How To Effortlessly Recover From Your Workouts

If you've been working out for some time and reading about nutrition, then you've probably stumbled across a good bit of information (and misinformation) about post workout (PWO) recovery drinks.  A good recovery drink will help you quickly recover from a strenuous workout.  In my own experiences, a good recovery drink along with restful nights of sleep are the two most important factors in recovery.

I've been using different kinds of post workout drinks over the years and have settled upon a recipe and formula that is working well for me and saving me a few dollars over the more expensive pre-bottled ones available online and over the counter.

Before I get to the recipes, lets spend some time understanding why its so important to have a good recovery drink:
    •    Your muscles are weaker after a vigorous workout. 
    •    Protein breakdown is increasing and protein synthesis is either flat or declining (and this is bad even if you're interested in just losing weight because muscle mass drives metabolism). 
    •    Glycogen (carbohydrate stores in your muscles that are needed for high levels of activity) is depleted. 
    •    Your body in the 60-90 minutes post workout is hungry and extremely receptive to protein and some supplements. 
A good protein rich recovery drink can stop the muscle breakdown and assist in the growth of muscle.  So what are the building blocks of a good recovery drink?
    •    Whey Protein Powder I prefer using whey only since it digests more quickly than casein and other protein powders.  While we typically want our foods to digest slowly there is a window of opportunity for your PWO drink (60-90 minutes) to do its magic and the faster it digests the sooner it goes to work. 
    •    L-Glutamine Powder Plasma glutamine levels can also be suppressed after heavy physical exertion so its important to have a dose of glutamine. 
    •    Creatine Powder Post workout is an ideal time to maximize creatine uptake into our muscles so always supplement with creatine right after the workout. 
    •    Maltodextrin This is optional and of benefit to individuals who are very lean (less than 12% bodyfat) and workout regularly.  You can order bulk maltodextrin online and add it to your post workout drink.  Its contained in the fancier over the counter recovery drinks (the ones that cost $3-$5) but online maltodextrin can be obtained rather inexpensively by the pound. 
There are two variations to my recovery drink.  The first variation is for when I'm focused on weight loss and when I'm dieting. I'm only concerned with preserving lean body mass and more conscious of caloric intake so there aren't as many ingredients.

The recipe I use while I'm dieting:
    •    1 handful of ice cubes 
    •    8 oz water 
    •    2 scoops vanilla whey (choose your favorite blend) 
    •    1 heaping tbsp of micronized creatine 
    •    1 heaping tbsp of glutamine 
    •    1 tbsp of honey 
I blend the above vigorously for about 3-5 minutes in a blender at top speed.
The recipe I use while I'm either in maintenance or looking to add weight:
    •    1 handful of ice cubes 
    •    8 oz of 2% milk 
    •    2 scoops of Maltodextrin 
    •    2 scoops vanilla whey 
    •    1 heaping tbsp of micronized creatine 
    •    1 heaping tbsp of glutamine 
    •    1 tbsp of honey 
    •    1 tbsp of peanut butter (for the healthy natural fats) 

Again, I blend it vigorously for about 3-5 minutes in a Vitamix blender at top speed.  The key differences here are the introduction of more calories and complex carbohydrates.  The additional calories are nice so I can maintain my body weight and the maltodextrin is great for restoring muscle glycogen stores.
I've found that depending on the brand of whey protein you choose and also how you measure out the handful of ice cubes you may end up having to increase or decrease the amount of water you put into the recovery drink.  It could be too runny or too thick.  It just depends and a little bit of experimentation will go a long way.

One last thing, from all the research I've read online about post workout recovery drinks and protein synthesis you have a window of sixty to ninety minutes to maximize the uptake of all these nutrients.  This means you have more than enough time at the gym for a quick shower and time to get home to make this in the comfort of your kitchen.
I hope you enjoy it

Author Mike Stone

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