When it comes to working out, exercising, and getting in shape, it doesn’t matter whether you’re trying to lose fat, tone muscle, build muscle, get fitter, get healthier, or anything else for that matter, diet and nutrition is also crucially important. Most people don’t realise the sheer importance of following a healthy and balanced diet when trying to get in shape, and will instead use exercise as an excuse to binge on unhealthy foods as they will simply “burn it off” at the gym the next day. In reality, in order to make the progress we wish to be making, we need to feed our bodies with healthy nutrients in order for it to grow, recover, repair, and rebuild itself even bigger and stronger than it once was. You’ve probably heard people talking about the importance of protein post-workout, and how a post-workout meal or protein shake is essential when it comes to muscle growth and repair. Protein is indeed essential after a workout, but the problem is that, as there is now so much to choose from, people are wasting their money by buying the wrong protein and are therefore not seeing the gains they should be seeing.
Which proteins should be avoided post-workout?
The ideas behind a post-workout protein shake, is to get protein and the amino acids that make up protein, into the cells in your muscles as quickly as possible. After a workout, the muscles are actually anabolically primed for maximum nutrient absorption, which basically means they can temporarily absorb more nutrients than usual. This is known as the anabolic window and it lasts around one hour after a workout. For this reason, slow-release and slow-digesting proteins are out of the question, as the muscles wouldn’t have all of the necessary nutrients in time. Casein protein is a slow-release protein which is ideal for before bed, but not for just after a workout, so save your casein for before bed. Soy protein absorbs quicker than casein, but is still slower than whey, so soy protein post-workout is also not recommended.
Which protein is the best post-workout protein?
You’ve probably already guessed that whey protein would be our protein of choice, and you’d be absolutely right. Whey protein isn’t the number 1 sports supplement in the world for nothing, and not surprisingly, it is ideal for consuming post-workout. Whey protein is a fast-digesting, fast-absorbing protein that is perfect for consuming immediately after a workout. Make sure however, that you mix your post-workout whey protein shake with water, and never milk. Though milk tastes better and slightly bumps up the protein content, milk also slows down the digestion and absorption of whey protein, which is exactly the opposite thing you want immediately following your workout. For vegans, vegetarians, or those that cannot consume whey, rice and pea proteins are also very effective for post-workout consumption because they are also fast digesting proteins. Often they’re mixed together as the pea protein will provide additional amino acids.