Protein shakes are are a healthy, quick and easy way to get in nutrition after a workout. Physical activity that stresses the muscles causes muscle fibers to break down. Protein, as well as rest and other nutrients, is essential for the growth, maintenance and repair of muscle, contributing to hypertrophy and increased strength gains. The timing of postworkout nutrition is essential for these strength gains as well as ensuring optimal recovery.
Drink a protein shake within one hour after working out. There is a window of time where the body reaps the most benefit from nutrition postworkout. Ideally, drinking a shake 15 to 30 minutes after a workout allows the body to take up the nutrients at a quicker rate to allow repair and recovery.
Add simple carbs to your protein shake for ongoing tissue growth and repair. The body is able to process carbs more efficiently after a workout since insulin sensitivity is decreased. This enables the body to absorb the amino acids that form protein more efficiently to aid in muscle recovery. If you are making your own shakes, add carbs in the form of fresh or frozen fruits, such as a banana and a cup of mixed berries, which additionally provide important vitamins and minerals.
Drink a protein shake first thing in the morning in addition to directly after your workout. The body is in a fasted state during sleep and no protein has been consumed. A person who is generally active may risk going into a catabolic state, wherein the body breaks down muscle for fuel. Ingesting a protein shake first thing in the morning prevents this muscle breakdown and makes more protein available to the muscles for fuel.
Add whey protein to a shake as the foremost supplement choice over other protein powders. Whey is one of the most easily digested proteins, made readily available to the body within 20 to 30 minutes after consumption. Other milk proteins, such as casein, and soy are also beneficial but do not digest as quickly as whey. Add a scoop or two, approximately 20 to 30 grams of protein powder, to your shake depending on your needs and workout intensity.
Combine protein powders to receive maximum nutritional benefits postworkout. Whey protein may be combined with a soy protein isolate, casein, egg or rice protein sources. A possible combination might be a cup of milk, a casein protein source, a scoop of whey and soy protein and a carb such as a banana. Since they digest at different rates, your body is still receiving the benefits of the additional proteins a few hours postworkout.
- Consider trying different flavors of protein powders, such as vanilla or chocolate, for additional sweetness or improved taste.
- Always consult with a health professional before initiating new dietary changes.
- Be aware of any allergies you may have to dairy or soy. Consider alternative protein supplements such as hemp or rice products.
- The Protein Power Lifeplan; Michael R. Eades and Mary Dan Eades
- The Eat-Clean Diet: Fast Fat-Loss That Lasts Forever; Tosca Reno
- Liquidlibrary/liquidlibrary/Getty Images
This article reflects the views of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the views of Jillian Michaels or JillianMichaels.com.