Fundamentals of Fitness Chapter 3You’ve just finished a hard workout in the gym.  All you can think about right now is hopping onto the couch and getting in some much-deserved rest. Not so fast. Before you go and take some down time to help speed up the recovery from the session you just completed, it’s going to be essential that you tend to your post workout nutrition and supplementation. Right now, your body is in a highly broken down state and is literally crying for nutrients. In addition to that, because of the current state that your body is in, your tissues are going to act like a sponge, soaking up any nutrients that you may feed yourself at double or triple time the rate as normal. If you don’t take advantage of this situation, you’re going to be at a loss. Therefore, it’s time that you learn precisely what you should be doing during this time for optimal results. Let’s go over what you should know.

Post Workout Supplements

What Are Post-Workout Supplements?

Post workout supplements are any product that is designed to be taken during the highly important post-workout period. You’ve likely read time and time again how important the post-workout meal is. Well, think of post-workout supplements as right up there on the importance scale. They are not to be overlooked. Post workout supplements are going to aim to do a few different things.

Stop the Catabolic Process
Post workout supplements are any product that is designed to be taken during the highly important post-workout period. You’ve likely read time and time again how important the post-workout meal is. Well, think of post-workout supplements as right up there on the importance scale. They are not to be overlooked. Post workout supplements are going to aim to do a few different things.

Replenish Energy

Replenish Energy

In addition to that, post workout supplementation is also going to help you speed up the replenishment of the high energy compounds that are necessary for fueling your next workout session. The faster you can restore these compounds, the more prepared you are going to be to hit the gym again for that next workout. This includes restoring creatine phosphate as well as muscle glycogen, which is the storage form of glucose in the muscle cell.

Aid Your Immune System

Aid Your Immune System

Finally, post workout nutrition may also help to enhance your immune system, which is going to take a beating each time you do an intense session in the gym. By keeping your immune system stronger, you can ensure you bounce back quicker and reduce your chances of falling ill due to such intense, ongoing workouts.

What Post-Workout Supplements To Take

Amino Acids

Amino Acids

First, to help reverse the state of catabolism you are currently in and make you more anabolic, you’re going to want to take in some amino acids. Taking these in right after the workout is finished is going to help you quickly begin rebuilding the muscle tissues, making sure that you don’t skip a beat in your recovery. These will be quickly digested and go right into the muscle cells where they’re needed.

Creatine

Creatine

In addition to that, if you didn’t take in creatine before or during the workout, now is also the time to get it in.  Your stores are depleted and using this supplement will ensure that next workout, you are going to be going in strong. It’s best to take this creatine with high in insulin levels to drive the molecules into the muscle cells faster. Therefore, a fast acting carbohydrate is perfect here. It will not only help get the creatine into the muscles, but also help to restore muscle glycogen as well, which is also heavily depleted if you just did a hard strength training session. Waxy maize, maltodextrin, or cabolyn all work well here as powdered sources of fast acting carbohydrates.

Protein Powder

Protein Powder

Finally, you’ll also want to take in some regular protein powder as well. This will work along with the amino acids to further your state of recovery and make sure you are fully ready to hit the gym again for your next training session. There are many protein powders to choose from here, which we will go into more details on in a second.

Glutamine

Glutamine

Finally, for the immune system enhancement that we mentioned earlier, you’ll want to turn to glutamine. This is a particular amino acid that plays a key role in immune system strength and by using it, you can increase the recovery process taking place and make sure that you feel your best at all times. Most people using glutamine will take five grams immediately post-workout, and then supplement with another five grams right before they go to bed for the night.  

Tips for Best Results

Use  a Pre-, Intra-, and Post-Workout Supplement Plan

When you pair these products with the pre and intra workout supplements that we spoke about earlier, you can feel fully confident that you are priming your body for optimal recover, tissue rebuilding, and progress in the gym.

Design Your Goals

Note that these products won’t vary too terribly much if you are bulking versus cutting. The only difference is those who are cutting may want to go slightly easier on the post-workout carbohydrates as they still need to be added to your daily total and your carbohydrates will be lower when fat loss is the goal.

