Pre and post nutrition are an important part of intelligently planning for a workout. Taking steps to have the right nutrition at all stages of a workout will maximize gains, minimize injury, and leave you feeling more energized. While pre workout nutrition can be standardized to some extent, post workout nutrition can be challenging to figure out. Many people struggle to figure out just how much protein they require after a workout. With that in mind, let’s take a moment to review existing literature to see what the right level of protein will be for you.
Need a very quick estimation? One of the easiest and quickest ways to begin is to follow this simple guide. For every hour you spend working out, combine 500 mL of water with 20 grams of whey protein, and for a more complete post workout nutritional routine add 30 grams of carbohydrates. This can be achieved by either adding a carbohydrate supplement to your shake or eating the equivalent carbohydrates from foods, like oats or multi-grain bread. Alternatively you can keep things simple by consuming a supplement designed to take the guest work out of post workout nutrition.
Planning For The Protein Window
It is important to know how long your body remains receptive to nutrients, as it can give you a good understanding of when and how much protein you should be consuming. As the body remains receptive for a limited amount of time, it is important to make use of this ‘protein window’ by eating enough protein within 24 hours of your last workout. Furthermore, research looking specifically at men found that 20 and 40-gram dosages provided the most benefit to individuals after they worked out. In particular, the research found that there seems to be a limited benefit to dose ratio. For those who took 40 grams, they showed a limited improvement over the 20-gram group. As it turns out, protein, like most other things has a limited benefit to amount ratio, while 40 grams is more effective than 20, going any higher may not substantially beneficial the user.
Planning For The Anabolic Window
Often you may see people writing about how you need to consume something within the first hour or so of exercising. The reason for this is because there is an anabolic window after strength training where protein is more effective. While it will continue being effective for up to 24 hours, you’ll benefit from consuming protein as early as possible, as the quicker it enters your body the quicker your body can use it to recover and develop muscle.
A Long Enough Workout
Not every workout is worth having a post workout protein boost. For example, doing light housework will not require a post workout meal. When it comes to thinking about post nutrition meals, only really consider them if you are working out more than 45 minutes, or if the workout you are doing is extremely intense. As with most things, it helps to explore and play around with it for a bit to find what works for you.