They say that building muscle is 40% exercise and 60% nutrition, in fact, some people say that it is 20% exercise and 80% nutrition, or 100% exercise and 100% nutrition. Basically, nobody has an idea, and the phrase is pretty meaningless anyway. What is true that if you are looking for optimal results, then you need to exercise hard and eat right.
While getting your nutrition right throughout the days and weeks is the most important thing, post-workout nutrition is still crucial. You might have heard about the anabolic window, and while it’s unlikely that skipping a post workout protein shake will harm your muscles, taking one might give you a 1% improvement compared to someone who forgot.
If you think that 1% differences are not worth your time, then you are thoroughly missing the point, building muscle or losing fat is all about small changes combining over time to produce big results. You’ll get better fat results from lowering calories by 20 per day for 6 months, then you will dropping calories by 500 a day and then quitting after 3 weeks of misery.
It needs to be easy to take, and easy to carry with you. If you want success, then you need to create a habit much like brushing your teeth when you wake up. Finish your workout collect your bag and coat, and take your post workout supplement. Simple.
Your supplement should be high in protein as post-training your body will require additional protein to repair damaged fibers, and rebuild bigger muscles. Whether you are looking to build muscle or to lose weight, you should be trying to get a high protein meal in as it can raise your metabolism, help your burn fat, and build bigger muscles.
Ideally, your supplement should also be enjoyable so that you see it as a treat rather than a chore. A really nice tasting whey protein shake or perhaps a protein bar will make you look forward to taking your supplement after a tough workout.
As mentioned before, whey protein is probably the ultimate post-workout supplement. The protein is fast-digesting which means that your muscles will be able to absorb it almost immediately after a session. It’s also usually got a high protein to calorie ratio which is great for people looking to lose body fat and is cheap to buy meaning you can stock up on it.
Whey protein can also be mixed with other supplements such as creatine, or carbohydrates, depending on your goal. People who are on bulking programs can really benefit from taking post-workout carbohydrates to produce an insulin response. This increases the uptake of protein to the muscles and can help rebuild and repair the damaged muscle fibers.
A lot of supplement companies sell amazing mass gainers that combine high amounts of carbohydrates, high amounts of protein, and in some cases creatine monohydrate too! Check out our article on the top 10 mass gainers to learn more.
Of course, creatine supplements taken on their own are also extremely effective, creatine is basically a form of “energy currency” that is used to produce muscular contractions. The more creatine you have stored in your body, the more contractions you can perform.
Exercising can lower your creatine stores, and it is difficult to increase them through diet, so anyone who is serious about lifting should be taking some form of creatine. Studies have shown that taking creatine post-workout is slightly more effective than post, so while the choice is up to you we’d recommend taking it as a post-workout supplement. Check out our guide to the 10 best creatine supplements of 2017 for more information on which product suits your needs.