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What Should I Have After a Workout?

Posted by Trainer Aaron on October 7, 2010

Most people already know about the post-workout meal. It’s already in every muscle and fitness magazine every issue. But what few people know is how to do it properly.

After a workout there are two things going on in your body that you need to take advantage of. If you do this properly, then the result is a leaner you. The first is that they body is scrambling to get nutrients to recover from your insane bout of sweaty effort. The second is that your muscles are very sensitive to insulin, which means this is the perfect time to recover and maybe even build muscle (even for the ladies).

Quick Note for the Ladies:

Even if you don’t want to “gain muscle” you should still consume a post-workout shake. You will not “bulk up” because of the post workout shake, but it will help you put on a couple (just a couple) pounds of muscle that will help you burn more calories, and keep the weight off long-term. Ultimately it will help you lose more weight than you otherwise would have, and it will reduce your next-day soreness.

The Post-Workout Shake

Your post workout shake should be a liquid protein shake. Though it is preferable to have a solid meal most of the time, this isn’t one of those times. After a workout you want liquid nutrition because it can get into the bloodstream, and therefore the muscle MUCH faster.

You should have roughly 1/4 your bodyweight (lb) in grams of protein from whey. This means if you are a 160 pound person, you need roughly 40g of protein from whey.

You should also include 15-20g of L-Glutamine in your post workout shake. If you are trying to lose weight then you don’t want to include carbohydrates. The problem then is that you still need to replenish your energy levels, and that’s where Glutamine comes in. Glutamine can be used to replenish energy levels in the absence of carbohydrates. Glutamine can also be a potent brain booster.

If you want to go the extra mile, then you can add up to 10-20g of L-Glycine to your post workout shake. Glycine helps to reduce Cortisol, the stress hormone, which is elevated by exercise. The more you can lower cortisol after a workout, the better your recovery will be. Glycine is also very good for the liver, but too much too soon can be hard on the liver. Start with 2g and increase 1g every workout until you reach your desired dose.

But What if I’m trying to Gain Weight

First, unless you’re under 10% body fat, then no post-workout carbs for you. But if you’re under 10% body fat and trying to gain weight, then carbohydrates can be very beneficial.

For post workout carbs you want to consume between 2-4g for every gram of protein. This means for our 160 lb individual mentioned above, they would have between 80-160g of carbohydrates added to their post workout shake.

Timing of the Post-Workout Shake

Recent research has showed that 80% of the recovery from a workout occurs within the first 10 minutes following the last set. This means that you should consume at least half of your post workout shake within this window. I recommend having your shake as ready to go as possible (maybe all you need to do is add water), and drinking the first half within the first 5 minutes of your last set. The other half can be drank over the course of 30-60 minutes following your workout.


1/4 your bodyweight in grams of protein from whey.  See our recommended protein.

20g of L-Glutamine.  See our recommended Glutamine.

10-20g of L-Glycine.  See our recommended Glycine.

1/2-1x your bodywieght in grams of carbohydrates (Sub-10% body fat only!)

Mix with water and consume at least 1/2 within 5 minutes of your final set.

Two Weeks Left to Get Your Free Bodyfat Test. Schedule Now

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