Post workout nutrition ideas for healthy shakes, to help build muscle and enhance fat loss.
I was wondering about what is best to consume after a workout, to get nutrients back into my tired muscles. So I emailed Mike Geary who sent me a reply which I based this article on.
Your probably sick of hearing it. But your post-workout meal may very well be your most important meal of the day.
The reason is that when you have finished with an intense workout. You’re about to enter a catabolic state where your muscle’s glycogen is depleted. At this point increased cortisol levels, are beginning to excessively break down muscle tissue. This situation is not good, and the only way to reverse this catabolic state (and promote an anabolic state). Is to consume a quickly digestible post workout meal (can be a shake or smoothie) as soon as you can after training.
The goal is to choose a meal with easily digestible quick carbs to replenish muscle glycogen as well as quickly digestible protein to provide the amino acids needed to jump start muscular repair. The surge into the bloodstream of carbohydrates, and amino acids from this quickly digested meal promotes an insulin spike from the pancreas, which carries nutrients into the muscle cells.
Good post workout nutrition should mean that each meal contains between 300-500 calories to get the best response. A good example would be, a 120-lb female may only need a 300-calorie meal, when a 200-lb male may need a 500-calorie post-workout meal. Your post-workout meal should also contain anywhere from a 2:1 to a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein. While the majority of your other daily meals should contain a source of healthy fats. Keep the fat content of your post-workout meal to a bare minimum. Since fat slows the absorption of the meal, which is the exact opposite of what you want after a workout.
When deciding what you want to make for your post workout meal. The first thing to realize is that you don’t need any of these expensive post workout supplement formulations, that all those fancy ads will tell you, that you absolutely need. I prefer to make my own post-workout shakes from natural ingredients instead of using a commercial mixture, since many of them are low quality with hidden ingredients.
For the shakes, here are some things to keep in mind if you try it…
A good source of quickly digestible natural carbohydrates such as frozen bananas, pineapples, honey, or organic maple syrup are perfect to promote an insulin response that will promote muscle glycogen replenishment, and a general anabolic (muscle building) effect. The more you can do to assist the muscle repair process. The more you will increase your metabolic rate and that can help you to lose fat as well.
The best source of quickly digestible protein is a quality non-denatured whey protein and some fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Here are a couple ideas for delicious post-workout smoothies that will kick start your recovery process:
Chocolate Banana – blend together
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup milk (I prefer organic grass-fed milk for max health benefits)
- one and a half frozen bananas
- 2 tbsp organic maple syrup
- 30 grams chocolate whey protein powder – 38 g protein, 72 g carbs, 1.5 g fat, 450 calories.
Pineapple Vanilla – blend together
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup vanilla yogurt
- one cup frozen pineapples
- 2 tbsp honey (preferably raw)
- 30 grams vanilla whey protein powder – 35 g protein, 71 g carbs, 1 g fat, 430 calories.
When choosing a good whey protein, you need to realise that the quality vastly differs between brands and types. Most whey proteins are produced under high heat processes that destroy some of the fragile nutritional components of the whey. The best whey I’ve found is this great new grass fed RAW whey protein. As this is from grass-fed cows, it has higher levels of muscle building and fat burning CLA conjugated linoleic acid.
When looking to lose body fat, keep in mind that post-workout meals should have the opposite characteristics of all of your other meals throughout each day. While your post-workout meals should have quick high glycemic index carbohydrates, as well as quickly digested proteins. Your other meals throughout the day should be comprised of low glycemic index, slowly digested carbs and slow release proteins.
These are powerful strategies towards developing a lean muscular body with a low body fat percentage. Post-workout meals are great for satisfying even the worst sweet tooth. Since this is the one time of the day where you can get away with eating extra sugars without adding inches to your gut. Instead, it goes straight to the muscles. But only if your workout was high intensity, and involved resistance training for large portions of the body. However if all you did was low intensity cardio, you don’t need to make this type of post-workout shake.
For a more detailed nutritional analysis, with more of these various powerful post workout nutrition dietary strategies. Can be found in Mike’s best-selling No1 rated fitness ebook in the world, The Truth About Six Pack Abs.