I’m going to switch directions a little bit from my typical pre workout supplement post. Reason being, post workout protein supplements are just as important, if not more important for a well rounded workout routine because it jump starts your recovery.
Pre workout and post workout supplements are kind of the Ying and Yang of the nutritional supplement world, because they complement each other so well. One gives you the energy and nutrients to get through your workout, and the other one gives you the ingredients to makes sure your muscle recovery is complete. Pre workout gives you the Caffeine and amino’s to power you up and post workout gives you the vitamins, minerals and amino acids to power you down.
Post workouts are a recommended alternative to food for a protein recovery source after a workout. The main reasons are the convenience and the amount of food you would have to eat a full meal post workout to receive the amount of protein that your body requires at that time.
What is post workout protein? The physical ingredient answer to that question is that it contains proteins which are amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. However, the benefits of a post workout go far beyond the ingredients. These important post workout proteins can come from whey, animal or plant protein sources. I’m going to break down a few of these active ingredients in post workouts to help explain the processes complete your recovery.
We will look into just how beneficial post workout protein powders can be to whatever your training routine is, which post workout to choose, when and how much protein powder to take and the ideal timing to take your post workout.
The Benefits of Post Workout Protein Powders
I am calling them post workout protein powders, but they can come in protein drink, protein bar, and other forms. For now I’m going to stick with the powder form(which blends into liquid) because this is the most used, most available and has the largest selection in the post workout protein realm. Because of the variety of protein powders, this category will have some of the best brands, options and blends to choose from.
Taking post workout protein after your session stimulates protein synthesis therefore starting the recovery process. This rebuilding of your muscle fibers will actually help to enhance performance during your next workout. Your body requires these proteins to rebuild after exercise. If you are into bodybuilding or weight lifting, post workout proteins will increase with both your muscle strength and muscle size.
Post workout supplements are also a great source for your nutritional requirement for a relatively low amount of calories for how much is needed to take. You will get a sufficient amount of carbohydrates or “carbs” to recover your carb debt, and begin the recharging process for the next workout. In case you decide to run or bike on your days of from the gym, these nutrients and proteins still can be very beneficial for your body.
Protein supplements are best used for people that perform resistance type exercises. These include cross-fit, power lifting, bodybuilding, weightlifting, sprinting, cycling, HIIT training or any other activity that strengthens your body.
Protein supplements are not necessarily associated with endurance sports such as long distance or aerobic exercise. These do not depend as much on muscle size and strength gains to excel. Of course, resistance exercise are many times used in training by athletes to perform better with their endurance sports.
What Ingredients Make the Difference?
Both pre workout and post workout supplements have ingredients that are specifically designed to maximize their effects in your body. Post workouts manufacturers spend a lot of time and money using nutritional scientists to get the ingredients, quantities and ratios of their products just right. Most post workouts will contain either animal proteins, plant proteins or whey proteins. The whey protein seems to be the most popular and my personal favorite. However, it is not recommend for people that are lactose intolerant.
One recent development in the post workout protein industry is that it introduced an enzyme to help your body digest the ingredients more efficiently and more quickly getting them to where they are needed the most in the body. It recommend looking for these enzymes on the supplement label when purchasing a post workout, since they don’t all contain them.
They are called proteolytic enzymes and go by these names: proteases, peptidase, peptin, trypsin, chymotripsin, bromelain, papain. It’s not vital to have in a post workout supplement, but I would recommend it.
All proteins are made up of one or more chains of amino acids. This includes essential amino acids and branch chain amino acids. You will see branch chain amino acids referred to as BCAA’s on the product label. Both are a very important part of your muscle recovery, and are the main ingredients to rebuild and strengthen you muscles. All post workouts contain proteins, but in different quantities.
Some of the vitamins and minerals to expect in your post workout are vitamin D, vitamin C, Calcium, Iron, Sodium, Potassium, These help with muscle soreness and fatigue. The biggest part that these nutrients perform is to get energy back to your muscles to help them recharge. This is done through both protein synthesis and by metabolizing waste while producing new cells. Some post workouts are so packed with nutrients that it is like taking your daily supplement pills.
