So – there are loads of specific recovery products out there on the market but I chose to make my own. Why? Simple – it allows me to tailor my shake to exactly what I need.
Am I a chemist? No
Am I a nutritionist? No
Do I need to be any of the above to make my own shake? No
All ‘Recovery’ products out there tend to have the same recurring ingredients. Don’t worry, I can read your mind….. ‘’What are these ingredients?’’ ‘’Why are they important?’’ ‘’What will they do for me?’’ ‘’What sort of doses do I need to take them in, to make taking them worth while?’’
The magical ingredients that you tend to find in Recovery products include;
1. Protein Source
2. Carbohydrate Source
5. Branched Chain Amino Acids
There are no surprises that this features as one of the key ingredients in all recovery products. Protein is essential in recovery – when broken down the amino acids within the protein provide the tools to allow the muscles to repair – this results in repair and growth.
However, its not just a case of any protein will do – the key to quick recovery is replenishing the muscle as soon as possible; in order to do this a protein with a high Biological Value (BV) is critical. BV refers to the rate at which the protein can be absorbed. Ideally you should be looking for a Protein Isolate, or a Whey Protein. These proteins are pre cooked and digested, meaning our bodies have to do very little work in terms of being able to use them. Examples of a low BV protein would include Casein protein which takes several hours to be fully digested.
I add 30g Whey Protein Isolate to my post-workout shake
The protein provides the tools to repair the muscle, whilst carbohydrates provide the fuel source to allow that task to be carried out. By the end of your workout any fuel your body had been storing (glycogen within the muscle) will have been used up. Therefore, it’s critical to replenish this as soon as possible to give your body the energy it needs to begin fixing itself.
Just like the protein, you’re looking for a fast acting carbohydrate source. The speed at which a carbohydrate takes effect is measured through the glycemic index. The higher the GI value, the more of an effect it has on blood sugar levels, and the quicker the energy source is absorbed. High GI carbs (sugary foods) tend to be much simpler in composition and easier to break down.
When protein is consumed with a high GI carbohydrate source, the carbohydrate source acts as a delivery mechanism, driving the protein into the muscle. Studies have shown that the best results come from using a 2:1 ratio of high GI carbs to high BV protein.
Examples of high GI foods include children’s cereals, white bread, maltodextrin, dextrose, and vitargo.
I add 60g Vitargo to my post workout shake.
Considering the high GI carb source is driving the ingredients of the shake into the muscle, what else can we add to get the biggest bang for our buck? What else will help increase our recovery, whilst decreasing the ache that comes from Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness?
The product that revolutionised sports supplementation! Creatine is a natural compound held in the body. Additional creatine supplementation results in the body storing / holding onto more inter muscular water. Why is this important?Well it all goes back to fuel! The more water you hold, the more nutrients you hold in that water – therefore the more nutrients your body has to call on when recovering. Increased water retention results in increased endurance, and also increased perceived strength – as a result of the reduced onset of fatigue. This is a must have. Pre and Post workout servings of between 5g-10g have been shown to result in positive increases of performance.
I add 5g Creatine Monohydrate to my post workout shake
Often overlooked by the newcomer to bodybuilding, but L-Glutamine is a must have in your post workout shake. L-Glutamine is a specific amino acid. Its proven to increase muscle recovery, help keep the body anabolic (i.e prevents muscle wastage), decreases recovery time, improves CNS immunity and increases cell hydration. Therefore this works hand in hand with Creatine! All these factors combined results in a system that supports growth hormone production.
Similar to creatine, this is shown to work best in servings of between 5g-10g. This can also be taken upon waking, pre workout, post workout (as discussed) and before bed.
I add 5g L-Glutamine to my post workout shake
Branched Chain Amino Acids
Last but certainly not least important – BCAA’s nicknamed the building blocks of muscle refer to 3 of the more common amino acids; L-Leucine, L-Valine and L-Isoleucine. These 3 together are responsible for protein synthesis, making sure the body is getting the most of the protein and other essential acids its consuming. Protein synthesis sounds technical, but we interpret the products of this as muscle growth.
With all things post workout these are fast acting; 70% of BCAA's immediately pass through the liver and are "pushed" into the muscle tissue where the majority of the metabolism takes place.
BCAA’s are shown to work best when used in doses of 5-10g, with multiple servings throughout the day. Ideally these are consumed between meals, as well as pre, intra, and post workout.
I add 5g BCAA’s to my post workout shake
Following these guidelines you can put together your very own post-workout shake! With everyone being different it can sometimes help if you can add extra dosages of certain ingredients. If on the other hand you don’t want to make your own, then there are plenty of high quality recovery shakes available straight out of the box!