Eat Whole Foods Post-Workout

Some who are on very strict diets will choose to use whole food sources of carbohydrates post workout as well simply because they are more satisfying and hunger is already an issue you are likely dealing with. This is fine too – but just note that you must eat some form of carbohydrate and protein in after your workout session regardless of whether you are bulking or cutting. You’re far better off cutting carbohydrates out at other points in the day compared to cutting them out around the workout session when your body needs them most.

Choosing A Proper Protein Powder

Choosing a Proper Protein Powder
In order to see optimal post-workout recovery, getting protein into your system is going to be critically important. With the hundreds of different protein powders out there however, it can be hard to choose which will support your goals the best. Immediately after your workout session when your body is in the broken down state that it is, by using a protein powder, that protein will hit the muscle tissues and immediately upon doing so, help to kick-start the rebuilding process. This allows your body to repair the damage, growing stronger in the process. If you are also in a calorie surplus at the time and are providing nutrients over and above what you need to repair the damaged muscle tissues, you’ll also start to build even more muscle mass tissue than you had before. At this point, your body is going to be highly anabolic if you’ve spiked insulin levels with carbohydrates and are now providing that protein, so you are set for optimal gains. Getting back to the protein powder selection, there are a few varieties to know about. Some are more catered towards post workout nutrition while others will be superior later on in the day. When choosing any protein powder to use on a regular basis, also aim to choose one that contains as few additives as possible. Avoid artificial sweeteners or other colors or dyes. Read the ingredient label and aim to find the simplest product that you can in the most natural state for the absolute best benefits.

Whey Isolate

Whey ProteinThe primary protein powder to choose for immediately after your workout session is a whey protein isolate. This protein powder is the rapid digesting protein powder that ensure your muscles get amino acids quickly. In addition to this, whey isolate is also going to be virtually carb and fat free, making it a great option for those who are aiming to get leaner and who are currently cutting. If you are watching your calorie intake closely, a whey isolate will help you avoid taking in extra calories you just don’t need. It’s still appropriate for those who are bulking as well however; you’ll just have to make sure you are still adding enough additional carbohydrates and dietary fats to meet your goals as well. Whey isolates tend to mix up incredibly easy with just a shaker cup, so are perfect for taking to the gym with you. In terms of dosing, how much protein powder you use after each workout will depend upon your body weight, your goals, and the length and intensity of the workout. Typically a good guideline is 25 grams for women or those who are dieting and up to 50 grams for heavier men or those who are aiming to build more lean muscle mass. Note that more protein after your workout does not mean more muscle mass. There are limits to how much you should take – anything above 50 grams is likely not going to be beneficial. At that point, you’d be better served by using the calories for added carbohydrates instead.

Casein

Casein Protein Powder
The second protein variety is casein protein powder. This form is a much more slow digesting form of protein that is going to release its amino acids over a lengthy period of time. While whey isolate tends to be best for stopping the process of catabolism since it’s so fast digesting, casein protein powder is great for maintaining a period of anabolism. Some individuals may choose to use a blended product that contains both casein as well as isolate post workout so that they get the best of both worlds. Others prefer to stick with just isolate and take advantage of the fast release system going on. If you aren’t using casein post workout, you will want to be using it later on, especially in the pre-bed period. This product is great for avoiding catabolism during the overnight fasting period and ensuring your body never is without a stream of amino acids. Note that casein does typically contain slightly more carbs and fats, however levels are still quite low and nothing to be concerned about for everyone except the ultra-intense dieter. This form of protein does not mix easily however and has a much thicker consistency, so you’ll likely want to use a blender when taking it.

Soy

Soy Protein PowderSoy is another protein powder variation you may come across. The jury is still out on the full effects of soy on the body – especially for males, so I’d recommend you use this one with caution. A scoop here and there if you really need one isn’t going to be all that dangerous, but if you are taking it day after day after day, there is cause for concern. If you are a strict vegetarian and that’s your reasoning for wanting to use soy, then you should consider an alternative such as hemp protein powder. It’ll still provide you with some protein and will also provide some omega fats as well, so can be even better than soy. The overall protein level isn’t quite as high in hemp as it is in soy, but if you are unwilling to take whey, then it’s your next best bet.

Back to Chapter Two 

what is a supplement