Usually your body uses glycogen for its energy needs but when this is energy source runs out it turns to your body’s fat for energy. When the fat is burned off the body turns to your muscle for energy. This happens quickly for hard gainers or those with fast metabolisms (skinny guys). The advice below will help keep your body out of a catabolic state and in an anabolic state.
Catabolism is the breakdown of muscle tissue to produce energy. This is something you want to avoid at all costs when trying to build muscle. It is already difficult enough to build muscle as it is so why let your hard earned muscle tissue get eaten away?
The opposite of catabolism is anabolism, the state in which your body is building muscle. This is the what you want and you should try to keep your body in this state as much as possible.
When trying to build muscle you need to eat often. Try to eat 5-6 small meals a day spaced 2.5 to 3 hrs apart so that you always have enough energy to fulfill your body’s needs while also keeping your body from going into a catabolic state.
Consume large amounts of complex carbs such as oatmeal, whole wheat bread and brown rice that are low on the glycemic index. Low glycemic complex carbs ensure that you always have enough energy over longer periods of time after eating them. Healthy fats such as those found in all kinds of nuts are also a good choice and a good source of energy.
The best way to avoid overtraining is by limiting your workouts to 45 minutes or less (this does not include for warm-up and stretching). When you train for more than 45 minutes a hormone known as cortisol is secreted by your adrenal glands.
What you should know is Cortisol is the hormone that triggers the breakdown of muscle tissue for energy. YOU DON’T WANT THIS IF YOU ARE BUILDING MUSCLE!!!Since weight training burns through your stored glycogen in your muscles quickly this requires the production of cortisol.
Eating a small pre-workout meal can delay the onset of catabolism during your workout. My favorite pre-workout meal is a whey protein shake with a banana. Fruits contain fructose, which gets absorbed into the bloodstream quickly, providing a ready source of energy.
It is extremely important to have a post workout meal as soon as you can upon finishing your workout. This required because you need to replenish your energy stores and to avoid your body from breaking down muscle tissue for energy.
Preferably you should have this meal within half an hour and it should contain foods that are digested quickly such as a whey protein shake and fruit. I should add that post workout is the ONLY time when it is ok to consume high glycemic foods such as potatoes and white bread.