Progress is dependent upon your nutrition. Replenishing vital nutrients post workout is important for optimal recovery and muscle growth. You can hit the squat rack three times per week, but if your diet and post workout nutrition routine is not optimized for optimal adaptation and performance enhancement, you can forget about the gains you’re hoping to build. We’re going to talk about the best recovery drink and what ingredients to include in your post workout nutrition routine, to build and push you closer to the body, physique, and performance goals you want.
What Is Post Workout Nutrition
An important aspect of any athlete, or any individual looking to improve muscle hypertrophy, strength, or body composition, is what you eat after your workout, aka post workout nutrition. Post workout nutrition is important to replenish depleted nutrients while training.
As your body performs strenuous exercise your breathing gets faster, and your body starts to shuttle more oxygen into your working muscles. The body prefers to use aerobic methods to generate most of its energy, meaning with oxygen. However, when your body cannot keep up with delivering enough oxygen required to create energy to perform activities such as lifting heavy weights, your muscle generate energy anaerobically.
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This energy comes from a process known as glycolysis, in which glucose is broken down into pyruvate and releases energy for ATP resynthesis. In the absence of oxygen, the enzyme pyruvate converts into a substance called lactate, which allows glucose to breakdown for more energy.
The ingredients ingested immediately post workout are crucial for several biological processes that enable the muscle recovery and muscle growth process.
Optimal post workout nutrition is crucial to help your body
- Glycogen resynthesis, replenishing energy reserves
- Initiates muscle protein synthesis, which is the building of muscle mass and inhibition of muscle breakdown
- Electrolyte replenishment for optimal hydration and muscle contraction
Best Post Workout Drink
Nutrient dense carbohydrates, otherwise known as complex carbohydrates, replenish energy reserves as well as rapidly stimulate the muscle building process muscle protein synthesis.
This macronutrient gets a little bit tricky. Carbohydrates are the major fuel source in energy production. They support high-energy demand during pro-longed endurance activity and moderate exercise. Yet, there tends to be a major disconnect between what carbohydrates are best for post workout and for whom.
Most carbohydrate supplements and post workout drinks are made with sugar or sugar-based substrates maltodextrin, or dextrose. These types of post workout drinks can help replenish energy production and help in the muscle rebuilding process, especially amongst elite and endurance athletes. Most consumers or gym enthusiasts do not need or benefit from a maltodextrin-based carbohydrate supplement. If body composition is of any importance, I would also highly suggest staying away from these types of post workout drinks, as they do contain a large amount of added sugar and calories.
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Complex carbohydrates such as sweet potatoes, yams, and oats, have a slower glucose and insulin release, resulting in even sustained energy and better workout recovery. Simple carbohydrates like sugar sweep glycogen into your system and spike energy levels, followed by a crash, and resulting in unwanted body fat gain.
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The best post workout drinks will also contain protein. Protein is responsible for initiating muscle protein synthesis, building more lean muscle mass, improving body composition, and optimizing your workout recovery. In its most simple form, protein is comprised of essential amino acids (EAAs) which provide critical biological value by inhibiting muscle protein breakdown and accelerating the muscle recovery process. More protein in your diet, will help build more lean muscle mass, while preserving the muscle mass you already have.
Studies suggest that a combination of nutrient dense carbohydrates and protein together, yield the greatest performance benefits and post workout optimization [R].
Post workout drinks which contain essential amino acids (EAAs) are also of value when initiating muscle protein synthesis, in combination with carbohydrates. Ingesting protein will have the same effect as EAAs.
A great post workout recovery drink from a macronutrient stand point – chocolate milk. If you want added sports nutrition ingredients, with carbohydrates and protein to further optimize, Swolverine’s POST is the way to go. Better yet, mix POST with chocolate milk.
Coconut water is one of the best post workout drinks, rich in electrolytes, sodium, calcium, potassium, and magnesium as well as valuable micronutrients. Research indicates that coconut water replenishes and rehydrates your body post workout better than water alone [R].
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Working out results in a fluid loss at least for those that actually work-up a sweat when training In a typical workout, you can lose anywhere from 2-6% of your body’s water weight just by sweating. The loss of water and electrolytes, coupled with not replenishing them, effects recovery times, oxygen levels, and nutrient deliveries contributing to muscle wasting and a poor removal of waste from the blood stream. Coconut water can help replenish vital electrolytes and rehydrate your body for better recovery and performance.
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Pomegranates are rich in vitamins, essential minerals, and polyphenols. As one of the most nutrient dense fruits in the entire fruit ecosystem, studies have shown that pomegranates may benefit a wide modalities of training protocols, due to its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory capabilities, and nitrate content. Nitrates stimulates the release of nitric oxide which facilitates oxygen, blood, and nutrient uptake directly to muscle tissue, which can improve post workout recovery times, delay muscle fatigue, and increase strength.
A large body of evidence investigating the effects of pomegranate on athletic performance have shown that pomegranate has the potential to enhance endurance, strength performance, and improve post workout recovery by conferring antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects and improving cardiovascular responses during and post workout [R].
Pineapple contains a group of highly effective digestive enzymes for post workout recovery and reducing muscle damage, called bromelain. Bromelain is rich in proteolytic enzymes, or proteases, which help metabolize proteins into amino acids. Once protein is broken down, it is much more readily absorbed. (This is the exact reason why Swolverine adds protease and papain from papaya, in our Whey Protein Isolate.)
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Studies have shown that bromelain can ease and enhance digestion for better digestive health. Bromelain contains powerful anit-inflammatory effects which can enhance and optimize post workout recovery by reducing inflammation, helping improve joint pain, swelling, and mobility.
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Best Post Workout Recovery Drink: Takeaway
Post workout recovery is a critical component to help you reach your health and fitness goals. Replenishing glycogen, electrolytes, and ingesting protein immediately after exercise will help improve gains in muscle mass, strength, and improve muscle soreness and recovery time. The best post workout recovery drinks will contain carbohydrates, protein, and antioxidant rich fruits and ingredients, such as beets, pomegranate, and/or tart cherry as well as natural electrolytes from coconut water and pink Himalayan salt.
Looking For The Best Post Workout Supplement To Help You Add More Muscle And Recover Faster?
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