It is important to note that post-workout nutrition is the single fastest growing branch of research. There is a massive amount of mis-leading information and some that is being mis-interpreted.
Post-workout protein drinks are a widespread misconception. The reasons are simple and a walk down the common-sense pathway will help prove my point.
After the workout your body is warm, depleted from glucose stores. Your blood vessels are dilated and busy pouring fresh nutrients back into your muscle cells and other important areas, such as your brain and peripheral nervous system.
Studies have shown that high carbohydrate meals associated with a post-workout offer the quickest recovery for athletes. Some minor amounts of protein are helpful to provide enzymes to aid in the carbohydrate digestion, but not high protein content.
Another physiological issue is the massive amount of blood in the muscles, but not available in the digestive track. Large amounts of blood are necessary to achieve the ultimate complete digestion of protein.
When you intake protein drinks post-workout, several negative issues are present to deny the complete digestion of the supplement. The lack of proper digestion since your body is geared to “fight” is the main concern.
The majority of post-workout protein is simply wasted and converted into fiber and becomes bowel waste. This is obviously not the desire of most athletes.
The best time to absorb protein is prior to the workout. This allows for the best and complete digestion. To further point out that most isolated protein drinks will completely digest in less than 1 hour.
Protein is converted into amino acids are stored and are easily available to help with post-workout recovery. A good rule of thumb is to maximize protein intake 2 hours following a workout and to maximize carbohydrate intake while your body is still sweating after training.
Another maximum benefit of the high carb post-workout meal is the natural stimulation to increase insulin. This triggers a cascade of elevated growth and sex hormone production, resulting in a massive amount of positive changes to promote faster recovery.
Carbohydrate intake also helps restore the brain to depleted glucose. This enables the maximum ability of the nervous system to aid and boost the recovery process.
Supplements are very helpful, but taking them at the right times is critical to achieving their maximum benefits. Solid research would require serum blood studies taken in sequential intervals and also combining paralleled expensive hormone levels.
Your body plays a simple role in the correct answer as to what works best for you. Try starting with a pre-workout meal that is higher in protein and lower in carbohydrates with minimal fat. Use high post-workout meals that are very high in carbohydrates and yet have some slight amounts of proteins.
After a few weeks of training, switch the ratios around and see how your workouts, sleep and your general feeling throughout the day is. Keep a simple diary and use a 0-10 scale to measure your over-all feelings for the previous factors.
About the Author
Dr. David Ryan has an extensive background in both coaching and playing professional sports, and has been the team physician for several highly ranked teams. Dr. Ryan now serves as the current Co-Chairman of the Arnold Sports Festival (www.arnoldclassic.com) and is a former Medical Director of this internationally acclaimed event.
Dr. Ryans numerous articles have been published in International Medical Journals, Muscle & Fitness Magazine as well as on the popular BodyBuilding.com website. Visit Dr. Ryans home page on here: www.drdavidryan.com and his YouTube page here.