Through this series, we have learned how to nail our pre-workout nutrition and supplementation. Plus, we have our intra-workout supplementation dialed in. In this article, we will cover our post-workout supplementation and nutrition as well.
The Goal Of Post-Workout Supplementation & Nutrition
Our goal post-workout is simple: consume macronutrients in effective amounts to restore the glycogen you used for energy, repair broken-down muscle tissue, and stimulate protein synthesis.
Replenish Glycogen Used During Your Workout
While you go through your intense workout, your muscles are using glycogen to provide energy in the form of ATP. As your muscles use glycogen, its stores are depleted. The amount that’s depleted is based on how long and how hard you train. Studies suggest that as much as 40 percent of your total glycogen stores can be depleted in a single training session. Restoring glycogen now guarantees you have enough glycogen for your next workout.(1)
Of course, the best way to replenish glycogen stores is by using Real Carbs immediately post-workout. Make sure you add some simple carbohydrates to your shake, like 1-2 bananas and/or other fruit. This gives you an insulin spike right at the time you need it.
Why is insulin important?
Insulin, one of the body’s primary anabolic hormones, controls blood sugar by transporting nutrients to your muscles. Insulin spikes during any other time of the day can lead to unwanted fat storage. However, an insulin spike post-workout kick-starts recovery and, ultimately, growth.
So, how many carbs should you take in after a workout?
Just like you took in about 100 grams (if you’re a bodybuilder weighing 200lbs) with your pre-workout meal, you’ll want to do the same post-workout. That means you should have 1-2 servings of Real Carbs, and then have the rest a little later with your post-workout meal. As a point of reference, 1 serving of Real Carbs provides 22g. Add a banana, and you have 22 more.
Repair Muscle Tissue
When you work out hard, you cause microtrauma, or small tears, to your muscles. These tears cause your muscles to feel sore the next few days after your workout. You see increases in strength and size when your body repairs these tears.
To this end, the most important supplement to take post-workout is a quality protein powder. Of course, that means Shake Time, which has 26g of protein per serving. Another option would be Real Carbs + Protein, which gives you 30g carbs and 21g protein.
Stimulating Protein Synthesis
Probably the most important thing post-workout is stimulating protein synthesis. This happens when the signaling protein mTOR signals protein synthesis to take place. mTOR is activated by several factors, such as amino acids (primarily leucine), insulin, and exercise.(2)
We’ve already taken care of exercise and insulin. What’s the best way to get the optimal dose of amino acids? You have a couple of options. You can depend on the amino acids in Shake Time (or Real Carbs + Protein). Another way is to add a serving of All Day You May to your post-workout shake. This gives you 6g of BCAAs in a leucine-dominant ratio of 10:1:1.
It also gives you glutamine as part of our Conditionally Essential Amino Acid Blend. You have the option of adding Core L-Glutamine 5000 to your shake along with All Day You May. Glutamine supports recovery, helps repair muscle tissue, and supports protein synthesis. It’s also the main carrier of nitrogen to the muscles. Nitrogen, a component of protein, helps the body stay in an anabolic state, which is critical for recovery and growth to take place.
A point to be made here is that some “experts” suggest skipping the post-workout shake completely. Instead, they tell you to wait 45 minutes or longer after your workout to consume any food or shakes. Really? Rich didn’t wait! He had his shake before he left the gym, usually within minutes of his last set. If you’re like most people, you’re tired and hungry after you train. Why would you wait to get in some much-needed calories? Take in your macros right away.
The Post-Workout Meal
Within 1 1/2 - 2 hours of having your shake, sit down to a whole food meal consisting of quality protein and quality complex carbohydrates. At this point, you don’t really need any more simple carbs. With this meal, think in terms of 30-50g of protein, based on your daily protein requirements. What about carbs? If you’re consuming around 100g of carbs post-workout, and you’ve had roughly half of that in your shake, you can go up to 45-50g of carbs now.
Now you have a complete look at 5% Nutrition pre, intra, and post-workout supplementation and nutrition. The combination of all aspects of supplementation and nutrition in the hours surrounding the workout will lead to complete recovery, more growth, and increased strength. That’s what it’s all about!
- Robergs, R. A., Pearson, D. R., Costill, D. L., Fink, W. J., Pascoe, D. D., Benedict, M. A., & Zachweija, J. J. (1991). Muscle glycogenolysis during differing intensities of weight-resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 70(4), 1700-1706.
- Wang, X., & Proud, C. G. (2006). The mTOR pathway in the control of protein synthesis. Physiology, 21(5), 362-369.