Maximising the Post-Workout Window
Source: Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:5 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-5
From the recreational lifter to the competing athlete, there seems to be a general consensus that the post-workout ‘anabolic window' is vital to making significant gains. Leave your postworkout meal too late and you could miss out on that all important insulin spike which floods your muscles with amino acids. But in the research, there's some debate.
Researchers at California State University reviewed existing research studies on postworkout nutrition to find out whether there is or should be a hard and fast rule as to what/when to consume a postworkout meal.
The first thing the researchers found was that there were no generally-accepted rules for postworkout nutrition, and no two studies were done the same way or found the same results. They also found that the majority of studies that advised that a post-workout shake should be consumed as soon as possible only tested fasted subjects - not those who had eaten within 1-2 hours pre workout (like most people do).
Some of the more interesting findings of this latest research review were:
- Carb loading post-workout is not necessary unless you are training multiple times per day, as long as you are hitting your daily carb levels to replenish muscle glycogen.
- A preworkout meal is much more beneficial than the postworkout meal for amino acid levels in the bloodstream and for muscle repair.
- Postworkout nutrition is vital if you're training on an empty stomach.
- An optimal protein intake around workout times is 0.4-0.5g protein/kg of bodyweight before and after workouts, separated by no more than 4 hours. E.g. for a 100kg person, a 45g intake of protein at 10am, workout at 12pm, and another 45g of protein at 1pm.
Green Tea for Sun Protection
Source: British Journal of Nutrition, Firstview Articles, doi: 10.1017/S0007114512006071
We know about a large number of health benefits from drinking green tea or supplementing with green tea extract - such as increased fat loss, immune health and cancer protection. It's definitely a super-food we should all be getting in our diets.
A recent study about to be published in the British Journal of Nutrition shows that green tea supplements can help to protect skin against sun damage, and therefore reduce the risk of skin cancer.
16 healthy test subjects (with fair skin) were given 540mg of green tea catechins and 50mg of vitamin c daily for 12 weeks. 540mg of green tea catechins are found in less than 2 large cups of green tea. The subjects were exposed to UV light before and after the supplementation period. After 12 weeks, those who took the green tea extract had more catechin metabolites present in their skin, and had less 12-HETE, a marker of inflammation. The control group did not experience this result.
Although long term exposure to sunlight is never a good thing, this study shows that by boosting your intake of green tea, your skin is that much stronger against the sun's harmful rays.
Three Sets are Better Than One
Source: J Strength Cond Res. 2013 Jan;27(1):8-13. doi: 10.1519/JSC.0b013e3182679215.
For those who are fans of High Intensity Training (one working set per muscle group), yet another study has come out suggesting that you're not training optimally.
Researchers in Inzai City, Japan, took eight untrained males and trained their biceps twice a week with preacher curls at 80% of their one rep max. One group performed one working set per workout, while the other performed three working sets.
After the 12 weeks, the group with the higher training volume gained more size and strength than the single set group. The single-set group improved their bicep strength by around 20%, while the three-set group improved theirs by 31%. In addition, the single-set group increased their biceps muscle mass by around 8%, while the three-set group improved theirs by around 13%.
While this study only measured the biceps and only untrained subjects, it gives you an idea of the difference in muscle activation, damage and subsequent growth between training for one set or three sets per exercise.
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