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I'm currently on the Abs diet, and am also trying to gain lean muscle for the start of my basketball season. I have basketball practice from 9pm - 10pm, and at the moment we're just playing a full game so it's a pretty intense workout.

My problem is that on the Abs diet they suggest that you have a protein shake or some cold cuts (turkey/chicken), but I feel like this isn't enough to re-fuel my body after such a hard workout.

I also feel like I can't take in enough water before going to bed (I'm asleep at 11.30pm), and wake up with a really dry mouth (this is another issue though).

So basically, my question is what is the best thing to eat after my workout given that it's so close to going to sleep?

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What to eat

Lots of calories, mostly from protein and carbohydrates.

View this source: http://www.sparkpeople.com/resource/nutrition_articles.asp?id=1082&page=3

Calories. Ideally, try to eat enough calories to equal 50% of the calories you burned during your workout.

[...]

Carbohydrates. Roughly 60% of the calories you eat at this time should come from carbohydrates. Contrary to popular belief, your body needs more carbohydrates than protein after a workout, to replace the muscle fuel (glycogen) you used up and to prepare for your next exercise session. Moderate exercisers need about 30-40 grams of carbohydrates after an hour of exercise, but high-intensity exercisers need more—around 50-60 grams for each hour they exercised.

If you have some favorite high-carb foods that are lacking in the whole grains and fiber that are often recommended as part of a healthy diet, this is a good time to have them! Your body can digest refined carbohydrates faster during your "refueling window," but if you’re a whole foods foodie, don’t force yourself to eat processed foods.

[...]

Protein. While carbs are essential, it’s also important to include some high-quality protein in your post-workout meal or snack. This protein will stop your body from breaking down muscle tissue for energy and initiate the process of rebuilding and repairing your muscles. About 25% of the calories you eat after a workout should come from protein—that's about 10-15 grams for most people.

[...]

Fat. [...] Only 15% (or less) of your post-workout calories should come from fat—that's less than 10 grams.

Chicken is a very good protein provider, and if you do not get enough from this... Maybe you should just have a bigger cut. Get a big salad, but remember to have the calories filled in. Fruit like bananas are very good too.

When to eat

You should eat and fill up the depots shortly after the exercise. The studies have different opinions though. Between 20 min and 60 min after the exercise is told here: http://getfitguy.quickanddirtytips.com/what-to-eat-before-and-after-exercising.aspx
Within the first 15 min. after exercise is told here: http://www.humankinetics.com/excerpts/excerpts/tips-for-eating-right-after-exercise.

I have heard others say between ½ hour and 2 hours after. A rule I have always lived by is to eat a small amount withing the first ½ hour afterwards - just some fruit like an apple and a banana. This is easy enough to handle and comply with. Then the bigger meal can wait a little longer.

It is not a good idea to eat a heavy meal just before going to sleep, but I would in your case prioritize filling up the depots first. That your training is that late is just a shame.

About the drinking problem:

My own experince:
The body either desperately needs and strives for water in wild thirst! Or it seems dry but still won't feel thirsty and you are not able to drink that much.

The solution that always works for me is to "force" water inside the unwilling body. That is take a drink of water (a quater of a litre if possible or maybe just two, three big mouthfulls) every 10 min. after the game. Have a bottle with you anywhere and do this to fill up and compensate for the water loss strechted out over the next hour. You can always take a mouthful of water, thirsty or not, so when you, as now, know that you need the water, but aren't thirsty, then you just have to drink less but more frequently to avoid it being uncomfortable to drink.

In the morning if you still fell the dryness in the mouth and maybe a lack of energy, then do the same. When the alarm wakes you up, then the two first things you should do is: 1) Stop the alarm and 2) take a drink of water. Then continue to take a drink in small portions. If the mornings are stressful or whatever, just remind yourself to drink whenever you go by a sink or faucet.
The water drinking might give you some extra toilet visits but is something you can fell the effect of a few hours later.

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+1 for a great answer, thanks –  Jaitsu Aug 20 '11 at 9:24
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