Protein consumption after workout is very important. Here are are a few reasons why post workout consumption of protein is essential to your health.
Finding the “anabolic window”
Research shows that eating high-quality protein after an exercise session promotes muscle growth and repair, while also helping you lose weight. Some researchers believe the window for getting the most benefit from a post-workout meal is within 30 minutes. However, a recent study indicates that a meal eaten within 4–6 hours of your workout is fine. This means that while the sooner, the better is the rule of thumb, you don’t have to chug your protein shake the second you put the weights back on the rack.
Pick the best post-workout source
While meat, eggs, fish, and chicken are all great sources of protein, they take awhile to digest, meaning the full benefits of consuming protein post-workout may not meet the optimum window. Your best bet for a post-workout protein boost is a shake made with whey protein powder, a fast-acting dairy protein low in carbs and fat. Other good post-workout protein choices include Clif bars and good ol’ chocolate milk.
Combine protein with carbohydrates
But not fat. Fat slows down digestion right when your muscles need to absorb the protein and carbs most. Your body will use the carbs to restore muscle glycogen that was used during your workout. Otherwise, your body may just break down muscle tissue to replace the glycogen, which would defeat the whole purpose of your workout.
What kind of carbs should you have with your protein shake? Mix in simple sugars such as dextrose to your shake—maybe from a sports drink or a powder—or you can eat some white rice or corn flakes. Any of these sugar sources speed the absorption of the protein by your muscle tissue.
Don’t forget a pre-workout boost as well
Eating a small amount of protein—5 to 10 grams should do—just before you start exercising helps your body meet its needs for amino acids and optimizes the gains from your workout.