Post Workout

Post Workout Supplements: What You Actually Need For Recovery

post workout supplements
Written by Brent Cameron

What You Really NEED for Optimal Post Workout Recovery

The nutrients you put in your body after a workout really matter! Your choices when it comes to post workout supplements (and routine in general) will either inhibit, or facilitate the recovery and growth of your torn muscles.

There are two ways to get the nourishment you need after a workout. You can eat food, or drink a Post Workout shake. You should go with the shake. It’s the quickest way to give your damaged muscles exactly what they need. Food digestion will take longer, and the speed at which you can shuttle the nutrient to muscle really matters!

The convenience of a having a premade shake, ready to drink immediately after you walk off the gym floor…is a great way to quickly get what you need. Food preparation takes time. And let’s be honest, eating a chicken breast in the gym locker room really isn’t a viable option.

Post Workout Supplements NEED to Contain…

You need a combination of Protein and Carbohydrates. These two nutrients work synergistically to aid in muscle repair, and this results in greater muscle hypertrophy and strength.

All the Whey…

The most effective Protein you can put in your Post Workout drink is Whey Protein. It is one of the fastest absorbing forms of Protein powder you can consume.

As an added bonus…fast digestion will kickstart Protein Synthesis. Protein Synthesis is the process whereby organic cells generate new proteins. New proteins equal healthy, strong and lean muscles. Protein Synthesis is the holy grail of building muscle!

Muscle = Metabolism

The amount of muscle you have on your body dictates the speed of your daily Resting Metabolic Rate. The more muscle you have…the higher your natural Metabolism will be!

So if you are looking to increase lean body mass and decrease body fat…make sure one of your Post Workout supplements has Whey in it!

How Much Whey?

The human body processes between 10-30 grams of Protein per 2 to 3 hour period. Knowing this, I tell my clients to play it safe and take 20-25 grams of Whey immediately after a workout. There really is no reason to take anymore. Unless of course…you are over 250 pounds, and your body fat is less than 8%.

The variance regarding the exact Amount of Protein consumption is due to a few factors. Any one of the things listed below will dictate how much Protein your body will be able to absorb in the 2 to 3 hour time frame…

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Body Weight
  • Body Fat %
  • Lean Muscle %
  • Intensity & Duration of Workout

It’s up to you to find out what works best for your body. Experiment with doses between 10-30 grams and see how your body responds. Just make sure you are getting at least 10 grams of Whey Protein in your post workout supplement.

Carbs are Your Best (Post Workout) Friend

Yes they are! You need to consume Carbohydrates immediately after your workout, in order to restore glycogen and blood glucose levels. The goal is consume enough glucose to spike your insulin level.

Once your insulin level is spiked, and “released into the bloodstream…insulin will shuttle glucose [carbohydrates], amino acids, and blood fats into the cells of your body.” (source) This results in an anabolic environment, and this is precisely what your body needs in order to speed up the muscle repairing process.

What Kind(s) of Sugars to use in your Post Workout Shake?

Dextrose and Maltodextrin. Dextrose is a monosaccharide…so the body will absorb it slightly faster than Maltodextrin, which is a polysaccharide.

Ideally you want to have both sugars in your shake, so that your insulin levels will stay spiked throughout the entire muscle repair process. 30% Dextrose and 70% Maltodextrin should do the trick. You could do a 50/50 split too. Both will work, and again it all depends on your body and how it responds to these sugars.


milk as a recovery drinkYep! When you’re on a budget, or when you can’t get your hands on a proper Post Workout beverage…Milk will do the trick!

Try to use Fat Free Milk. The Fat in whole milk slows down the absorption of Proteins or Carbohydrates within the body digestion system. Digestion speed is critical, in order to boost Protein Synthesis. Faster is better.

If you want some flavor in your Post Workout Milk beverage. You can use Chocolate Milk. Low-fat chocolate milk has a carbohydrate-to-protein ratio similar to many commercial recovery beverages. It also provides essential fluids, and sodium…both of which aid in Post Workout recovery.

There you have it! If your goal is to increase Lean Body Mass, while simultaneously Decreasing Body Fat…then you should definitely be drinking post workout supplements. And you should do so as soon as you finish your exercise session. The sooner the better!

About the author

Brent Cameron

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