|What PW drink should I use?|
For information about specific
products that we use and recommend for workout nutrition, check out
the “recovery supplements” section of Supplements.
|Can I just use any whey protein and Gatorade?|
Better than nothing? Definitely.
Optimal? No. The short answer is that post-workout, your
muscles need nutrients sooner rather than later and a whey concentrate
/ isolate don’t cut it in that regard. You need something faster.
With that in mind, for a home brew, you’re best off using whey hydrolysate
and a combo of maltodextrin and dextrose. Custom protein companies
like trueprotein.com and proteinfactory.com make it easy to purchase these ingredients
separately and customize your workout nutrition.
|Isn't sugar bad for me? Wouldn't fruit be better?|
Honey and banana’s are simply
sugar dressed up in a fancy outfit (primarily). Moreover, they’re
the wrong type of sugar for post-workout. True they’re more
nutrient dense but your non post-workout nutrition sees to micronutrient
intake. Your post-workout nutrition should be focused on macronutrient
intake – that is consuming the appropriate types and proportions of
carbs and protein.
Remember, with exercise we’re
‘tricking’ the body into believing and treating sugar as though
it’s in fact good for you. So the normal concerns of consuming
an empty kcal source don’t apply.
|Can't I just eat a banana and whey protein post-workout?|
You can but it’s far from optimal,
and will potentially limit the progress you make in achieving your performance
and physique goals. Whey powder in the form of concentrate or
isolate takes longer to digest, delaying the time it takes to reach
the muscles. The type of sugar in bananas also isn’t optimal for recovery
because ‘fruit carbs’ preferentially serve to refill liver glycogen
leaving for a less than optimal replenishment of muscle glycogen.
|If maltodextrin is a complex carbohydrate, why use it PW?|
Maltodextrin is a glucose polymer,
a string of glucose units put together, similar to the protein peptide.
It is therefore, by definition, a complex carbohydrate. However
its more complex nature does not slow digestion, and thus, both
the glycemic index (GI) and insulin index (II) remain high.
Maltodextrin is the absolute best
carbohydrate to consume during exercise for rapidly delivering blood
glucose and for muscle glycogen recovery. It is also best for fluid
|Why both dextrose and maltodextrin?|
The reasons for including both
are discussed in detail in this post .
|Should I use PW drinks even though I want to lose fat?|
The answer is that it depends.
In deciding which peri-nutrition strategy to utilize, you need to consider
several factors, along with your goals. The individualization guide
in Precision Nutrition is your best resource for determining how to
tailor workout drinks to optimize both your performance and body composition.
To follow a discussion on this
topic, check out Peri-Workout Meals versus
|What if I want to build muscle and lose fat?|
A good approach is to start out
by using a carb + protein drink both during and after your workout.
The amount is dependent on the individual but anywhere from 10g of protein
+ 20g of sugar all the way up to 40g of protein + 80g of sugar (this
high end would be for relatively lean hard gainers). From there,
judge your progress on a weekly basis. If your body comp isn’t
changing as you’d like and the rest of your diet is in order (eating
according to PN), you can either reduce the amount of carbs and protein
in your drink, or if you’re already at or near the low end, switch
in BCAAs + glutamine during the workout and consume a protein + carb
drink when the workout is complete. The portion size of your post-workout
drink will be determined by how much lean mass you have, and how long
and strenuous the workout was.
|What if I have poor carb tolerance and gain fat easily?|
Possibly, although carbohydrate
tolerance improves vastly with resistance training so don’t shy away
from carbs until you know what your individual post-workout carb tolerance
level is. If you find that supplements, such as Surge, aren’t
right for you, the non-carb alternative is to consume high doses of
BCAA with added glutamine. General recommendations are in the
range of 10-40g of BCAA and 20-60g of glutamine. If you go this
route, split the dose into workout and post-workout drinks – half
the full combined BCAA and glutamine dose in each.
|What about after an energy expenditure bout?|
This will depend on the intensity
and duration of your exercise session, as well as your goals, and is
discussed in What Constitutes Intense
|Should I consume starchy carbs after an energy expenditure bout?|
You will find a discussion of workout
nutrition strategies in What Constitutes Intense
|What do I need for recreational sport?|
You will find a discussion of workout
nutrition strategies in What Constitutes Intense
|What is 'intense training' in terms of PW drinks?|
To determine if your training warrants
a recovery drink, check out the full discussion in What Constitutes Intense
|I play competitive sports; what PW drinks do I need?|
It depends on what sport we’re
talking about but yes, second and third generation recovery drinks (those
with protein + carbs + aminos; first generation being beverages such
as Gatorade) often do offer great benefit during sporting events.
The portion size of the workout
drink will of course depend on your sport (intensity, duration etc.),
along with your individual characteristics (body composition, body type,
|What are BCAAs and when should I consume them?|
To read up on BCAAs, check out
the thread All About BCAAs. As far as how to incorporate them in
your meal plan, here are the BCAA protocols recommended by JB himself.
If you find you don’t fall into one of the categories listed below,
then you probably don’t need any extra BCAAs. If you are making your
own PWO shake and you want to add some BCAA I would suggest simply adding
5-10 grams to your protein and carb shake.
|If I workout 2x/day, should I do 2 PW drinks?|
If both the exercise bouts are
of sport specific or resistance training nature, you will likely require
workout and post-workout recovery drinks.
