The post-workout window, some swear by it whilst others insist it doesn’t exist. I am firmly on the side of ‘’it exists and it can be used to your advantage.’’ For those of you who found that first sentence as about as clear as Latin, let me explain. After we lift weights the period afterwards (approximately an hour) is described as the ‘’anabolic window.’’ During this time it is said by some that the body is better equipped to make use of certain nutrients due to the fact it has just lifted a lot of weight and as a result turns the muscles into a ‘’sponge’’ when it comes to soaking up nutrients.
Hopefully that explains the idea a little better in layman’s terms. I am going to go into a little more depth now as to how it all works, why and most importantly how you can take advantage of it!
When you lift weight you stimulate a series of hormonal responses one of which is the up-regulation of insulin sensitivity. In simple terms what this translates to is the potential for your body to utilise carbohydrates (glucose) more effectively because the insulin will help drive the carbohydrates to the muscle cell where they will be soaked up like water in a sponge. Dr John Kiefer created a dietary system known as Carb Back Loading based on this theory, some of his work is mighty impressive – check it out. When you consider insulin is the most anabolic hormone in the body it stands to good reason that spiking it post-workout should elevate protein synthesis thus improving our rate of recovery. With that said consuming some fast acting carbohydrates in the post-workout makes sense. Anything which can convert to glucose fast is suitable as long as the fat content is low as this can hamper the rate at which digestion occurs.
Protein is also needed in the post-workout window; whey protein isolate is a firm favourite amongst the world’s top coaches. Consuming whey isolate is advised over other protein sources because it is digested very quickly by the body (due to the fact it is micronised). Combined with fast digesting carbohydrates you have yourself a near perfect concoction for recovery.
Over the past 6 months I have personally used PhD Whey HT+ because the ingredients list is supreme! What’s more in chocolate flavour it can only be described as divine. Get a massive 10lb bag with a FREE Team Monster T-shirt here for just £79.99!!
You will notice I used the word, ‘’near’’ perfect above. This is because to complement the cocktail of muscle goodness I would include BCAAs as part of my post-workout ritual. BCAAs are superb in this environment because they contain 3 separate amino acids which can potentially increase the rate of protein synthesis. Again, most of the world’s leading coaches prescribe BCAAs. Which BCAAs should you buy? I don’t think you can go wrong with Reflex BCAAs for quality and value.
Optimising your post-workout nutrition can help you take your physique to the next level!