I get this question a lot:
“What should I consume Post Workout?”
The answer is tricky. If you read all of the marketing and the hype, you would go CRAZY… There are bars, gels, drinks, ‘real food’, mashed up fruit, smoothies, etc. Magic powders, pricey supplements, and in some cases ‘consume nothing’.
When it comes down to it, you need to have a couple of things sorted out:
1. What are your goals?
2. What did you do?
If your goals are to simply lean out – there is a specific answer.
If you goals are to become HUGE like the Hulk – there is a is a specific answer.
If you goals are to train hard everyday and successfully recover – there is a specific answer.
You get the idea here…
In general, assuming your workout was pretty taxing and pushed your physical limits, a combination of Carbohydrates and Protein immediately after your workout is ideal. What kind of breakdown of Carbs/Protein ratio will vary based on your activity and desired results.
The important thing here is to test it and find the ideal combination for you.
You know it is working if:
1. you feel ‘recovered’ the next day – anything that puts you back within 90% of your potential is great
2. you are able to take the next workout as hard as you want to (you don’t need to dial it back)
3. you continue to make gains (this may take 3-6 weeks to really notice)
Here is a little article discussing the added benefits of Carbs and Protein vs just carbs.
My personal favorite is Sweet Potatoes and egg whites (or chicken). I like whole foods for recovery. The starchy tubers like Sweet Potatoes replenish glycogen stores. The egg whites supply the protein. Add a little Pumpkin Pie spice and I am a happy camper. Obviously – this takes a little more planning and prep work than finding a powder and adding water (shake, shake, shake). For those of you who need an instant beverage of sorts – I like Stronger Faster Healthier’s line up of products. They are pricey, but at least you have the comfort of knowing the sources are coming from GrassFed and are Gluten Free. My Quick/Cheap go to is a simple Whey Protein from Whole Foods (365 Pure Whey) and I add dextrose for ‘carbs’. It’s not fancy. Technically, dextrose is not Paleo as it is derived from corn – but neither is is Whey (depending on what Paleo Camp you hail from). In this situation, I am choosing to make a sacrifice in Paleo compliance for improved performance. Sometimes, you just can’t have it all. Why would I choose ‘Dextrose’ over some other source of sweetener? GREAT question… Dextrose is pure Glucose. If my goal is to replenish the glycogen stores in my body, I don’t want carbs with high fructose content. Glucose is utilized throughout the body, where as fructose goes directly to the liver and can cause a whole host of other problems (including fatty liver disease).
Do a little research – type into Dr. Google ‘Fructose vs Glucose’ – you may decide to stick with Sweet Potatoes and Egg Whites