When it comes to getting fit, one of the most important meals you eat is the one after your workout. From the moment you finish your last set, you have about an hour to feed your starving muscles the nutrients they need to recover and rebuild. Feed your muscles right to see hard-earned results faster.

Some of my clients have asked me if they should drink a sports drink. After all, sports drinks are aplenty in the market and almost all claim to have you recover faster. My personal view is for you to ditch the sports drink. If you read the label on the sports drink, you will realize that sports drinks add unnecessary calories that will not help build lean muscles at all. Plus, the sugar level in sports drink is high. Rather, go for a whey protein shake. Mixing whey protein with water gives you a good low-calorie drink that quickly replenishes your body with the amino acids you break down during exercise. 

Whey protein offers the greatest benefits post-workout for two main reasons – faster muscle recovery and easier absorption. Your muscles are like sponges that are primed to take in nutrients at a very rapid pace. Putting those nutrients in liquid form makes the recovery happen that much faster.

There are many brands of whey protein in the market. Besides comparing prices across brands and choosing a flavour of your choice, the most important deciding factor as to which brand to buy eventually should be the contents listed in the label. 

A basic whey protein brand should contain between 23 – 25g of protein in each serving. This is crucial as the average active person requires approximately 1 – 1.5g of protein per pound of lean body weight per day. Protein is after all, the building block for muscle growth as well as helping in the battle against body fat.

After satisfying this first condition, next scrutinize the label to see if the whey protein contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The minimum is 5g of BCAAs. The essential branched chain amino acids (BCAA's) include leucine, isoleucine, and valine are of special importance for athletes because they are metabolized in the muscle. 

Remember, recovery is still key. For best results, drink your whey protein shake within 30 minutes after exercise. Then have a robust balanced meal within two hours.

Happy training!
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Here's some good news to share with everyone! I'm very happy to have made it to the finals of the Watsons YOU Awards 2010 for the Sporty Physique category. 

The annual Watsons YOU Awards seeks to celebrate the uniqueness and individuality of the contestants in 8 different categories. The category that I'm competing in is the Sporty Physique category. The Sporty Physique category Award is given to the person who enjoys exercise and has a good body to make heads turn.

I recall the first qualifying round where all interested parties had to submit two photos - one full body shot and one close up zooming in on the body part we wanted to highlight. Then it was waiting to see if one made the next cut in the audition round.

Fast forward to the audition round...Out of the 12 of us who made it, 5 were chosen to advance to the finals. Now in the finals, as in any other competition, there are rules by which we have to abide.

Unlike the qualifying round where our best bodies were already scrutinised by the panel of judges and the audition round where we were assessed on our personality, the finals is a different kettle of fish. Yes, you have the goods. Yes, you have the personality. Now, do you have the popularity?

The winner of the Sporty Physique Award goes to the person with the highest number of public votes. It is solely determined by public voting which starts from 8 Jul to 21 Jul 2010.

The best thing in this competition is that I'm returning to my roots where it all started for me when I first decided to launch my career in the fitness industry.

If you have been a faithful reader of my blog and like my postings; or admire my courage to transform myself from a scrawny, sickly hermit to a lean, toned, confident individual; or love the work I now do in helping others lead a quality lifestyle in fitness and grooming, then please vote for me.

Here's how to vote for me in 3 simple steps. You can vote once a day for the entire duration of the competition (yes, competition ends on 21 Jul 2010). So do not hesitate, take action now & support me.

Vote for Lionel in 3 Simple Steps!

1. Go to the voting page. 

2. Look for my picture and contestant number 001253. I'm the first guy featured. Click on the Vote button below my picture.

3. Fill up your details - in particular your name, email and contact number. Then copy the text verification into the box. Thereafter, click on the vote button.

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By supporting me, here's what you stand to win too should I win. The lucky voter will win fabulous product hampers worth $100 each.

As the saying goes, every vote counts. Your votes are greatly appreciated. Remember to spread the word too. Thanks everybody! 

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