What Should I Have Post-Workout? - The Muscle PhD

What Should I Have Post-Workout?

So you’ve just finished your workout. You’ve trained hard, and you’re feeling exhausted, yet that high you probably have is to die for, but you keep asking yourself: what’s next?

Should you let your body do its thing by itself? Or should you try to interfere in the muscle recovery process? If you’re trying to maximize your gains but aren’t quite sure about what you should be doing after your workout, read further.

In our “What Should You Have in Your Pre-workout” video, we talked about how you can perfectly prepare your body for your workouts. Well, just like you were able to optimize your workout gain through your pre-workout, you’ll need to maximize your protein synthesis window through your post-workout.

You also need to make sure that your muscles are repaired, and in a way that will let your body shuttle in nutrients through them. That’s why planning your post-workout intake is such a big deal.

The question is, should it be a post-workout meal, or a shake? Well, we recommend going with a shake, and we have a good reason to!

Allowing Your Body to Focus

Whey protein is good for post-workout

A lot of people will tell you having a small high-protein snack will do wonders for your body, but we wouldn’t recommend eating something so soon after your workout. While it is true that both a shake and a meal are anabolic, a shake will help your body much more.

While your muscles are being repaired, having a meal, which diverts a large amount of blood to your digestive track, will actually hinder your protein synthesis process, if by a small margin.

Keep in mind that if you’re well-trained, your window of elevated protein synthesis becomes shorter and shorter after your workout. So you need something that’s easily digested and will allow your body to focus more on repairing your muscles during this short period.

How Your Post-Workout Should Look 

Assuming you’re well-trained, you’re going to need to capitalize on that very short window where your body is in an elevated protein synthesis state. So we recommend having a fast digestive source of protein like whey protein.

You could look into hydrolyzed whey protein instead, if you’re trying to expedite the digestive process even more. We recommend having 40g of whey protein, with a minimum of 20g for smaller individuals.

Stack that shake with creatine, since it can help shuttle nutrients into your muscle, and you should also add a nutrient such as HMB in order to help with muscle recovery. Once you have that post-workout shake, your body will have all it needs to maximize your gains during that small protein synthesis window.

After two hours of working out, it’s safe to have a meal. However, keep in mind that when you do eat your post-workout meal, it needs to be a well-balanced meal like chicken, vegetables, or maybe a salad. Make sure that it’s nutrient dense.

Carbs and Insulin

Studies have shown that insulin helps maximize your protein synthesis process at low levels. However, if you’re asking about whether it’s a good idea to have a lot of carbohydrates post-workout, our answer would probably be, “it depends.”

If you’re on a low-carb diet, then you should actually aim to have your carbs around your workouts, instead of before or after. That’s because you’re working with a limited amount of carbs, and your glycogen is hard to replenish.

High-protein nutrition-dense post-workout meal

However, studies show that if you consume your carbs around a workout, that will replenish your muscle’s carbohydrate stores without a problem!

Well, what if you’re on a modified Atkins diet? Or a ketogenic diet? Well, you’re going to be obviously eating a minuscule amount of carbs in order to stay in that ketosis state, and your body is primarily consuming fat in order to supply you with energy. However, that doesn’t mean that you should add a high-fat shake with your whey protein, that’s simply a recipe for disaster.

That’s because fat is known to slow down your digestion, which is contrary to what we’re trying to do. Instead, we recommend getting around it by having exogenous ketones combined with that whey protein. This will spare the proteins in your body and guide them towards the muscle-building process, and give you energy to recover to boot!

We hope you were able to accurately determine what type of post-workout shake you should make in order to maximize those gains, we’ll see you the next time you have any problems!

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