How to make the perfect post workout shake
You’ve just finished your workout. You’re hot, you’re tired and you’re sweaty. The first thing you feel like doing is having a shower. But what about your post workout nutrition? And before you say, “I haven’t got time. I’ll eat later”, we don’t want to hear it.
Many gym goers are unaware of the importance of post workout nutrition, which means they often skip meals due to a lack of time, or even worse, to consume less calories. Well, even if you’re looking to cut calories, the worst time to do it is after your workout when your body’s metabolism is operating at its highest rate and desperate for food.
So forget the excuses and learn about what goes into the perfect post workout shake.
Why are post workout shakes important?
Okay, so you understand that post workout nutrition is important, but why?
Reason 1: We all know when we exercise the body uses energy. In the body, carbohydrates and sugars are stored in the liver as glycogen. When muscles require energy during exercise this glycogen is converted into glucose – our body’s number one source of fuel. However, these glycogen stores are limited, therefore once used up, like a car, they need refuelling.
Reason 2: Also, when we exercise, the extra stress exerted on the body causes tiny tears in muscle microfibres. As these tears repair themselves, this is where we gradually see changes in body shape, increases in muscle mass, and fat loss. You may already know that muscle tissues in the body are primarily made of protein, therefore to adequately repair these microfibres we need protein in our diets.
Reason 3: Glucose is the body’s number one source of energy, however, it’s certainly not the only source. During times of intense and prolonged exercise, the body often resorts to breaking down muscle tissue (instead of fat). This is called proteolysis. When this happens, amino acids from broken down muscle are used for energy.
How do post workout shakes work?
Post workout shakes should have a balance of carbohydrates and protein.
When you consume simple carbohydrates, these can be delivered to the muscle and broken down quickly to restore glycogen stores. By consuming a good source of protein, this can help to aid the recovery and repair of broken muscle fibres so you can see results faster. What’s more, protein can also help fire up your metabolism further via thermogenesis.
What should I put in my post workout shake?
There are so many different types your post workout shake – it’s difficult to know which to put in your post workout shake.
Whey protein is different to many other proteins. This is because when consumed, whey protein breaks down and absorbed by the body at a quicker rate than other types of protein. This means your starved muscles are quickly provided with a fast-acting source of protein that can act to repair torn muscle microfibres.
For those with strict diets or looking to compete and get down to minimal body fat, keeping carbs to a minimum is often required, but even for some of these dedicated professionals, carb cycling is still an important part of their dieting technique.
By adding a generous serving of simple high glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrates in your post workout shake, for example dextrose or maltrodextrin, you can significantly increase the rate of protein-synthesis and speed up the body’s nutrient absorption.
You may think complex carbohydrates are better for releasing energy – this is both true and false. Complex carbohydrates provide a slow release of energy, but after a workout your starved muscles need a quick source of energy and carbohydrate. That’s why it’s important to consume high GI carbohydrates in your post workout shake and low GI complex carbohydrates later in the day.
Although fats such as seed and nuts are healthy, it’s important not to overdose on the good fats straight after a workout as this can slow down the release of protein to the muscle cells.
Other supplements to put in your shake
L-Leucine is an essential amino acid, which means it can’t be made by the human body and therefore must be consumed through the diet or from dietary supplements. Leucine is the most investigated BCAA due to its important role in protein metabolism, exercise recovery, glucose homeostasis and insulin action.
HMB, or Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methylbutyrate, is a metabolite of the branched-chain amino acid leucine. Research has shown that HMB may be an effective performance aid for athletes and those engaging in regular exercise, by reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle damage, while increasing lean body mass, strength, peak onset of blood lactate accumulation and VO2 max.
Click the recipe below to find out exactly how to make your own post workout shake:
If you don’t have time to make a post workout shake, we’ve got you covered with our all in one post workout protein shake formulas.
Our articles should be used for informational and educational purposes only and are not intended to be taken as medical advice. If you're concerned, consult a health professional before taking dietary supplements or introducing any major changes to your diet.