What Are You Eating Post-Workout?

I bet for most of you, your answer to this question won’t include carbs. Here’s why it should:

When we do any type of resistance training or HIIT, our bodies tap into glycogen (energy store) in our muscles to keep going, which means it’s breaking down the muscle.

Glycogen is a multibranched polysaccharide of glucose which means it’s basically a long chain carb that has a long digestion process aka complex carbs.

So by the end of our workout, we need to replenish that glycogen both quickly and most effectively to help our muscles to start recovering. So we go have a shake after our workout and we’re good to go right?

Key words up there are most effective. The answer to that question depends on what’s in your shake. At a fundamental level, your post-workout shake should:

  • Spike your insulin (contain a high GI/simple/monosaccharide carb)
  • Contain a hydrolyzed protein

Why? Basically… Insulin is our body’s recovery and growth hormone (which you want to activate asap after you just kicked ass in the gym). The simpler the carb = the faster your body digests it = the faster you activate that recovery response.

But that’s not enough on its own. You should also be feeding your muscle fibers with a hydrolyzed protein. Again, I’m going to hit you with the key word most effective because not all proteins are made the same.

Hydrolyzed protein is made to come to you “pre-digested”. In other words, all of the components of a hydrolyzed protein come to you already broken down before you even drink it. Why does that matter? Again, the faster your body digests it = the faster you activate that recovery response.

BOTH need to be in the mix for jumpstarting optimal recovery.

Be careful with products that come pre-mixed. Dosage is an important factor here! A 115-lb person is not going to need the same amount of carbs and protein mix as a 200-lb person. If you’re bulking, you may want to take twice the recommended dose of carb that you normally take when you’re in a maintenance or a cutting phase.

If you skip the carb part post-workout and only take a protein, your body is going to convert that protein into glycogen because the first thing it’s looking to do is replace the glycogen you spent.

Can you get this from eating whole foods immediately after your workout? Technically, yes. But like I said, this is about the quickest and most effective way to jumpstart muscle recovery. Any type of whole meal is going to take much longer for your body to digest since it’s likely not pre-digested (hydrolyzed).

Personally, I use 1stPhorm’s Ignition and Phormula1 in Vanilla Milkshake – especially on weeks when I’m eating less calories and trying to cut a bit. My body has less fuel from my daily foods for my workouts so they feel harder than usual. If I don’t take something that’s going to help me recover as quickly as possible for the next day, I’m not going to push like I should.

One last thing… This does not replace having a whole meal after your workout. This combo taken immediately post-workout (within 30 minutes) acts as a bridge to your next whole meal – NOT A REPLACEMENT. You should be hungry and want to eat your whole meal within 30-45 minutes of having this combo.

If you decide to get this stack, let me know if you try any of the other flavors! I admit, when it comes to my supplements, I play it safe with the flavors. HA!

Weight Loss vs. Fat Loss

It’s the same, right? Not really.

Mentality plays a big role in your fitness journey. Anyone that’s ever embarked on a path to a healthier lifestyle, has been a competitor, is a fitness model, or is an athlete can attest to this. Your mind is your most powerful muscle, hands down.

Naturally then, it’s easy for our scales to play tricks on us when they don’t move or even worse – they go up – when we’ve been doing everything right.

This is what separates weight loss from fat loss. The terms are interchangeable in social norms, however, the perspectives are different. You don’t always lose weight when you lose fat.

Isn’t that crazy? Let me explain. Muscle weighs more than fat. So when you strength train and gain muscle, a couple of scenarios can play out:

  1. you don’t lose the equivalent amount of fat so the scale doesn’t move
  2. you haven’t really incorporated much cardio and it’s taking time for your metabolism to do its thing so the scale may go up because you’ve added muscle mass to your body composition

Neither one of those are bad or unfavorable scenarios! First of all, our metabolisms are all different. You shouldn’t go crazy and start doing 45-minutes of cardio per day to blast the fat off. Why? Because eventually you’ll reach a plateau and then what? Are you going to increase your cardio to 60-minutes per day?

Train smarter! Not harder.

Start off with strength training and slowly add in cardio. If you do strength training the right way, trust me, your heart rate will be up anyway and you’ll be burning fat regardless. Pay attention to how your body responds to all of these changes. Do you notice one area developing faster than others? Can you increase intensity of your cardio rather than time? What about decreasing the rest time between sets?

All of these are little details you can adjust in your training regimen without killing yourself on the stair master or treadmill to kick things up a notch.

Also – more muscle mass = more fat burn at rest. This means, the more muscle you build, the more fat your body will burn automatically at rest. So now imagine how much more it will burn when actually working!

But again, muscle weighs more than fat so the number on the scale may not actually move or it may even go up which is discouraging to someone who is trying to lose “weight”. But if you’re measuring your body fat percentage and sticking to your program, you are likely losing fat and inches while putting on muscle.

Don’t be a slave to the number on the scale. The perception of that stupid little number can make or break you. It’s important to have an understanding and see things from a different point of view so that you don’t give up before you start seeing results. Aim to lose FAT not WEIGHT.