Bodybuilding Secret, Eating Burgers For After Workout Meals?

April 7th 2019

Is a burger a good pre or post-workout meal?

Let’s clear all the doubts and demystify the facts myth behind fast foods and workouts.

Studies have revealed that fast foods, such as hamburgers, can make good supplements in replenishing the body’s glycogen storage after a workout. Glycogen is important for short-term fuel as it can be stored in the muscles.

It may be just as beneficial as any other dietary supplement.

This was based on a study by the University of Montana.

Nutrition in a plain hamburger

According to the USDA, a single patty plain hamburger (86g) contains around 254 calories.

The total amount of fat in a hamburger is 10 grams (15%) of which 3.1 grams are saturated fats.

Polyunsaturated fat makes about 0.2 grams while monounsaturated fat makes up about 3.3g.

There is about 0.5g of trans fat in this plain hamburger.

The cholesterol content in a hamburger is about 28 milligrams.

Hamburger has approximately 1 gram of fiber. Foods with high amounts of fiber have vital health benefits including lowering of high cholesterol levels, improving digestive health, and lowering your risk for type 2 diabetes.

However, it is good to limit the intake of fiber because it can lead to gas formation.

Sodium accounts for about 378 milligrams in hamburgers.

When considering the nutritional content of any food, it is good to pay attention to the levels of sodium.

Legendary bodybuilder and powerlifter Stan Efferding, AKA The White Rhino, discusses in-depth on the importance of sodium in any competitive athlete’s diet.

Sodium helps to maintain a proper balance of fluids in and out of the cells in the body.

Sodium also helps your muscles contract, improve hydration, and increase your endurance.

Carbohydrates are other essential nutrients and make up a total of 29 grams (9%) in a hamburger.

Hamburger also contains protein which is approximately 13 grams. Protein is essential for bodybuilders and athletes alike.

Comparison with McDonald’s Hamburger

According to the USDA, McDonald’s hamburger contains almost the same amounts of nutrients like McDonald’s Cheeseburger.

One serving of McDonald’s hamburger contains about 250 calories.

The total amount of fat is 10 grams and accounts for 15% of your total intake of fat with 3.3 grams being saturated fat.

McDonald’s hamburger contains 0.4g of trans fat.

Its cholesterol level is about 26 milligrams or 8% of your daily cholesterol intake while sodium is about 469 milligrams.

Carbohydrates make up about 29 grams and dietary fiber is about 1.2 grams.

The protein content is 12 grams.

Comparing the macronutrients with the plain hamburgers, both burgers display very similar nutritional values.

This makes sense since there should not be vast differences between the two burgers.

It is just the beef burger and the buns.

Though the McDonald’s hamburger does have 100mg, which is about 0.25g of salt.

This is less than a quarter of a pinch of salt, which is equivalent to 1g of salt.

Burger after workout bodybuilding exercise

Hamburger can make a great post-workout meal. Burgers help in promoting muscle recovery after engaging in a serious workout.

During the exercises, muscles experience tiny tears which are normal for all strength training workouts.

For the body to repair these tears and become stronger, you need to fuel it with the right nutrients.

Protein is the major nutrient that is critical for the growth and repair of worn out muscles.

Fats are also essential for this process as well as cell function.

Hamburgers promote glycogen re-synthesis in the body.

After a serious exercise, glycogen levels in the muscles get depleted.

Glycogen is stored glucose or sugar and the body relies on it for energy production.

After a workout, it is recommended to find essential nutrients such as carbs and protein as they make the best fueling nutrients.

The effectiveness of the recovery period can be influenced by proper timing of the amounts of macronutrients.

With this in mind, it is important to point out that burgers are great in moderation.

Part of the reason why fast food gets a bad reputation in the bodybuilding community is because of the huge qualities.

Unless you bring a food scale, it can get difficult to calculate exactly how much you are eating.

It is very easy to overeat, especially since bodybuilders are trying to track how much calories they are consuming.

This makes the process a double-edged sword.

On one hand, you have quick and easy access to food.

On the flip side, the food comes in large quantities that will likely cause you to overeat if you are not aware.

What makes a good pre-workout meal?

Proteins and carbohydrates combined make a fantastic pre-workout meal or snack.

Foods high in fat take longer to digest and are not recommended for pre-workout meals.

Before engaging in any workout plan, it is vital to understand what your body needs.

Pre-workout meals should be eaten between thirty minutes to three hours before the actual exercise.

By including the right foods in your pre-workout diet, you can gain lots of benefits as well as increase your chances of having an awesome workout.

When creating the best pre-workout meal, first understand your digestion for various foods.

This narrows down to timing.

Although it takes up to 6-8 hours for foods to be absorbed fully into the body, it doesn’t mean that you should wait all that time for the food to be absorbed fully so that you begin your workout.

