It’s widely known that in order to perform your best, you need to maximize your post workout recovery. We formulated PostWod to do just that. While everyone knows you need your post workout protein and carbohydrates it’s less understood why. Let’s take a trip back to exercise science 101 and get a quick refresher course.
While these delicious little macros get a bad wrap for putting on the extra pounds, post workout is no time to turn them down. Carbohydrates are a vital part of the post workout equation. One reason we are told to consume carbohydrates is to induce a pancreatic secretion of insulin, which is supposed to send muscle building into overdrive. This isn’t entirely accurate. While insulin is anti-catabolic it doesn’t have the same muscle building or protein synthesis properties that amino acids provide. Carbohydrates also convert to glycogen, a form of energy stored primarily in the liver and skeletal muscles. When you engage in intense anaerobic exercise (like weightlifting for time) you want to keep glycogen stores as full as possible for maximum performance. When glycogen stores become depleted performance suffers and the rate of exercise induced muscle breakdown is greatly accelerated.
Now here’s what’s cool, in the moments immediately after your muscles are glycogen depleted from a crazy workout the body can “super compensate” the uptake of glycogen into the muscle, storing more than they had before becoming depleted. This can also give you a nice post workout carbohydrate pump. This becomes even more beneficial when performing multiple workouts during the day. Hopefully your competitors have neglected to take this course!
Now to the stuff that dreams are made of. Well maybe not dreams, but it is what muscles are made of and that’s damn close!
When it comes to building new muscle there is no better time to choose protein, fast protein (we’ll get to that in a minute), than immediately following a workout. The reason why has to do with the stimulation of mTOR commonly referred to as protein synthesis, the action of creating new muscle. This is a painstakingly slow process. You add a gram here one day couple the following days, it all adds up to some noticeable slabs of muscle but the process can take months, even years! Here are some factors that influence protein synthesis that you can use in your favor.
- How active are you? The more you move around, especially resistance training the more protein you body will utilize.
- How much muscle do you have? The more muscle you have the more protein it takes to flip the switch to build more.
- How old are you? The older you get the more protein your body needs to maintain it’s current mass, even more to ask it to build new muscle.
- How are your hormone levels? Elevated levels of growth hormone, IGF-1, and testosterone are anabolic hormones that tell your body to utilize proteins to build more muscle. Conversely cortisol, a stress hormone will decrease protein synthesis significantly.
While you can’t just choose to change your hormone levels here are some things you should be doing to maximize you chances of high or normal hormone levels.
- Get plenty of sleep.
- Lift heavy weights.
- Take Vitamin D.
- Eat healthy fats.
Post workout choose a fast acting protein that will quickly deliver a rush of amino acids to the muscle tissue you just broke down. Whey protein is an excellent choice and the protein we relied on exclusively in PostWod.