Since I began resistance training around the age of 14 there has always been the discussion of the famous “Anabolic Window”. I subscribed to many magazines for several years and several different articles highlighted different ways to go about post workout nutrition and supplementation. Depending on who you talk to, there could be a heated debate about what way is the “right way” to go about your post workout routine.
Typical Bro Science Post Workout Routine
Immediately following the workout consume some sort of whey protein. Following this, some sort of meal is consumed (depending on the individual’s routine 30-90 minutes following the workout). This has been around for years and years. I myself have followed this method for around the first 9 years of my training. Some people would also supplement with branch chain amino acids during their workouts or even a simple carbohydrate.
New Bro Science
I have used the new bro science method around three years, and this is what I will continue to use for reasons I will later explain. Immediately following the workout a branch chain amino acid supplement is consumed. 20-30 minutes following the workout a simple carbohydrate is consumed. 50-60 minutes following the workout a meal of more complex carbs and a source of protein is consumed.
Actual science shows that post workout nutrition is very important. Generally, studies have shown that consuming something is better than nothing. Fats (especially higher fat foods) should be avoided because fat reduces the rate of digestion and thus slows the absorption rate of carbohydrate and protein. A study conducted showing the differences between consuming protein vs carbohydrate actually showed that protein was more important than carbohydrates. The study used a 2:1 protein to carbohydrate ratio. This ratio was determined to be the best outcome at replenishing glycogen and best overall recovery. The type of protein/carb drink used in the study was a typical ready to drink protein supplement that contained some additional carbohydrates and a small amount of fat. (Lynch 2013)
With all the studies and different opinions, what should an individual looking to recover the best and get the most out of all that hard training do for their post workout routine? I believe an individual should do what makes them happy and what they are comfortable with. Regardless something should be consumed within 1-1.5 hours following training. There are too many factors that would determine what is best for each individual including training duration, type of training, training intensity, total daily protein/fat/carbohydrate consumption, age, current hormonal levels, and many more. Do what you are comfortable with and enjoy doing.
Most importantly be consistent.
That way you can experiment with different routines and find the one that is best for you. I would suggest following a post workout routine for 6-8 weeks and then evaluate the results. My best advice would be to train hard and train often. You can’t help but have results following that philosophy!
My Post Workout Routine
Immediately following the workout: consume 8-15 grams of branch chain amino acids
20-30 minutes post workout: 30-60 grams of simple carbohydrate (Gatorade powder is my carbohydrate of choice)
60 minutes post workout: 80 grams old fashioned oats, fruit (ex. Banana, apple, berries), and one scoop of whey protein. All mixed together.
This is how my post workout routine has been for about three years now and I love it. The best part about this is I no longer have to deal with putting whey in my shaker bottle, letting it sit around for over an hour during my workout, and then dealing with the repercussions of the smell it creates. Everyone knows what I’m talking about! I remember growing up and my dad being furious with me about my shaker bottles while he was washing the dishes.
I still consume whey but it is mixed in with my oatmeal and not put in a shaker bottle. I still consume whey for a meal replacement from time to time but it isn’t sitting in my shaker for hours. I mix the whey and quickly rinse the container before the effects (smell of whey residue) can ruin the shaker bottle.
I started doing this because I watched several videos and read many articles about growth hormone release following resistance training. The theory behind this is that growth hormone release is highest following the workout. When carbohydrate or protein is consumed, insulin is released and this causes the growth hormone release to stop (not getting the most out of the growth hormone). The branch chain amino acid’s role is to prevent catabolism of muscle tissue and will supposedly not cause a spike in insulin release or elicit a small amount of insulin release.
Keep in mind this is only a theory. I also enjoy mixing a creatine supplement with the simple sugars post workout. This ensures I do not forget to take the creatine and masks the taste of the creatine powder. I use this and enjoy it every day!
I gained a lot of muscle growing up while consuming whey immediately following my workouts. I also look the best I ever have while doing this new routine. There are several other ways to go about post workout nutrition and this only highlights a few of them. There are so many different types of proteins and carbohydrates an individual could experiment while finding their right routine. I encourage everyone to find what works for you and most importantly enjoy what you are doing!