Post Workout Nutrition: the single most important element of your dietary regimen that will either net you massive results, or waste the effort you just put in at the gym.
People love trendy nutrition topics like the “importance of breakfast” debate, or whether or not eating before bed will make you fat. In all honesty, so long as you are taking in the total number of calories and macronutrients required to hit your goals at some point throughout the day, it does not matter when you eat.
Except for post-workout nutrition.
This is funny, because it’s often the meal that we pay the least attention to.
What I see all the time, after a workout, is that we do one of two things. We are either high on adrenaline and not hungry, and rush off to the next thing we have to do. (Hi, I’m Brenna and I’m busy). Suddenly the closest thing we get to refueling being the dry shampoo and deodorant we throw on.
Or, we simply pound a shake and call it a day. I was that person, 100%.
Guess which one of these options starves your body of glycogen, causing you to crash and burn? Or robs your muscles of the essential proteins they need to rebuild, causing them to break down even more? Which slashes your potential for building lean muscle and slowing your results to a crawl?
Both of them do.
Importance of Post Workout Nutrition
Before we get into the importance of post workout nutrition, let’s cover the basics of what happens to your body during a training session.
What Happens to Your Body During a Workout
During an intense workout, your body taps into your muscle glycogen stores to fuel performance. Our muscle glycogen is the stored form of carbohydrates. Kind of like the donut you hide from your kids or significant other for later.
You also create micro-tears in your muscles that need to be repaired and rebuilt with raw material in order to grow. Huge myth: that muscles grow in the gym. They actually do the opposite, they get weaker and more broken down in the gym. What you put in your body afterwards is what makes them grow.
Not what you had for breakfast, not what you eat before bed; what you eat in the 40-60 minutes after your last rep.
Towards the end of your workout, as your glycogen levels become depleted, your body switches from an anabolic state (where it is burning fat for fuel and building muscle) into a catabolic state (where it is breaking down protein for fuel and storing fat).
Guess what your body breaks down for energy if it doesn’t get a combination of fast acting glycogen and rapid assimilation protein? That’s right, your muscle tissue. Bye bye gains. And metabolism.
What Your Body Needs
Your body needs two things immediately after a workout, and none of them are chores, Chick Fil A or a nap.
The very first thing your body is looking to do after a workout is to refuel. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: your body doesn’t give a flying piece of fudge about your booty, bicep or six pack goals. Your body is only focused on survival- in this case, surviving you and your nutritional decisions.
Your desire to build lean muscle isn’t your body’s problem; keeping you alive is. Intense training elicits a fight or flight response. Basically, your body is hangry, even if you don’t physically feel hungry.
Why You Might Not Feel Hungry After Working Out
A side effect of training is that ghrelin, the hormone which stimulates hunger is suppressed. Additionally, Peptide YY, the hormone which signals satiety, becomes elevated. Because of this, oftentimes you won’t feel immediately hungry after working out. This is why the post workout regimen I’m going to recommend to you is especially useful.
What happens next is science, so stay with me: your body does things in certain ways. First, it replenishes glycogen. Second, it repairs the micro-tears in your muscle tissue and builds new muscle cells (we call these “gains”.) Still with me?
If all you put into your body after a workout is a protein shake, that shake does not get used for growth. Nope.
Why Your Protein Shake Is Not Reaching Your Muscles
Those protein molecules go to your liver, (taking the long way and further starving your muscles), and they get converted into glucose. This is because that’s what your body needs first.
Key takeaway: 30g of protein just became like 6g of protein, 60 minutes too late (because of processing) and absolutely no progress is made on your beach bod or your max squat. Bummer.
The second thing your body desperately needs after a training session is protein. Proteins are what are used to repair all of those microscopic tears we keep talking about that you put into your muscles when you work out.
Again, you don’t actually grow your muscles in training- you break them down. Your muscles grow through recovery, this is why getting enough sleep is optimal, and using correct post workout nutrition is essential.
Why the Type of Protein Matters
Not all proteins are created equal. After a workout, your body needs protein immediately, not protein later. You need to ingest a source that is going to proceed straight to your muscle fibers, not lollygag through the digestive system and show up fashionably late to the gain train.
You see lots of different terms thrown around regarding protein in the supplement industry today, and if you don’t know what they mean, it’s easy to grab one and say “good enough”.
