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!