Replenish Your Depleted Body
All of the energy that you have exerted during a workout can be tough on your body and it needs recovery! You have a short time frame once you have completed a workout to replenish all of the nutrients you just burned. So, if you are not sure what to drink after a workout, I am going to try and give you some ideas on a good post-workout drink.
Not too long ago, I wrote an article about a few of the Best Pre Supplements available and how they can help your performance while your are actually working out. Now we are going to flip the script a little and discuss what kind of supplements are available from a post-workout perspective.
What is a Post-Workout Supplement?
As the name suggests, a post-workout supplement is one that is taken shortly after you have completed your workout for the day. The timing of the post-workout drink is pretty important. The longer you wait to replenish your body, the longer it is going to take to recover and the muscles that you have worked to exhaustion aren’t going to benefit as much otherwise.
There are really two types of post-workout supplements; those designed to simply replenish the nutrients burned during your workout and those that are intended to help promote muscle growth and strength. Though, that’s not to say you can’t have both. There are some that will refuel your body and perhaps prevent some muscle soreness, but not actively promote muscle growth, while others are meant to really jump start the muscle building process.
Here is a list of things to look for in a post-workout supplement. Now, it doesn’t have to contain EVERY ONE of these, but it should contain the majority to be effective.
- Protein – available in many forms, but whey protein isolates best suited for post-workout.
- Creatine – naturally produced in the human body from amino acids primarily in the kidney and liver. It is transported in the blood for use by muscles.
- Glutamine – also known as L-Glutamine is a vital amino acid found in the body and is critical for body muscle regeneration.
- Carbohydrates – again available in many forms, but high glycemic carbs are what you want. Something natural such as honey or maple syrup. Maltodextrin and dextrose are very popular,
- BCAA – Also known as Branched chain amino acids. They help maintain muscle tissue, also help the body stay anabolic.
Why A Post-Workout Supplement?
You “should” be thoroughly exhausted after a workout! If not, go back and do it again! Your body and all its muscles are now seriously depleted of glycogen and tiny, microscopic tears in those muscles have been made. You need to get your glycogen levels back up and quickly! One of the best way to do that is with high glycemic carbs such as honey, maltodextrin and dextrose.
The goal of proper post-workout nutrition is to quickly and efficiently refuel the muscles and then provide them with the raw materials they need to rebuild themselves to be bigger and stronger.
Proteins found in supplements such as whey protein or plant-based protein help as well to repair the damaged muscle tissue and replace that depleted glycogen. Many of the better whey protein products on the market will include some of the high glycemic carbs mentioned above, but probably not at the levels you need post-workout.
The first 1/2 hour to 1 hour following your workout is when your body is best suited to receive all of the nutrients and vitamins that they contain. And while you should be keeping yourself hydrated before and during your workout, a good post-workout drink will ensure that you are replacing the fluids to your system that are likely sitting in a pool on your floor or soaked into your shirt.
Reduced delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) – also called muscle fever, is the pain and stiffness felt in muscles several hours to days after unaccustomed or strenuous exercise. This can be dramatically reduced with proper post-workout nutrition. So unless you like feeling every muscle in your body ache as you tenderly get out of bed the next day, this is yet another reason that a post-workout supplement will benefit you.
Post-Workout Supplements on the Market
P90X Results & Recovery
This great-tasting shake is specially designed to provide the precise nutrients you need to recover quickly after intense workouts.
- Dextrose-based formula for optimum glycogen replenishment*
- A high Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER) blend to provide the critical building blocks for rapid muscle resynthesis*
- Vitamins, including antioxidants, to help reduce muscle soreness and assist in repair and growth
Yeah…That’s right…Chocolate Milk! Surprisingly, chocolate milk has a pretty decent nutritional profile with respect to a post-workout supplement. Make sure that you use skim or 1% milk, you don’t need the extra fat in anything else.
- Effective levels of both whey protein and casein protein for both fast-acting and followed by slow-absorption.
- The total carbohydrate count will vary depending upon the brand you choose, with most coming in around 20 to 25 grams of carbohydrates.
- Quality levels of Calcium content.
Sports Drinks (Gatorade, Powerade, etc…)
These are probably the WORST post-workout drinks that you can consume. Ok…well…maybe not the WORST, some are better than others. But as a general rule, these are just sugary water based drinks that may give you a temporary insulin spike and make you feel better initially, they won’t be doing anything to help promote good muscle growth and prevent DOMS.
The bottom line here is you need to decide what is your primary goal and how a post-workout drink can help you to reach those goals and perhaps faster. There are a lot of options when it comes to What To Drink After A Workout, but hopefully the information above has given you some things to consider when you want to start
I’d love your feedback on the above article or if you are using a post-workout supplement and how it is working for you.
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