When it comes to our bodies, it’s probably safe to say that the majority of us simply are not blessed with god-like genetics which allow us to build muscle mass and burn body fat at the drop of a hat. If we’re truly serious about improving our bodies, we need to hit the gym hard and work our butts off. Whether we’re looking at bulking up by increasing our muscle mass, get lean by burning body fat, or even combining the two in order to burn fat and build lean muscle simultaneously, one thing’s for certain, and that is that if we don’t work hard, we won’t see the results that we should be seeing. Training in the gym is all well and good, but in order to truly see fantastic results, we need to ensure that our diets are right on point as well. Building muscle is a combination of around 30% exercise, and 70% nutrition, so the next time somebody tells you that diet doesn’t matter as long as you’re lifting weights, politely tell them to keep their opinion to themselves. Post-workout nutrition is especially important, as this is when our muscles are most primed in order to absorb maximum levels of nutrients necessary for adequate growth and repair via protein synthesis. For that reason, if you get your post-workout shake just right, you will soon see the results you may have been hoping to see.
Choose the right protein – As there are now so many different types of protein on the market, knowing which one will best work for you is absolutely vital if you want to achieve maximum results. Never choose a slow releasing/slow digesting protein such as soy or casein as the idea behind post-workout nutrition is to flood your muscles with nutrients during the “anabolic window” which is when they’re primed for maximum absorption. Whey protein concentrate is perfectly adequate, and isolate is even better as whey protein is fast digesting and quickly absorbed. Choose a good quality brand that has been tried and tested if possible.
Always use water – Some people make the mistake of using milk with their post-workout shakes because it tastes better, and they think it increases the protein content. You shouldn’t need to increase protein content in a protein shake, and if you can’t handle the taste then that’s unfortunately too bad. The reason why you shouldn’t use milk is because due to the lactose and it’s structure, it is slower to be digested and absorbed than water, which is not what you want.
Include a carbohydrate source – Dextrose is absolutely ideal in post-workout shakes, and before you call us crazy, just hear us out. Yes, dextrose is a sugar and yes, sugar is bad. The reason why you want to include it in your shake however, is to create an insulin spike. An insulin spike helps to drive even more nutrients into your already primed muscle cells, increasing the amount of nutrients the cells in your muscles can absorb. The more they can absorb, the quicker and more efficiently they’ll be able to grow and repair.