Nutrition plays an essential role in exercise recovery. From muscle building to replenishing energy, getting the right amounts of your macros is essential to ensure your next workout is fueled properly. As with all nutrition recommendations, those for exercise recovery vary from person to person depending on body type, goals, training load, type of training and what each individual’s stomach can tolerate after a workout.
It is well known that protein following high intensity resistance exercise induces muscle protein synthesis (aka gains). After a workout, especially one that involves heavy lifting, a 20-30 gram load of protein in the hour immediately following is recommended. Protein powders are a quick and convenient way to achieve this goal. We recommend whey protein within the hour following a workout as it is easily digested and considered a “high-quality” protein with high concentrations of essential amino acids for muscle synthesis.
Carbs + Protein
Adding some carbohydrates to that post workout snack may encourage those gains even more. Research has shown that ingestion of both carbohydrates and protein, together during the recovery period, enhances both recovery and muscle synthesis more than just protein alone. If your goal is performance, a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates:protein in your recovery meal or snack is recommended. For example, 30 grams of protein should be accompanied by 60 grams of carbs to replenish muscle glycogen (energy). If your goal is weight loss or weight maintenance, lower ranges of carbs during recovery is adequate.
|Sources of High-Quality Protein for Recovery|
|The following food pairings provide a 2:1 ratio of Carbs:Protein (about 40 grams carb and 20 grams of high-quality protein)
16 oz. Fat Free Milk + 1 small banana3 oz. Beef + ½ cup Brown Rice2.5 oz. Chicken + ½ cup Quinoa
1 cup Plain Greek Yogurt + ½ cup blueberries
¾ cup Cottage Cheese +1 small apple
Keeping up with protein needs can be difficult for some athletes, and supplementing with casein protein can be beneficial in continuing to stimulate muscle protein synthesis through the night. Casein protein is slower digesting than whey protein,and provides a slow and sustained release of amino acids, leading to increased muscle protein synthesis, especially when taken in the evening. It can be found naturally in foods like Greek yogurt and cottage cheese.
If you are looking for a protein powder check out Ascent Protein. They offer both whey and casein protein powders to meet your training and recovery needs.
Why we recommend Ascent to our athletes:
- “Nutrition Fact” panel versus “Supplement Fact” panel, meaning it is tightly regulated by the FDA to ensure all claims are not false or misleading (many other supplements are not)
- Minimal Processing Techniques = High Quality Whey Protein for Muscle Repair and Synthesis
- Clean and Recognizable Ingredients
- High Leucine content to support muscle protein synthesis.