However, if the protein you choose is a slow digesting, meal replacement protein (such as Level 1 Sustained Assimilation whey protein), it’s not going to reach your muscles fast enough. As a result, there is nothing to prevent your metabolism from breaking down even more muscle fibers for food.
(Save slow digesting proteins for convenient meal replacements at other times during your day.)
Common Food Mistakes I See People Make
Post workout mistakes that make your body say “wtf dude.”
- Eating nothing.
- Only eating a protein shake.
- Crushing a meal full of slow digesting carbs/fats/proteins.
- Avoiding carbs entirely post workout.
- Using the wrong type of protein supplement.
- Spending 27 hours taking selfies instead of drinking your post workout stack immediately.
When a Supplement is Better than a Whole Food
Before I continue, let me say this: typically a supplement is just a supplement. It maximizes the effects of quality training and nutrition. However, some are more necessary than others.
In cases like fortifying your diet with a greens supplement and vitamin pack, this is recommended because it is nearly impossible to get the full range of micronutrients that you body needs from whole foods alone, and often enough, to not have deficiencies.
In this case as well, no whole food is going to get digested rapidly enough to have the effects that your body is craving post workout. The associated complex carbs, fat molecules and fiber (although healthy in general) slow down the processing of the protein and carbohydrate nutrients that you body needs to bounce back.
Fun fact: Protein takes the longest and is the most energy demanding on your body to break down, which is why it’s so satiating. However, that has a negative effect on your recovery.
How Post-Workout Recovery Adds Up Into Big Results
The faster you bounce back, the faster you see results, the less likely you are to crash, and the the less sore you will be in the next hours and days. If you are crushing it in the gym, why would you sell yourself short on nutrition?
Think about it: by being deliberate about post workout nutrition, you are literally creating extra hours that you are building muscle and reaching your goals, without doing any additional work.
If you can enter a recovery state, where your lean muscles are growing, one hour faster each time you work out, that’s an accumulation of over 200+ extra hours of muscle growth and progress over the course of just one year.
By not doing this, you are going 100% in the gym and getting 40% of the results, and wasting your money on food and low quality supplements that aren’t doing the job you thought they were. You are postponing the reward of your results, regardless of what your goal is.
Right about now you’re like “FINE! I get it. What do I eat?”
I’m glad you asked. There is only one product on the market that accomplishes all of these things effectively, and this is why.
Post Workout Supplement Stack
There are two components to a post workout regimen, just like your body demands two things: Carbohydrates and Proteins.
These two products work together to immediately transition your body back into an anabolic state, skyrocket your lean muscle growth and accelerate your results.
There is no other product or food in existence that accomplishes this as effectively as what I am about to tell you about.
I Never Knew This
These are the products I use and love, my clients use and love, and I wouldn’t have taken five hours of of my day to write a blog post for your benefit about if I wasn’t 100% blown away by what they have done for my own training.
As a little backstory, I was absolutely that carbohydrate terrified girl for years. This was especially true after I left the gym, because how am I going to burn these carbs off if I already worked out?
I will tell you, overall I am carb sensitive and I don’t eat a ton of them throughout my day because I tend to crash. This really depends on your blood type and is totally normal and fine. We all know that I save 99% percent of my carbs for my donut calorie fund.
So! I was a little bit of a hard sell on needing to add carbs into my post workout supplementation, but once I did I knew immediately that I would never go back. To understand why I needed to switch proteins was a no-brainer, as you’ll see in a second.
*Ad: 1stPhorm does not run sales or promotions, because their products are high enough quality that there is constant demand. However, you can get free shipping by ordering through the links above, or at 1stphorm.com/halfpint .
Thank you for contributing to my donut fund- and the ability to do fun things like product giveaways.
Like we talked about above, the first thing your body is looking for post workout is to replace muscle glycogen as fast as possible.
You may think that the fastest digesting form of carbohydrate is pure sugar, but it actually is not. Sugar is a disaccharide made up of glucose and fructose. Therefore, it requires that extra step for your body to break those two components apart. Ignition post-workout formula is a monosaccharide, which means that it is immediately available to your body to use.
For you sciencey people who are now saying, “Wait, isn’t dextrose also a monosaccharide?” Yes. It is.
The difference that makes 1stPhorm Ignition a one of a kind product is that it is actually a dexanhydrose-glucose. Dextrose molecules are still bound to hydrogen molecules that you body has to render apart before it can use them.
