Benefits of Post Workout Supplementation
Post workout supplementation is extremely important for all athletes. Consuming the proper nutrients after a workout can significantly help to reduce recovery time between workouts and possibly allow for greater gains to be made in the weight room.
To determine what type of food makes the best post workout meal, researchers performed a test using three meals all with different macronutrient combinations. The meals used were a protein only meal, and carbohydrate only meal, and a protein and carbohydrate meal. A water only meal was also used as a control. Results from the study are discussed in detail in this article.
Subjects for the study were 9 males that had been lifting weights for at least one year.
On separate occasions, each subject consumed a specific meal immediately and two hours following a strength training workout.
1. The meals consumed were a protein only meal, a carbohydrate only meal, and protein and carbohydrate meal, or a water only meal.
2. Immediately and for the following eight hours, each subject also had blood taken to measure various hormones including blood lactate, blood glucose, blood insulin, growth hormone, and testosterone.
The carbohydrate and carbohydrate/protein meal produced the greatest increase in blood glucose and insulin levels immediately following exercise. These meals also produced the greatest increase in growth hormone and decrease in blood testosterone when consumed immediately following exercise.
The application that can be drawn from these results is that carbohydrate or carbohydrate and protein meals are the most anabolic types of meals that can be consumed following a workout. Dino Pierce at bodybuilding.com further states, “Consuming the prescribed type of carbohydrates at the appropriate time mixed with protein creates the optimal anabolic environment.” The reasons for this are the decrease in testosterone levels and increase in growth hormone levels that occurred after each meal was consumed. The researchers of this study found that the decrease in testosterone was due to an increase in testosterone clearance in the blood, which indicates that muscle cells were using this testosterone to stimulate muscle resynthesis and growth. The increase in growth hormone may also contribute to an increased anabolic environment.
In summation, athletes should be always be certain to consume a post-workout meal that contains both carbohydrate and proteins. This meal should also be in liquid form since the body more easily absorbs liquids than solid foods. When determining what types of carbohydrate and protein powders to use, a maltodextrin based carbohydrate and whey protein powder make excellent choices. The reasoning for this is that both of these foods create large increases in blood insulin, which may further contribute to a more anabolic environment for the athlete.
Source: Chandler RM, Byrne HK, Patterson G, Ivy JL. Dietary supplements affect the anabolic hormones after weight-training exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology 76(2): 839-845, 1994
By Curt Pedersen