Take Protein After Workouts for Faster Recovery

Why Is Post-Workout Recovery Important?

Despite all your hard work in the gym, did you know that your muscles don’t actually grow while you’re lifting? Don’t worry, though, all your hard work isn’t for nothing!

Muscles grow during the recovery process. And they can’t grow unless you provide them with the building blocks they need for repair. Protein contains the amino acids your muscles use to repair muscle tissue. Supplementing with protein after workouts ensures that your body has everything it needs for proper growth and repair.

What is the Best Type of Protein to Use after Workouts?

There are many different types of protein used in protein supplements including whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, egg albumen protein, casein, etc. Some of these protein types are digested and synthesized faster than others.

Fast digesting protein, like whey protein isolate, is best to use after your workout because it is absorbed quickly by your body and starts working to rebuild muscle tissue immediately.

Whey protein isolate is probably the most well-known fast digesting protein. It has the complete amino acids necessary for growth and repair.

Whey protein concentrate is derived from dairy product. If you have an allergen to lactose, whey protein concentrate may cause digestive issues.
Whey protein isolate, on the other hand, is
lactose free and will not cause digestive
discomfort.

Hydrolysate:

Refers to any compound produced by hydrolysis.

Some studies suggest that there is an even more effective form of protein to use after workouts: Hydrolysate. Protein hydrolysates are even easier for your body to digest and absorb allowing for greater muscle tissue repair [1].

How Much Protein Do You Need after Workouts?

A recent study found that 20 grams of protein ingested after your workout is the ideal amount to stimulate protein synthesis [2]. In this study, healthy young men were given varying amounts of protein after performing resistance exercise. Muscle response was maximally stimulated when a dose of 20 grams was given. Any more than that and the muscles weren’t able to use the protein adequately.

If 20 grams of protein doesn’t seem like enough to you, consider this alternative recommendation: 0.15 to 0.25 grams of protein per pound of body weight.

Let’s say you weigh 175 pounds. Using this recommendation you would take between 26.25 and 43.75 grams of protein after a workout.

How to Use Protein for the Best Results

You could sit down to a meal of chicken and eggs after your workout. But many times it is uncomfortable to eat immediately following a workout. This is because during exercise your body shifts blood flow away from the digestive system and to active muscles and your lungs so you can work hard [3]. While this is beneficial during your workout, it can make it hard to get the nutrients and energy you need after your workout.

For the best protein absorption after your workout, consider using protein powder. It’s easier on your stomach and can be used more efficiently by your body [4].

Most experts recommend that you down your protein shake within two hours of working out. Ideally, you would take it almost immediately after working out so you can benefit from muscle healing
sooner.

Glycogen Stores:

Serve as a form of energy storage within the liver and muscles.

If you’ve ever finished a tough workout you know that sometimes protein alone doesn’t get your energy levels up quickly enough. To ensure that you can replenish Glycogen Stores, look for a protein shake that contains simple carbohydrates that will be easier to digest and will provide energy. Avoid using a protein shake with a lot of fat because fat slows down digestion and can keep the protein and carbs from doing their jobs.

Conclusion

You work hard in the gym and you want results. So don’t let your muscle building stop there.

Use a high quality protein supplement immediately after your workout so you can ensure optimal muscle growth. Before you know it you’ll be bigger than you ever thought possible!

Resources:

  1. Koopman et al (2009). Ingestion of a protein hydrolysate is accompanied by an accelerated in vivo digestion and absorption rate when compared with its intact protein. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 90(1); 106-115.
  2. Moore et al (2009). Ingested protein dose response of muscle and albumin protein synthesis after resistance exercise in young men. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 89(1); 161-168.
  3. Brouns, F; Beckers, E (1993). Is the gut an athletic organ? Digestion, absorption and exercise. Sports Medicine 15(4); 242-257.
  4. Paddon-Jones et al (2005). Exogenous amino acids stimulate human muscle anabolism without interfering with the response to mixed meal ingestion. American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism 288(4); E761-767
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