Many people ask what is the most beneficial protein to take post work out. A few years ago the best advice would have been as much protein as you can drink, but as research goes on this may not be completely accurate.
After your strength workout your body will have depleted its carb levels. In turn your body will begin to breakdown protein and potentially reduce muscle mass as a result of your training. Your body will naturally return to a normal level about 24 hrs later, but that’s 24hrs in a catabolic state!
Our aim is reduce this turn-a-round period as quick as possible, get glucose back into the body and get back to an anabolic state, not catabolic.
When you ingest carbs (glucose) you will raise insulin levels. The more simple the glucose source the higher the insulin level will rise and the quicker glucose will be shuttled into the muscle and stored. Insulin will also stimulate vasodilation again increasing the supply to the muscles.
Going back to where we started, a post work out drink with a high protein level could cause a release of glucagons (an antagonist of insulin), therefore reducing insulin levels and minimising any carbs shuttling activity.
Glucose drinks alone will stimulate a quick rise in insulin, however a glucose/ protein drink has been shown to have a better effect in rising insulin levels.
It is recommended that a drink containing roughly 0.8g per kg of body weight in glucose and 0.4g per kg in protein should be used. This should be consumed as soon as possible post work out. You need to choose a glucose and protein that is quickly ingested, dextrose or maltodextrin are both suitable for glucose whilst whey protein is one of the quicker absorbed proteins.
To increase protein synthesis you could add in some branch chain amino acids such as leucine. This has shown to have a very beneficial effect in raising protein synthesis and taking the body back to an anabolic state.
So don’t fall into the trap of just gulping down a protein shake after your workout. Think smart, follow the guidelines above and maximise your training with good post work out nutrition.
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