What happens when the post workout window closes?

mandy_press

Should I take a post workout supplement?

I get asked that a lot.
Generally, the answer is, probably not, but there is also an element of it depends.
So let's delve into it further.
Firstly, what is a post workout supplement anyway?
The standard concoction is some sort of easily digestible carbohydrate (ie sucrose/glucose/fructose), and then maybe protein (or amino acids, the building blocks of protein) in a powder form.  There are various other additions, that theorise a boost to muscle growth, recovery and performance, but carbs and protein are the main ingredients.   Because it's consumed as a liquid, it is digested rapidly, and absorbed into your system, thus beginning the process of glycogen replenishment in the muscles, and signalling those muscles to increase protein synthesis.
What is the post workout window?
The theory is simple.  After a workout, our muscle cells are better able to uptake glucose from the bloodstream, and the rate of muscle protein synthesis is at its highest immediately post workout.
Many research studies have validated this, and the supplement companies jumped on it, convincing us that this post workout window would SLAM shut on us if we weren't careful, rendering our hard work in the gym wasted!!  Which means that now it's common practice to take a pre-workout, an intra- workout, AND a post-workout in order to maximise this effect.
However, post workout muscle protein synthesis elevation actually lasts for up to 36 hours!!  And it takes up to 24 hours to peak.  So, sucking down a gallon of sugary water may not be all that necessary.
If your goal is simply health and fitness, then you probably don't need to take a post workout supplement.  Just have a great healthy meal within the next couple of hours - if the workout is particularly intense and long, add in some carbohydrates from kumara, pumpkin, or fruit.   If it was a standard strength training session, and a short conditioning session, (and particularly if fat loss is your primary goal) then some meat and fibrous veggies are all you need, with a nice drizzle of good fats.
If you are training multiple times a day, if you are trying to gain muscle, if you have a poor appetite, if you wont have the chance to eat for a few hours after your workout, then a post workout supplement may help.
Here's a couple of ideas for you:
SUPER SIMPLE (moderate length workout)
1-2 pouches of kumara baby food
10-15grams of BCAAs or 20-40grams of protein powder
INSTANT RECOVERY (for a long workout)
40-80grams of carbohydrate powder (Powerade type stuff)
10-15grams of BCAAs or 20-40grams of protein powder (whey, egg, or pea protein)
MEAL REPLACEMENT (after strength training and/or a short conditioning session)
1/2 cup frozen berries
1/2 cup pineapple
1/2 cup coconut milk
2 scoops of vanilla protein powder
1-2 tsp Good Green Stuff
1/2 avocado or a handful or raw pecans
FITNESS
Hang Power Clean + Power Clean
5 x 2, building

1 Minute Row, cals
1 Minute Rest
1 Minute Slamballs
1 Minute Rest
1 Minute Russian Swing
1 Minute Rest
3 Rounds for max reps

PERFORMANCE
Power Clean
Find a heavy 3 rep TnGo

1 Minute Power Clean 60/40kg
1 Minute Rest
1 Minute Pullups
1 Minute Rest
1 Minute KB Swing 24/16kg
1 Minute Rest
3 Rounds for max reps

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