Wisdoms of True Post Workout Nutrition!
The science of post workout nutrition has been around for a long time and we all know subconsciously that consuming nutrients prior and post exercise has got some advantages to our recovery and performance but it seems that we only get wisdoms on the matter by brands claiming that their products are the best on the market.
Today I would like to shed some light on the concept of post workout recovery drink and help you make an intelligent choice for your own after training potion.
Before we go any further it is important to understand “Why do we need a liquid meal immediately after training?“.
Once we have the answer to this questions then we can make a more intelligent choice for what should goes in our post workout drink.
Everything starts with something called “a window of opportunity“. “Window of opportunity” is referred to the physiological status of the muscle cells in our bodies after an intense exercise. After an intense exercise our muscle cells become extremely sensitive to the hormone insulin which is responsible for stimulating our cells to extract nutrients (glucose stored as glycogen, amino acids and fatty acids) from the blood stream which are needed for optimal cell function. Research clearly shows that this window of hyper insulin sensitivity of the cell is at its peak from the moment the exercises is terminated until 90 min after the exercise.
From experience though I have had better results by splitting my post workout drink into two dosages. The first dose I drink immediately after training and the second one 30 min later. There are no studies for this but it makes sense that the anabolic window of opportunity will be at its peak closer to the exercise termination and not further away. I learnt this trick from the renowned strength coach Charles Poliquin.
Also during an intense exercise our cells gain the ability to extract glucose from the blood stream without the aid of insulin and the receptor sites of the actual cells. Let me explain!
When we intake nutrients (mainly carbohydrates) insulin is released by our pancreas and the insulin acts on the receptor sites outside of each cell.Then the signal is carried inside the cells via the receptors to a secondary messenger that tells through various very complicated chemical pathways a glucose transport proteins encoded in the genome called GLUT 4 to extract glucose into the muscle cell via facilitated diffusion.
Now, during an intense exercise through the release of various hormones (growth hormone, epinephrine, non-epinephrine and others) this whole process is skipped and GLUT 4 can transport the glucose into the cell without the need of insulin induced by nutrient intake and receptor site acting on the cell. This on its own is a very strong argument for the need of an intense exercise if we are dealing with insulin resistant individuals like pre-diabetic, diabetic, obese or over weight population.
Anyhow, these events occurring during and post exercise create an incredible opportunity for all hard core training enthusiasts to replenish energy stores within the cell very quickly which will contribute to a quick recovery for either a second session on the same day or an efficient recovery for the next day excruciating workout.
As previously mentioned the window of opportunity is relatively short but as we know solid food normally takes up to 2-3 hours to digest fully, this is why at this point we need fast absorbing liquid meal that we call nowadays post recovery shake, drink, smoothie, ect.
There are 4 major ways to promote recovery and each one of them will be more needed than the the other ones depending on the type of exercise we do, the duration, our fitness level and our current body composition.
1. Protein synthesis.
Mixture of whey isolate and concentrate is the fastest way to achieve optimal rebuilding of damaged tissue post exercise. The amount needed is 0.3-0.5g per kg of lean muscle mass. To calculate your individual requirements you will need to know your body fat percentage and based on the number you will be able to workout your lean mass. Biosignature is very accurate way to workout your body composition. You can read more about it here.
Some people may be intolerant to cow whey protein then I would suggest the next best option- goat whey protein. If this still causing bloating and water retention then the next option is plant based protein derived from hemp, pea or rice.
Important Note! Avoid whey protein that has added sugar, chemical sweeteners like aspartame, dyes, or artificial flavourings.
For advanced trainees and the elderly, utilizing the “window” appears most important. For advanced trainees, protein synthesis happens more in the myofibrillar component than mitochondrial, meaning immediate feeding with a high concentration of the amino acid leucine and whey protein are needed.
The elderly also benefit from a large dose of leucine and an overall large amount of protein—one study showed greater protein synthesis in the elderly from 40 grams of whey immediately after training compared to 20 grams.
So, to optimise post workout protein synthesis, take 0.3-0.5g of whey per kg of lean muscle and 7-10g leucine.
And finally, for best results I would add 10g of L-Glutamine to my post workout drink.
