Post workout supplements can be an athlete/gymrat’s best friend when used properly. These bad boys help your muscles recover faster so that you can get back in the gym or on the field faster than a bodybuilder can eat a chicken breast.
Many people, especially beginners, don’t realize how important post workout supplementation is. Many people think that simply because they eat properly and/or they consume protein supplements, they don’t need to do anything else. That’s (un)fortunately partly true. Partly, because you’re in much better position when you eat properly and deliver lots of proteins than if you didn’t do it. So this is the bonus. But if you don’t deliver required nutrients straight after your training, you are wasting so called ‘anabolic window‘, the time when body requires more fast absorbing nutrients. The time that is crucial for muscles recovery and growth. Many people claim that the ‘anabolic window’ is a myth. Even if it is, there’s no harm in delivering nutrients straight after workout, when your muscles are wasted and starving.
Please remember that hard trainings are just the beginning of muscle building process. By working hard, you break muscle fibres, that need to be rebuild bigger and stronger. You, ultimately, send a message: body, we need to focus on growing bigger muscles. But if you send this kind of message, but don’t deliver required nutrients, then your muscles won’t grow. Can you remember the allegory to building a house with no bricks, we often use? Well, this is it. And directly after training, your muscles are avid for nutrients! Yes, your body can deliver them later on, but the assimilation and delivery to the most demanding areas won’t be as effective, as in the ‘anabolic window’!
In general there are two approaches to fulfil this requirement. Either you choose your own stack or a ready mix. Whichever you think is better for you. Ready mixes are definitely more convenient, but don’t let you adjust nutrients. Despite the approach, you need to remember what shall be delivered straight after training, to start immediate and effective recovery.
High quality proteins are the most important ingredient. The more pure, the more BCAA, the better the source is! This is why whey protein isolates are the best choice for this time. Despite bad reputation, fast absorbing carbohydrates are crucial after training, as, thanks to glucose. It doesn’t really mean you should go for a can of coke or something. Try something different, like chocolate milk, honey, juice. Carbohydrates intake may differ depending your ultimate goal, nevertheless, don’t forget to deliver them after workout, to rebuild glycogen levels in your muscles. They work extremely well when combined with proteins. Please make sure to deliver not too much fat, as fats slow down glycogen rebuild. L-Glutamine is also quite important, as it helps improving nitrogen levels, which counteracts fall of protein synthesis. It also releases glutamine in muscles.
No matter whether you believe in ‘anabolic window’ or not, delivering carbohydrates combined with proteins straight after workout can benefit in larger, lean muscles. They need those nutrients, as after workout as they are depleted from them and glycogen rebuild is most effective shortly after training although it does continue up to 48 hours after one.