Ignition is fully dehydrated to remove these molecules. This means that it is the most powerful substance available to support your maxed out goals, and using anything else will yield an inferior response.
Additionally, Ignition creates an insulin response within the body that is six times more powerful than that of table sugar, a banana, or gatorade, so save yourself a cavity and set down the gummy bears.
My first thought when I heard this was, “Wait, isn’t that bad?” Since we most commonly associate the term “insulin” in a negative context related to diabetes, let me clear up what insulin actually does and why this is so valuable.
Insulin is a naturally occurring, powerful hormone. Used correctly and timed appropriately (ie: in the post workout window), it will rapidly initiate lean muscle growth.
Insulin is like the secret password that allows nutrients to flood your muscle cells. A direct result of an insulin spike is that the muscle cell “doors” open, allowing your body to absorb and use an astronomically greater percentage of your protein supplement by shuttling it directly into the muscle cell for conversion.
Immediately after taking Ignition, your muscles are hit with the full impact of immediately available carbs and proteins, kicking you into recovery and an anabolic, muscle building state.
Additionally, Ignition contains a full micronutrient spectrum within its formula. As your muscles are flooded with lean tissue building proteins, they are also being bombarded with essential vitamins and minerals that you entire system needs to thrive.
When to Use Ignition
You want to supplement your post workout nutrition with Ignition after weight training, HIIT training, or long distance, intense, cardio training. (Sixty minutes or longer).
You do not need to use Ignition after regular, steady state cardio. For example, a 20-30 minute round on the elliptical machine, stairmaster, or going for a walk. The reason for this is that ideally your body is burning fat for fuel instead of glycogen during these activities. Therefore, your muscle glycogen levels are not going to drop significantly.
I recommend that men use a full scoop, and women use a half a scoop, but you can scale your intake based on the effort put forth in your training.
Specifically made for post workout. Like we talked about above, your muscles need protein, not slow-tein (see what I did there). There are two reasons why Phormula 1 post workout protein is maximized for speed: hydrolyzation and isolation.
Hydrolyzation means that the large protein chains are broken into smaller protein chains (dipeptides and tripeptides), so that your body is able to use them immediately.
Phormula 1 is basically the protein equivalent of having pre-check to get through TSA. You still make it onto the plane, like everyone else. You just have time to grab Starbucks first because you get there faster.
This is because airport security has already removed any red flags from your background. Therefore, they do not have to break you down into a barefoot and belt-less person on the spot, while you try to explain why a cream filled donut is not a liquid.
Hydrolyzation does the same thing. It pre-disassembles the protein molecules so that all your muscles have to do is use them. Making it the best rapid-assimilation protein supplement available.
The second reason why Phormula 1 protein is the most effective option for post workout nutrition is because it is isolated away from carbs and fats. This level of purity is why Phormula 1 is able to effectively maximize amino acid retention.
The product itself is low-temperature processed and micro filtrated. Even those who typically struggle with sensitivities to lactose are able to use it with no side effects. (Unlike with low quality proteins.) Not being bloated or gassy is a huge selling point for me, as someone who definitely does react to milk products.
How Low Quality Proteins are Made
Low quality protein supplements are processed at high temperatures. (Because the faster you can dehydrate the protein, the faster you can sell it to the masses).As a result, the protein molecules become denatured, like cooking an egg, and instead of using them to build muscle, your body will flush them out as quickly as it can.
Finally, Phormula 1 is one of the best mixing (is there anything worse than chunky protein?) and best tasting protein products out there. Personally, I’m partial to the key lime pie, but they also have a wide variety of other incredible flavors.
I’m going to give you a pro-tip right now: the cereal tasting flavors are the bomb dot com. Is there anything better than ice cold cereal milk? Obviously I mean besides donuts.
Just kidding- no quiz.
Hopefully now you have a better idea of why post workout nutrition is so important. I’m sure you also recognized a lot of habits that you may have been doing incorrectly until now.
I was guilty of a lot of the same things. Making those small changes has not only multiplied my progress, but helped me to be a more effective person the rest of the day because I’m not constantly crashing.
I would never recommend something to you that I do not use and believe in. If this little read brought up some questions, feel free to reach out to me here. Or use any of the social media avenues on the main page of this blog.