What should I eat post workout?
This is a golden question that often gets overlooked or inappropriately applied when trying to increase performance in sport or in the gym. The first thing people reach for when they think about increasing their gym output is pre-workout. I get it, I am no stranger to the effects of a good pre-workout. The rush is immediate and I can feel it working. That gentle tingle of the beta alanine on my face, the stimulating energy rush pushing me into my workout. In this age of instant gratification, I am completely aware of why pre-workouts are popular, but the more important performance window is after your workout. We are going to take a look at why post-workout nutrition is the single most effective thing you can be doing to increase results. We will also look at current post-workout trends, and finally what is the ideal post-workout meal. If you want to get more out of your time in the gym, then read on.
Post workout nutrition could possibly be the missing link in your program that could skyrocket your results. Before we dive into that, we must first understand what the body is doing during your workout and what it needs after.
When you load up your body doing multiple movements for time or are moving around barbells and dumbbells it is heavily taxing on the glycolytic energy pathways, meaning that you rely on glucose for fuel. Your body is burning through this glucose that you have in your bloodstream and in your muscles while you are cranking out a pushups, sit-ups, and squats for time or pushing out a heavy back squat for sets of 10. As the intensity or duration increases, you deplete more of this glucose reserve. Think of this like the gasoline in your car, the more or faster you drive the more gas you burn, same concept.
Depletion of glucose isn’t the only magic that’s happening during an intense workout. Your body is under physical stress causing the muscles to break down tissue. This break down of tissue is a normal function of resistance training and essential to getting stronger and bigger. Without this process, the body would not grow and adapt to the increased stress of training. Look at it this way, where the glucose is the fuel of the car, protein is the engine. The harder you drive the car the more wear on the engine, so you have to replace worn parts with bigger and better parts.
Ok now that we know what’s happening where does post workout nutrition come in?
After a good workout, your body is super revved up and receptive to growth. Directly after a workout your body is craving glucose to replace the fuel, and needs protein to repair and build muscle tissue. You may have heard this being called the “anabolic window”. Now, it is always very important to get a quality protein and carb source post workout, but the timing isn’t as specific. Regardless of the time, whether it is 30 minutes or 4 hours, whenever you can get it in, you will see the benefits. However, there is evidence that the closer you refuel at the end of your workout and get your body the things it needs, the sooner it can start the recovery and protein synthesis process.
You may be asking, ok so what should my meal look like? Our prescription is simple, eat real food mostly plants and not too much. This is the case and will be true for every other meal of the day. The post-workout situation is a special scenario where speed is the main focus. We want to get our protein and carbs back to our muscles as quickly as possible. Now real food is great but it takes time to digest. We want this in a normal setting but not post workout. You want something that digests quickly and will get to your muscles faster than whole food. This is why you see common post-workout rituals that include whey protein shakes, gummy bears, and fruit.
We recommend the post-workout stack from 1st phormm, Phormula-1 and ignition. Ignition is faster digesting than even table sugar and it will drive into your bloodstream quickly replacing that muscle glucose that was depleted. It also has an electrolyte blend that will replace the ones lost during training. Phormula-1 is a quality whey protein isolate, that has been hydrolyzed to aid in quick digestion. It will speed up the start of protein synthesis, pushing you into an anabolic state where you will be building muscle, burning fat, and recovering.
If you are tired by the end of the week, feeling super sore or just plain want to push your results to the next level. Taking a second look at what your doing post workout could be the golden ticket to feeling better, being less sore, and of course, being bigger, stronger, and faster.
– Cody Ringle