As a personal trainer, I receive a lot of questions from my clients in regards to post-workout recovery. After all, the workout is just a stimulus for the body to change, the recovery and the subsequent meals and rest are what allows your body to adapt recover and change. So what is the ideal nutrition post-workout to speed up that recovery process? And is there such a thing as the anabolic window?
When we perform a workout, especially a resistance training workout, we break down our muscles and cause little micro-tears within the muscles. In order for those muscle tears to recover regroup and strengthen, it’s very important to get the proper nutrition to speed up the process. So what is the ideal post-workout recovery meal? After working out, our bodies are craving protein and carbohydrate for a couple reasons. The protein is going to help to build, maintain, and repair the broken down muscle tissue from the subsequent exercise. The carbohydrate is going to replenish glycogen supplies within the muscle and thus aid in recuperation as well. That is all well and dandy so what do we do have a steak and some potato chips or something? Absolutely not and here’s the reason.
When you are working out, blood is being sent to the working muscles in order to perform the exercise. However, when your body is trying to digest, blood is also needed in the digestive system in order to break down the solid food into a liquid form that can be absorbed. Additionally, the goal of the post-workout recovery meal is to get protein and carbohydrate to the muscles as fast as humanly possible. In order to do this, the best option in my opinion and many others is to consume a post workout meal in liquid form. It has been well documented that the best protein shake to have in liquid form is whey protein. Whey protein has the best ratio of amino acids and contains the most leucine isoleucine and valine which are the branched chain amino acids.
Additionally, we need to make sure we add some carbohydrate. You could do this in many forms. You could use a dextrose solution or some sort of carbohydrate solution PowerAde Gatorade Etc. or whatever you feel is best. It is my belief that there is such thing as the anabolic window which by definition means that your body post-workout is in an anabolic state in which it can incorporate those nutrients at a quicker rate.
So in summation, the post workout meal is very important in that we are needing to deliver protein and carbohydrate to those working muscles. Also, it should be of consideration that the post workout meal should be in a liquid form rather than a solid.
I hope this article is helpful and if you have any questions always feel free to reach out to us at Every body’s personal trainer.