Remember your Post Workout Timing
Let’s talk briefly about the timing for taking your post workout. There is a specific window of time after your workout that is basically the “sweet spot”. This is when your body will optimize the proteins and nutrients that your post workout provides.
This important “sweet spot” is right around 45 minutes after your workout. Immediately after you exercise, your blood is still pumping through the veins in the muscles and your brain, not your digestive tract. As you get further away from workout completion, your blood will be more readily available to receive nutrients near the stomach.
If you can’t make this window, try your best to drink your shake within the the first couple of hours after. Many protein powders have a fast acting enzyme which helps your body uptake the supplement faster and more efficiently. The quantity that you take is another important factor.
A serving of post workout protein powder is generally around 20 grams. Depending on many factors, this may not be enough. These factors include: your fitness goals and your metabolism but most importantly your weight. These factors that influence how much to take could be another post by itself, but I’ll stick to the basics.
There are many studies directed at on how much protein is needed after a workout, but the suggestion I’ve seen the most is between 20 and 40 grams of powder. If your weight is at the top of the scale(no pun intended), that usually means that you would need more like 2 servings.
To blend these protein powders, all you need is a shaker and some water or milk. Please let me know in the comment box below if you would like to share what your strategy is for taking your supplements.
Many serious athletes take additional recovery supplements after their workout including Creatine and BCAA’s, which can be purchased separately from your post workout supplement. These additional supplements abide by the same timing rules for consumption.
If you are also taking a pre workout in conjunction, you may be interested in my post on the importance of timing when taking a pre workout supplements. This will guide you on the necessary timing before your workout for this supplement.
Picking the Right One for You
There are hundreds if not thousands of post workout supplements on the market, but choosing one doesn’t have to be that difficult. Remember that if you don’t like the flavor, constancy or any thing else about the product, most companies have a 30 day product guarantee.
I will be doing some hands on post workout protein supplement reviews in the near future that will give some suggestions, but until then here are my recommendations.
#1 would be to check the online reviews. Amazon has more review than you can imagine, with a ranking system between 1 and 5 stars. You can even select option for a particular star rating. Many people like to check out 1 star ratings, so they can see the worst comments to help them make their decision.
A couple of choices to consider: Post workouts proteins can come in animal, plant and whey(milk) forms. You can also choose between conventional, all natural or organic post workouts. Be sure to narrow it down by the many category options and don’t forget to read the supplement label. Then of course, the price. This can also be narrowed down on your Amazon search.
The Post Protein Conclusion
Both pre workout and post workout supplements can be vital to whatever kind of exercise you do and they both have many benefits. Pre workout supplements even have some of the same ingredients. The post workout supplements jump start your recovery after a workout. It is very important to give your body the protein and nutrients it needs at the time it needs them.
Unbelievable amounts of research dollars have been spent to formulate the complex ingredients and the proportions contained in post workout supplements. The amount of nutrients such as vitamins and minerals have been made to give the optimal results. Of course if your schedule allows and if you have the time, it is always recommended to eat a well balanced meal over a protein shake.
Many times after my workout I will take my protein shake so my body can immediately get those important proteins at the right time, and then I will just have a smaller meal later than night to get a more rounded diet.
Keep in mind that protein powder will contain between 150 and 250 calories per serving and up, just in case you are watching your belt line. For those of you that are really on the go, there are also meal replacement post workout supplements available.
Post workout supplements are beneficial to athletes and gym goers alike. They with also help your muscles recover properly whether your sport is power lifting or if it’s cycling. This is an easy, quick and inexpensive way to get the proteins and nutrients for you body when it needs it.
In the near future, keep your eye open because I will have some reviews on the best post workout supplements.
If you have any comments on post workout supplements or suggestions about the way that you take them, please leave a message at the bottom and I will respond shortly.