When you’ve finished working out, your muscle fibers aren’t the same – they rip from all that lifting and their glycogen stores, which provide energy have been burned out, so the muscle tissue is breaking itself down to create protein.
After an intense workout the body starts releasing hormones that will help the muscles repair and grow as well as recover glycogen which was depleted during the intense activity.
Consuming the right nutrients, at the right time can help you speed up this process and help the body recover faster. (1, 2, 3). The muscle tissue is now primed to take any nutrient you give it and reverse this to anabolism so that your body will recover and grow.
Consuming a few specific nutrients after your workout will:
- increase muscle protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown
- restore glycogen stores
- speed up recovery
Here are the 6 best post-workout nutrients you should be taking
1. Whey Protein
Of course it’s whey protein. It digests extremely fast and it gets to your muscles right in the post-workout window because consuming the nutrients doesn’t count – they have to get to your muscles while in that 45 minute window!
If you can, always end your workouts with a whey shake.
2. Casein Protein
Casein breaks down extremely slowly as opposed to whey protein, but it has been shown that it boosts your muscle protein synthesis as well, which creates new muscle tissue.
If you keep eating casein, you could potentially experience growth for a very long time. Also, look for a powder with both whey and casein protein for best effects!
3. Branched-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)
These three amino acids – leucine, isoleucine and valine are incredibly important for growing muscle.
There are scientific studies that show leucine to be even more important because it bears the role of muscle protein synthesis initiator.
4. Fast-Digesting Carbs
Along with the protein, your muscles will need some carbohydrates too. However, you need something quicker, since fruit and oatmeal won’t get to your muscles in time.
Instead, get some maltodextrin or dextrose, which will refill your glycogen stores and keep you energized for the next exercise. Also, these two quick digesting carbs may already be included in your protein or creatine powder! Which brings us to…
Keep your creatine levels high in your muscles and you’ll be stronger and more energized. Take creatine after working out, with a side of carbohydrates. Here are 9 scientifically proven reasons to take creatine year round.
Beta-alanine is an amino acid which helps you sustain your strength over a longer period of time, as well as your endurance. Also, this amino-acid makes your creatine more efficient at a number of things, including muscle growth.