workout.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’S):
BCAAs are best known for helping athletes recover faster with less soreness. They are also great at preventing catabolism (breakdown of muscle tissue). 

Dosage and timings: You should have 3g BCAA’s 15-20 minutes before workout.

Perfect your post-workout nutrition.

Here is what you need to have after your workout.

Whey Protein:
Whey protein is a perfect form of protein to ingest before and after workouts to help your muscles grow and recover quickly. 

Dosage and timings: You should have 30g whey protein, 15-20 minutes after workout.

High Protein Low Fat Food:
A post-workout protein is very important to kick start muscle repair, recovery, and growth. Few protein rich food options are whey protein, meat, fish, chicken, eggs, lean beef, lamb, turkey, whey protein, milk, cheese, paneer, tofu, curd, yogurt, lentils (Indian dal), spinach (palak), chickpeas (channa), kidney beans (rajma), sprouts, mung, broccoli, soybeans, figs, almonds and walnuts.

Dosage and timings: You should have protein rich food 30 minutes after workout.

Glutamine assists in recovery by helping muscle cells take up glycogen after a workout. It can also help delay fatigue during a workout so you can turn up the intensity for a longer period of time. 

Dosage and timings: You should have 7g Glutamine, 15-20 Minutes after workout.

Focus on quality sleep.

HGH (human growth hormone) is naturally released during the deep sleep. HGH secretion occurs during early sleep which is typically when the deepest sleep cycles occur. At least eight hours of sleep is the ideal target to hit.

Watch your total protein intake of each day.

According to United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)’s RDA for protein, if you are doing strength training, you can take up to 1.5 grams of protein per kg of your bodyweight per day. If your bodyweight is 60 kg, you need 90 grams (60kg X 1.5) of protein per day. 

Dont skip stretching. 

Stretching probably doesn't sound sexy or even necessary when all you want is size, but it might be the most underrated player in muscle growth. By not having the necessary muscle flexibility, you might short yourself on muscular gains. 

Take at least one day break at the gym every week.

Rest days give your muscles a hard-earned break from a self-induced beating at the gym.  If you feel up to it, some light movement like walking, swimming or even throwing a Frisbee around could confer recovery-promoting effects as well. 

Take a week off after 12 weeks of intense training.

When I design workouts I always introduce one week off after 12 weeks of intense training. Don’t worry your muscles won’t disappear during this time. Quite the opposite, usually when I take week off I am much stronger afterwards.

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Written by Sapna Vyas Patel , PhD in Nutrition Science and Dietetics
Sapna writes simple, easy to understand articles that are based on pure scientific evidence. She is one of the most popular fitness professionals in India and is followed on social media by fitness enthusiasts, nutritionists, dieticians, doctors, trainers, and professionals.

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