Glutamine has been one of the most studied nutrients for sport performance for the last 15 years. It is one of the most versatile and useful nutrients for sport performance. Research has shown that glutamine is very effective against catabolic stress such as that imposed by resistance training.
Here are couple of main reasons why I would add glutamine to my post workout in order to boost recovery.
- To boost endogenous growth hormone levels, particularly when used on an empty stomach. For example upon arising and immediately after training.
- Glutamine plays a crucial role in the stimulation of intracellular protein synthesis.
2. Glycogen replenishment
Muscle glycogen is a source of energy used during resistance training and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) type workouts like crossfit, boxing or kettlebell classes. Studies show that a moderate volume can reduce muscle glycogen by between 12 to 39 percent. But, this or greater volume typically requires decreased training frequency that permits for the replenishment of glycogen without urgent post-workout carb feeding.
If you train exhaustively with recovery of less than 24 hours, carbs may be needed but again that will depend on your current body fat percentage.
It will depend on your current body composition because there are evidence that high-intensity resistance training with low muscle glycogen does not impair anabolic signaling or muscle protein synthesis during the post-workout recovery period. This suggests that if you’re trying to lose fat, or improve your body’s ability to burn fat for energy, training in a glycogen-depleted state may not be a bad thing.
This is where glutamine comes in handy again for those who are concerned with losing body fat. L-glutamine will accelerate muscle glycogen synthesis by sparing glucose uptake. So if you are training hard and your goal is fat loss glutamine may be a better option than carbs.
But, if you are training twice a day, whether in endurance sports or strength training, you should definitely take carbohydrates post-workout to replenish glycogen stores. 20-30g along with your protein intake will suffice.
Additionally, if you are very lean and your goal is strength and muscle development, using carbs in the post-workout window is a good idea because research shown that glycogen is replenished faster during the first two hours after training.
Best results come from taking carbs with protein. I have already given you the protein requirements post exercise so here is my post carb recommendation- 1.2 to 1.5g per kg of body weigh. The best carbs for replenish quickly glycogen are simple sugars like maltodextrin, dextrose, dexstrine and waxy maze. Any of those or combination of the above will be a good choice.
Ok. Based on the information above , if you are not exercising more than an hour a day 5 times a week and you are not lean enough, you don’t deserve the right to have carbs post exercise.
What would be lean enough?
Male– sub 10% body fat
Female– sub 14% body fat
For any of those that are above those percentages your best choice is high dosage L- Glutamine- 20-30g.
Add electrolytes to your post workout shake.
Without adequate electrolyte minerals, consuming water does little to rehydrate you. That’s because the body requires the electrolytes sodium and potassium in the right ratio in order to improve cellular water balance and restore hydration after a punishing workout. After an intense exercise trainees will benefit from adding an electrolyte supplement to their post workout drink.
4. Bringing back cortisol to testosterone ratio
Studies clearly show that high intensity exercise especially strength training decrease testosterone from base line and increase cortisol which is a stress hormone and it is very catabolic to the muscle tissue. Whilst we need high cortisol for better performance during a workout, once the workout is finished though we need again testosterone back up to base line and the cortisol eliminated. Studies clearly show us that there are some supplements that can help us to bring back the ratio of testosterone to cortisol and calm the central nervous system (CNS)
Taking 2 to 10 grams of vitamin C aids in the clearance of cortisol. Consuming nutrients like taurine, magnesium, and alpha lipoic acid (ALA) can counter inflammation, while calming the CNS.
Another special supplement that is worth mentioning is Phophatidyl Serine (PS). PS has been proved to help metabolization of cortisol and improve also brain function.
All the nutrients above can be added to your post workout shake either in powder or pill form.
The advancement of sport science now days has come up with various ways to promote recovery- various sport massages, cold showers, various spa treatments, meditation, etc. but the question is ” Do we really have time for all those luxurious interventions?!” Some time we do, some time we don’t !
The easiest way though to promote fast recovery will always be a well designed based on our individual requirements post workout drink consumed within the” window of opportunity ” time frame.
One Lnd has now provided a great option for all its members at Protein Haus for a tasty and nutritious post workout smoothies prepared with good quality natural ingredients.
For more information ask at the reception at One Lnd
Enjoy your recovery!
Live Your True Potential!