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...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,523
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,168
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,267,361
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,450,145
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,117,693
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 895,904
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,217
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

Cookout Commandments: What to Eat (and Avoid) at Your Summer BBQ

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

5 Foods That Are Stunningly High in Sodium

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

7 Foods That Are Ruining Your Workouts

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

Healthy Eating at Restaurants: Decoding a Diner Menu

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

5 Simple Food Swaps That Make Eating Out Healthier

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

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

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

5 Delicious Ways to Make Junk Food Less Junky

The Boston Cannons' ‘Keep It Real’ Eating Plan

The Boston Cannons' 'Keep It Real' Eating Plan

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

Vegetarian Athlete Tips: Olympic Swimmer Kate Ziegler

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

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

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

How to Eat Healthy at a Dingy Sports Bar

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

Binge Eating Disorder and Athletes

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

How Friends and Family Affect Your Food Choices

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

5 'Good Foods' That Might Be Bad for You

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

You Should Eat the Peel of These 12 Fruits and Vegetables

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

9 Athlete-Approved Peanut Butter Sandwiches

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

6 Eating Mistakes That Undo Your Workouts

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

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

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

Healthy Makeovers for 3 Classic Meals

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

9 Foods to Eat When You Want to Lose Fat

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

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

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

3 Fruits and 3 Vegetables Athletes Must Eat

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

5 Healthy Foods That Got a Bad Rap

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Why You Should Say No to Diet Foods

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

Load Up on These Foods at Your Backyard Barbecue

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

The Best Foods for Digestive Health

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

Are You Eating Too Much Protein?

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

How Marc Gasol Got Better by Overhauling His Diet

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

The Healthiest (And Unhealthiest) Ways to Eat Chicken

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

5 Protein-Packed Recovery Shakes

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Terrible Toppings: The 5 Worst Things We Put on Food

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

Registered Dietitians Reveal Their Favorite Ways to Eat Fruit

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

10 Athlete-Approved High-Protein Cereals

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

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

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

4 'Bad Foods' That Might be Good for You

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

What to Eat If You Hate Bananas

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

5 Ways Junk Food Can Mess With Your Head

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

11 Food Services That Deliver Ready-Made Nutritious Meals

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

6 Healthy Foods You're Overeating

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Where the Paleo Diet Falls Short

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

Fuel Up Fast With 4 Smoothies From the New York Giants

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

How Undereating Can Make You Gain Weight

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Salad Showdown: Which Greens Are the Healthiest?

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

Healthy (and Unhealthy) BBQ Ideas For Athletes

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

12 Foods Every Athlete Should Eat

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

The Grain Guide: How and Why to Use 8 Healthy Whole Grains

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

A Sneaky Food Additive Athletes Should Avoid

YardBarker