Tuesday Tip: Post-workout Protein 🥤
The post-workout protein shake is a common sight at gyms, but do you really need protein immediately after your workout? Well yes and no, and here’s why.
# 1 What was the workout?
If it was a short, low intensity session then no. If it was a long (90 min), weights based session then possibly yes. Protein is needed for muscle repair and building so you may need protein after a long, tough weights based workout. BUT even if your goal is to add muscle you only need a little protein post-workout to kick start recovery. If you take too much your body can’t metabolise it and stores it as fat. Short, low-intensity sessions don’t require you to rush to refuel unless you’re already hungry.
#2 Carb to protein
It’s more important to refuel with a combo of carbs and protein. A ratio of 4:1 or 3:1 of carbs to protein is ideal. The protein kick starts recovery and the carbs replenish energy stores in muscles. For 15-30 mins after a long workout the enzymes which pull carbs in to muscles peak. If you miss that opportunity the enzymes are no longer able to pull carbs in to your muscles which starving them and inhibiting repair.
#3 But what about after I’ve done weights?
You’re unlikely to deplete your muscle’s carb stores during a weights session anyway so you don’t need to rush to get a protein shake in. Instead just make sure you get protein via a balanced meal within 2 hours of your workout.
So you really don’t need to bother unless you’re training for long periods (90 mins), at high intensity (or you’re a body builder). At best you’ll be wasting money on shakes you don’t need, at worst you’re adding a load of extra calories which are just going to be stored as fat. You need to eat protein throughout the day so aim for around 1.2 – 2g of protein per kg of bodyweight. For most people, eating a balanced diet, you’ll get this from your meals so there’s no need to boost the protein further. If you do longer training sessions, or are very hungry after a workout, then the perfect post-workout snack is actually chocolate milk – a perfect ratio of carbs and protein (dairy or soya milk), or some greek yoghurt and fruit.
Happy Tuesday 🤗