Between a quick protein shake or a burger fries and a shake. Your post workout meal is just as important as any if not more. You’re probably thinking “okay macros macros macros” well yes macros are important but start to think “glycogen and insulin”. Those are what you should be concerned about post workout. Replenishing your glycogen stores and stopping protein breakdown whilst increasing protein synthesis both done by creating insulin spikes. Now what in the world does all that mean? No worries I’ll tell you.
Now to properly replenish your glycogen stores (replacing your energy) you need rapidly digesting carbohydrates. The two best carbohydrates for this are maltodextrin and dextrose. Before you freak out and think “that doesn’t make sense I’ll get fat” well relax no you won’t. They key with post workout nutrition is to not consume more calories than you burned but enough to assist in muscle building and appropriate recovery. Aside from being fast digesting carbohydrates maltodextrin and dextrose both create an insulin spike.
Insulin plays a large role in post workout nutrition because not only does it stop protein breakdown it also promotes protein synthesis which is how you’ll build muscle. Now you can’t just have those carbohydrates and you can’t just have your usual shake but by combining the proper ratio of both carbohydrates and protein your insulin levels increase twice a much than with the carbohydrates alone. Some other beneficial roles insulin plays as well is it opens up blood vessels allowing more nutrients, amino acids and carbohydrates to be transported faster.
Essential amino acids and water are the last two more commonly known items you need to add to your mental checklist when taking in your post workout meal. Now that I’m sure your head feels like it’s going to explode don’t freak out. Just remember don’t consume more calories than you burned and keep those four items on your checklist and you’ll be golden.