Breakdown of pre-workout diet

• Fat

Dietary fat takes longer to digest.

Generally, digestion for dietary fat can take somewhere between six to eight hours.

It implies your pre-workout diet should contain relatively low-fat content.

Excessively fatty and oily meats are not recommended.

• Carbohydrates

Eat the right types of carbs. Experts say you should eat foods with low glycemic index (55 or less) as they provide a steady flow of energy during the workout.

The glycemic index is a number ranging from 0-100.

A number more than 55 is considered high glycemic index and you should avoid them when going out for an intense workout.

High GI foods are quickly absorbed into the blood thus leading to a sudden rise in insulin level.

Although it may cause a quick rise in energy, it is followed by a sudden drop of the same.

It often leaves you feeling weak and very tired.

• Proteins

This should make the first component of your pre-workout meal.

Consuming a sufficient amount of proteins helps to eliminate the breakdown of muscles by putting the body in an anabolic condition.

A common recommendation is to include 20-40 grams of proteins in any pre-workout meal.

Benefits of pre-workout meals

  • It provides you with additional energy to go through your workout
  • It helps to prevent the breakdown of an already hard-earned muscle. You don’t want to lose the muscle you’ve already gained by improving energy recovery and repair.
  • Improve muscle growth. This is achieved by eating enough proteins. It slowly releases amino acids that help to promote protein synthesis.

What makes a good post-workout meal?

Post-workout diet is as crucial as pre-workout foods.

To optimize your strength training results, you need to check on what you eat after a grueling workout.

The diet should include essential foods that help to repair worn out tissues and replace lost energy.

But for you to understand what your body needs after a workout, it is essential to know how it is affected by the workout first.

When working out, the muscles use stored glycogen for the production of energy.

This leads to partial depletion of muscle glycogen. In the process, some proteins in the muscles are also broken down and others get damaged.

After the workout, the body tries to restore the glycogen, regrow and repair the worn-out muscles.

Your post-workout diet should, therefore, include foods such as:


Hamburgers contain some amount of proteins; this is ideal for a perfect bodybuilding post workout BBQ or meal.

Make it a double or triple cheeseburger and you are set.

By eating a sufficient amount of proteins, your body gets the required levels of amino acids required for the rebuilding and repair of broken and damaged muscles.

The recommended amount of proteins to take after a workout is about 1g/pound of your body weight.

Another metric people can follow is to take about 1g of protein/ kg of your body weight.

While nutritional timing does have a role in your recovery rate, if you are not doing the bigger things right, your priorities need to be fixed.

Making sure you eat a balanced diet, with plenty of protein and carbs, is the most important post-workout strategy.

An advanced strategy would be to consume your protein right after your workout.

• Fats

Hamburgers contain some amount of fat, which makes it a good candidate for a post-workout meal for any bodybuilder.

Although fats may reduce the rate of digestion and nutrient absorption, it doesn’t impact on their benefits.

For instance, consuming whole milk is more beneficial and effective in promoting muscle regrowth than taking skim milk after a workout.

Besides, a study showed that ingesting food with high-fat content doesn’t affect glycogen synthesis in the muscles.

Although it is good to limit fat intake, it doesn’t affect the muscle recovery process.

Fats help to transport essential vitamins and other nutrients to where they are needed.

• Carbohydrates

Hamburgers contain moderate amounts of carbs which makes them ideal for post-workout recovery.

Consuming carbs after a workout promotes glycogen replenishment.

The rate of glycogen storage varies depending on the type of activity you engage in.

Endurance training requires more glycogen to be replenished compared to resistance trainers.

Therefore, as a bodybuilder, you should consume moderate amounts of carbohydrates.

Studies have shown that when carbs and proteins are consumed together, it stimulates the production of insulin which is essential in glycogen synthesis.

A 1:3 protein-carb ratio is recommended but it varies depending on the athlete.

Fiber is not as recommended because too much of it can lead to bloating.

You can eat it in moderate amounts and try to spread it throughout the day.

They are slow to digest and can remain for a long time in your digestion system.

Benefits of eating a balanced post-workout diet

  • It helps to reduce and eliminate muscle breakdown.
  • Enhances recovery process
  • Restores glycogen storage
  • Increases the synthesis of protein for muscle growth.

Bottom Line

Hamburgers are packed with moderate or balanced amounts of fats, carbohydrates, calories, sodium, and proteins which are all essential for post-workout recovery.

Burgers are essential in promoting the recovery of broken and damaged tissues thus reducing the loss of already built muscles.

It also refills glycogen stores and makes you satisfied.

This is why experts recommend it as a good post-workout meal in moderate quantities.  

Tags Recovery

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