What to Eat to Get Bigger, Faster and Stronger | STACK
X

Become a Better Athlete. Sign Up for our FREE Newsletter.

What to Eat to Get Bigger, Faster and Stronger

December 12, 2012 | G.R. Hoff

Must See Nutrition Videos

Athletes search long and hard to improve their chances of emerging from competition victorious. From intense weight sessions, new speed drills, and conditioning workouts to looking for weaknesses on game film, you come to STACK because you want to get better. When it comes to getting the biggest "bang for your buck" effort-wise, sometimes simplicity is the key. So what's a simple change you can make to maximize your training gains on the field.

Following a hard training session, your body is primed to absorb nutrients (think protein and carbohydrates) to help start the recovery and rebuilding process. First, the body has depleted glycogen stores and is essentially "starving" for good carbohydrates. Second, the body goes into a growth-oriented hormonal state—meaning it is primed to take in protein to start the muscle growing process. Long story short, you maximize your results by eating a perfectly balanced meal following a workout based on these elements. (See A Step-by-Step Guide To Workout Recovery).

Don't waste this opportunity, and don't make the same mistakes some athletes do by eating something nutritionally "worthless"—or by not eating at all. The two major components of your high performance body "super fuel" are:

1. Easily digestible carbohydrates: I recommend dextrose for post-workout shakes (see my favorite post-workout shake recipe here) and sweet potatoes in a real meal post-workout.

2. Lean protein: I prefer whey protein for shakes and chicken breast, chicken tenderloin or lean game meat (like venison) for meals. I avoid fatty cuts of meat post-workout, because of fat's effects on insulin and speed of nutrient absorption.

If you can, I recommend doubling down during this all-important window: have both a nutritionally sound post- workout shake immediately after a workout, and have a later post-workout meal, with healthy whole foods, anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour after your session.

Perfect Post-Workout Meal 

  • Workout shake
  • 1 to 1-1/2 large sweet potatoes (no butter, but you can add cinnamon and a dash of coconut or MCT oil)
  • Six to 10 ounces of boneless skinless chicken breast or other lean meat of your choice
G.R. Hoff
- G.R. Hoff is the owner and head sports performance coach at Dungeon Strength & Conditioning in Shoreview, Minn. He specializes in helping young athletes using...
G.R. Hoff
- G.R. Hoff is the owner and head sports performance coach at Dungeon Strength & Conditioning in Shoreview, Minn. He specializes in helping young athletes using...
More Cool Stuff You'll Like

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

As nutritionists, we learned in Nutrition 101 that unsaturated fats are the "good" fats whereas saturated fats are the "bad" ones. For years we were...

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

10 Easy Ways to Eat Real Food

10 Athlete-Approved, High-Protein Healthy Cereals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

3 Nutrition Mistakes Endurance Athletes Make and How to Fix Them

The Cheat Meal Day: Why It's Not So Smart

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

Spice Up Your Healthy Cooking With These Lively Combos

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

The Boston Cannons'

Living Near Fast Food Could Increase Your Odds of Obesity

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

Brown Rice vs. White Rice: Does It Really Matter?

5 'Healthy' Side Dishes That Are Worse Than French Fries

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

5 Non-Boring Ways To Eat Chicken

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

How to Deal With Your Sugar Cravings

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

How to Eat Organic Without Breaking the Bank

5 Ways to Fuel Your Early Morning Workout

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

Small Change, Big Difference: 5 Foods You Should Buy Organic

The 6 Worst Foods for Athletes

5 Nutritional Power Combos for Athletes

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Diet Changes: 5 Tips to Help You Stick to Your Plan

Why You Need Dietary Fiber

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

The Case for Red Meat

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Tips for Healthy Weight Gain

STUDY: Eat More Fruits and Veggies, Live (Almost) Forever

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts