Because of lifestyle, kids, work, etc. my weight training during the week is done late at night (around 9.30 or 10.00 PM). By that time I’ve had breakfast, lunch, dinner (around 500 cal each) and two snacks (around 100-200 cal each).
I understand the right meal/snack after weight training is critical to building muscle. What should I eat after weight training? Should I reduce the calories or one of my other meals/snacks? My overall goal is to become leaner and build some muscle.
First, I want to commend you for not using the common excuse that you don’t have time to workout. Many people come home after work, sit on the couch and overeat the entire night instead of exercising. So awesome job keeping your priorities straight, focusing on your health and making the time to fit it in.
I can’t say whether or not you should reduce calories because you haven’t given me some important numbers; weight, body-fat, age, or what kind of training you do. I can say that your calorie count sounds a little low, with a high day for you being 2,100 calories. If you’re an average male, and working out fairly hard, that’s a bit low in my opinion. But without knowing the basic information, I’d just be throwing darts in the dark. But what I can do is give you some facts and guidelines that’ll help you create a nutrition plan that works for you.
I would suggest adding a hundred or so calories in per day for two weeks at a time and see if there’s any changes in your weight, strength and body-fat. The biggest mistake people make when trying to lose weight is that they don’t establish a baseline, or know what their daily calorie requirements are. It takes a little time, but by adding or subtracting small amounts of calories on a daily basis for two weeks, then checking the scale AND their body-fat percentage, a person can get a fairly good idea of what they require. From that point you can then make calorie adjustments to gain, lose, or maintain your weight. It’s not exact and there are other variables like activity level, age, genetics, possible medications, and gender, but it’s a great place to start.
Exercise is trauma, and your body is screaming for nutrients to facilitate the repair, recovery and regrowth process when your workout is over. Even though you work out late at night, I would suggest a high quality protein shake like Monster Milk right after you finish. Why? Because it’s a quality liquid protein, fortified with key amino acids, lean fats, and some other great muscle building ingredients that assimilates and digests much quicker than whole foods. It’s like getting a jump-start on building muscle. Plus, the idea of chomping down on a chicken breast at 11pm just before bed isn’t particularly appealing.
I know some people will disagree with my shake recommendation, or taking in calories right before bed. This is where the bodybuilder and real world experience that I always speak of comes into play. What’s the options – for you to not eat anything after a hard workout because of the time of day? That’s ridiculous, your body isn’t aware of day or night nor does it care. What it does know is that you just beat it up and it needs nutrition to heal itself, and the quicker the better. In fact right after a workout, you can eat more calories then a normal meal due to your body’s super sensitivity to uptake nutrients. If you put the effort and calories out during training, you have to replace them.
Eating whole foods all the time, every day just isn’t practical for most people trying to ingest 5-6 healthy feedings throughout the day. Shakes are a great way to ensure you get great nutrition and keep your diet in check. I know you’ll go to bed shortly after you drink it and that’s okay too. I’m not a huge fan of going 12 hours without food between dinner and breakfast. Taking in protein and other muscle sparing nutrients right before bed is a classic bodybuilder trick to stay in an “anabolic” or fed state, rather than a “catabolic” (muscle wasting) starved state while you sleep. Heck, for years I used to sleep with a shake next to my bed and wake up at 3 am to drink it! The truth is, if you need the calories then you won’t gain body-fat no matter what time of day you eat.
I wouldn’t cut any of your calories, but I would suggest making four or 5 meals per day around the same amount, rather than your current 3x 500 calories, and 2 snacks at 1-200. I’d shoot for 4-5 meals around 350 – 400 calories, and I’d drink a shake right after the workout. Try it out and let me know how it goes!
Let me know how it goes and if any of you out there would like to book a more in-depth consultation with me – just drop me a line via the How To Book button in the sidebar.
And if you have a question – please just click here. I’d love to help you!
All information contained within this site, Angry Trainer Fitness.com, is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any health problem – nor is it intended to replace the advice of a physician. No action should be taken solely on the contents of this website. Always consult your physician or qualified health professional on any matters regarding your health or on any opinions expressed within this website. Please see your physician before changing your diet, starting an exercise program, or taking any supplements of any kind.