If one of the bouts is energy expenditure
or mobility focused, or is not demanding enough to warrant recovery
drink measures, then no, you likely won’t need to.
|If I workout 2x/day, should I do 2 PW meals?|
As with the workout drinks, it
depends on the type of workouts you’re performing. If sport
specific or resistance training focused where recovery is key, then
yes, you’d likely benefit from and be able to handle starchy carbs
after each bout.
Conversely, if your workouts or
one of the workouts is energy expenditure or mobility focused, or not
demanding enough to warrant recovery measures then you won’t need
to take in starchy carbs for recovery purposes.
|What are my best choices for PW carbs?|
solid albeit less than exhaustive list would be –
Potatoes, pasta and breads will
work for some but not all – even after a workout. So it’s important
to monitor your progress and adjust your sources as necessary. Also
note that many people do well by eliminating gluten from the diet even
if they don’t exhibit obvious symptoms of gluten intolerance.
|Does a brisk walk count as a workout to have a PW meal?|
Unfortunately, the answer is no.
Going for a brisk walk is of course better than sitting on the couch
and highly encouraged but it doesn’t put your body in the same state
as a more intense workout would.
The above being said, if you’re
physically limited (fitness, illness, etc) such that walking is your
only form of exercise, and you’re unable to cut starchy carbs cold-turkey,
you can start off by scheduling these foods in the time following your
walks. Then as you progress, you can either move up to more intense
exercise or you’ll have to cut down back / remove the starchy carb
For those who have good carb tolerance,
you very well may be able to eat starchy carbs after a walk but that
has much less to do with the walk and more to do with how your body
would handle the starches anyway.
|Do I still need to eat before a morning workout?|
follow the discussion and get the full explanation for why you should
eat prior to training, check out Morning Workouts.
|Do I get PW drinks and meals if I workout at night?|
The answer is yes you can! Despite
what many of us have been led to believe, it is not so much the time
of day that makes the difference in how our body deals with carbohydrates
- it has more to do with your body’s physiological state in terms
of its ability to handle certain nutrients.
If you have just completed an intense
weight training session, your body is going to need to replenish its
muscle glycogen stores. Due to this increased demand following a workout,
your body will be much less likely to store the carbs as fat. So the
good news is, even if you lift weights at night, you still get to eat
those yummy carbs!
|What about using glutamine for recovery?|
is a lot of conflicting information about glutamine.
Early speculation suggested that
glutamine would be beneficial to building muscle and in the prevention
of overtraining. The problem was that this speculation was mostly
based on theoretical physiology. Most of the actual data revealed that
in weight lifters and athletes, there were NO BENEFITS of glutamine
supplementation on muscle mass, strength, or prevention of overtraining.
JB included Glutamine in “Surge”
because there is some evidence that when taken with BCAA and carbs,
there is a synergistic insulin response. There also seems to be
substantial evidence that glutamine exerts some positive effects on
the G.I tract, and may be helpful in reducing ileal inflammation.
There are so many theories for
how glutamine can be used and in what conditions – the key is that
more data is needed to see which are worth the costs.
Further reading and links to references
on this supplement, can be located in the thread Glutamine.
|What about CNS recovery?|
To follow the discussion on this
topic and learn about optimal CNS supplement doses,
read up on Nervous system regeneration
|Will I get GI upset with recovery drinks?|
An optimal post-workout drink will
use whey hydrolysate powder as its protein base. This form of
whey powder, while not entirely hypo-allergenic, is tolerated to a much
greater extent – even by those with significant dairy (and whey) intolerance.
If you still find that GI upset
is an issue, you can find some strategies in When Whey Just Isn't For
that you can use to determine if your symptoms are related to your protein
|What about creatine PW?|
You will find lots of information
about this supplement in All About Creatine.
As for general dosage recommendations,
5g of creatine in your post-workout drink should be sufficient.
Loading and mega doses shouldn’t be necessary.
|What about beta-alanine PW?|
Research and experience with beta-alanine
is still pouring in so these recommendations may very well change in
time. With that understood, beta alanine is best used by those
individuals performing endurance exercise at 1-2g before, during and
after the session.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that there may be some recovery, body composition, and strength benefits associated with beta-alanine supplementation with it, so the resistance training community and sprint athletes should stay tuned.
|What about chocolate milk post-workout?|
Lately many folks are recommending chocolate milk as an ideal post exercise drink. And this is based on some research (funded by the Dairy Council) showing that chocolate milk performed as well Gatorade and better than Endurox in a time to fatigue exercise trial.
The 9 fit athletes who took part in the study were asked to work out strenuously on a stationary bicycle, then drink low-fat chocolate milk, a fluid-replacement drink like Gatorade and a carbohydrate replacement drink like Endurox R4. A few hours later, they were asked to cycle again until they reached exhaustion.
The test was repeated three times — once with each kind of drink — and the data showed that the cyclists were able to go between 49 and 54 percent longer on the second stint after drinking chocolate milk than when they drank Endurox. The difference between the milk and the Gatorade wasn’t significant.
So, from this rather singular (and questionable research), chocolate milk became the new post-workout drink of choice for some folks.
The key here, though, is that such a huge % of the population has problems with milk. As a result, recommending it en masse is irresponsible, in my opinion. From GI problems to overblown immune responses, mucous build up, etc. these adverse reactions to milk can kill performance and actually negatively impact your health. Further, there are plenty of data to suggest that milk is now loaded with hormones and pesticide residues that can also have adverse effects on the body. So I’m concerned about ALL milk lately – not just the chocolate kind.
In the end, unless you’re 100% okay with milk and have no adverse reactions, I recommend choosing a different post exercise option.