At the end of a big workout, your muscles are hungry and in desperate need to recover. To do that, your body needs protein to rebuild your damaged muscles and carbs to process that protein. Towards the end of a strenuous workout when your body has exhausted its primary energy sources, it will target muscle tissue for energy. To prevent this, the first 30 minutes after your workout, if not in your last few sets, is the optimal time to have a recovery shake.
Aside from the amount of protein in your shake, there are a few other aspects to consider. But first let’s start with the most obvious.
Protein: After a workout, protein is the first step in muscle repair and recovery. About 20 grams of protein is ideal for your body to process at one time. In choosing the type of protein in your supplement, you want to consider the function. Post-workout, whey protein is the most common option for a reason. Whey contains the highest biological value of any protein and it is absorbed quickly by the body. I like a blend of Whey and Casein protein, which takes longer for the body to absorb and continues to break down over a longer period of time. Some other protein options are Egg, Soy, and Beef protein.
Carbs: First you want to look for a 2:1 Carbs to Protein ratio. While I know there are a lot of you looking to stay lean and build muscle, and may be scared of carbs… Don’t be! Carbs are the most important thing, next to protein, to aid muscle recovery post workout. If protein was the bricks being used to build your house, carbs would be the vehicle that gets them to the work site. While normally you would want to stick to complex carbs that take your body a long time to process, the 30 minutes after your big muscle workouts is the exception. This is the time for simple carbohydrates like bananas or honey. A nice scoop of oats is a great idea as well to provide your body with fuel to feed on for a couple hours.
My Favorite Post Workout Recovery Shake:
4 oz skim milk*
4 oz water*
1 scoop chocolate whey protein powder
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1 tablespoon oats
Throw it all in the blender with ice and blend!
This will all add up to Just under 300 calories and 20-25 grams of protein
*You can work with then portions of milk and water to increase or decrease the amount of calories and protein.
About Corey White
Corey White is a Personal Trainer in Los Angeles as well as an elite Professional Track and Field athlete. He is NASM and NCSF Certified, and specializes in Strength Training, Balance and Coordination, and Creative and Dynamic Circuit Training. Contact Corey for additional information or to schedule a private consultation.