After an intense bodybuilding workout, the body is “screaming” for nutrients to re-fuel and rebuild the muscle. The anaerobic nature of your weight-training workout has exhausted the muscles’ supply of glycogen. In addition, the intense nature of the workout has resulted in “micro-trauma” to the muscle fibers. As a result, a repair and rebuilding process requiring amino acids and glycogen must take place before the next workout. This need to re-fuel and rebuild can be best satisfied with a post-workout shake. The post-workout shake has a blend of carbohydrates and protein.
To achieve the full benefit, a typical post-workout shake should have a ratio of carbohydrate grams to protein grams of 1.5 to 3. Therefore, you should be adding about 20-30 grams of protein and about 30-90 grams of carbohydrates into your post-workout Shake.
You should consume this shake within one hour after your workout. The sooner you can consume the post-workout shake, the greater the benefit. The body is most receptive to metabolizing proteins and carbohydrates during the one-hour period after your weight-training workout. This period is referred to as the “anabolic window”. This is the beginning of your “recovery” and “rebuilding” process.
If you can only consume one protein shake during the day, then the post-workout Shake is the shake with the most benefits. According to research studies, muscle growth and recovery increased when weight trainers regularly consumed a post-workout Shake. Because of the need for a quick up-take of protein requirements, whey protein powder is the best choice here. In addition, the body needs a fast infusion of glucose for the glycogen-deprived muscles. Therefore, blending in simple carbohydrates such as bananas, apples, honey, maltodextrin/fructose powder, Gatorade, or fruit juice will satisfy the need for glycogen replenishment.
Drink your shake slowly by sipping it for at least 30 minutes. Don’t gulp it down! Allow your digestive system to slowly absorb the shake as you would a normal meal.
This is the single biggest nutritional intake benefit to your attempts to build muscle, so don’t ever skip it or delay drinking your post-workout shake. For best results, choose a top-quality protein powder that has sufficient sugars and mixes well just with water, and put one or two drinking bottles in your gym bag, each with a couple of scoops of the dry powder. Now when your weightlifting session finishes you can just add water, shake it up and drink it – before you even hit the showers!
If you want a greater protein hit, mix up the second post-workout shake after your shower and sip it as you get dressed and head out from the gym. While not all may make it into your system in time for the optimal uptake window, some will and the rest will be used during the remaining recovery. Most importantly, though, that first post
Consuming a post-workout Shake immediately after your weight-training workout is one of the most important strategies in your nutrition/supplementation strategy. Don’t ignore it.