Many advertisers and “wannabe fitness gurus” will tell you what you need to take post workout, but what does science say? Do you need to take something post workout, and if so, what should you take?
What Happens to Your Muscles When You Workout?
When you workout, your muscles use their glycogen stores. This is true whether you are male or female. Glycogen is the chemical form of carbohydrates that are found in muscles. This is energy for your muscles when you workout. Once you are done working out, your glycogen levels are much lower than they were before you workout.
So we Need Carbohydrates After We Workout Because of Glycogen?
You do need simple carbohydrates after working out, but it isn’t just to restore glycogen levels. After working out, your body goes through a period of time called the “anabolic window”. Some argue that this period of time is as short as 30 minutes post workout, to multiple hours. During this time it is important to ingest protein and carbohydrates. With insulin levels high, the carbohydrates, protein, and amino acids will flood to the muscle cells. This will aid your muscles to get bigger, recover faster, and be stronger.
How Much Carbohydrates and Protein do we Need After Workout?
This question has a ton of answers. I suggest a 2:1 carbohydrates to protein formula post workout. I use approximately 40-80 grams of simple carbohydrates with 20-40 grams of whey protein post workout. You do not want to ingest a slow acting protein like casein, or a complex carbohydrate.
What do You Suggest Taking?
I would suggest a product like Ignition from 1st Phorm. It is specially made for post workout glycogen infusion. I would mix this with a scoop of Level-1 from 1st Phorm. This will give you 5 grams of BCAA’s, 24 grams of protein, and 46 grams of carbohydrates.
I just wanted to take a second to rant about the horrible reputation that carbohydrates have received the last 15 years. Once the Atkins diet took off, it made carbohydrates look like the ugly step sister of nutrients. Carbohydrates are the chief source of energy for your body. Although I agree with going “low carb” occasionally, I do not agree with it for long term purpose. I also said “low carb”, and not “no carb”. Eliminating carbohydrates is stupid and dangerous. You seriously need carbohydrates post workout and when you wake up!