drinking-protein-shakeYour post-workout nutrition is by far one of the most important meals of the day. Your energy will be running low from the exertion that you just put your body through, and your muscles will be trying desperately to repair themselves. It comes as a shock to me that most people I come in contact with at the gym don’t get their post-workout required nutrients. Why? If you’re putting yourself through all that hard work, doesn’t it make sense to give your body what it needs to progress and recover? That’s like running a race then slowing down at the end to let everyone else pass you!

Post-workout nutrition is critical to help recover your body, as well as refuel for the rest of the day’s regular activities. Just like the runner in a race, falling short of completing the task will leave you without progress. Put simply: You’re working for nothing…

I don’t know about you but I go to work each day so I can get paid. Just like the pay check is the reward in this situation, so are your fitness results when working hard in the gym each week.

Most people tend to get caught up on trying to see results too fast. The consequence of this will come with a lack in motivation or maybe a disbelief that the time you’re spending in the gym has gone to waste. Don’t fall into this trap! If you give your body the nutrition it needs to recover, then it will undoubtedly reward you in time.

So let’s get into the “meat and potatoes” of our post-workout nutrition…



Ever wonder why protein has been made such a big deal when working out? The answer to this is simple. When our bodies are put under stress (lifting weights etc.), the muscle fibers within our muscles start to break down due to the extra resistance. Naturally, the body will start to repair itself immediately. The amino acids in protein are considered the “building blocks” of this process. If protein isn’t present in the muscle cells during this anabolic window of recovery, your muscle fibers will heal back to their original state, leaving you with little to no gains.

Remember the pay check scenario from up above? Don’t be the person who’s working for free. No one likes to work for nothing.


Each person will need a different about of protein depending on how much muscle your body currently holds. I recommend a minimum of 25grams post-workout. The maximum number of grams your body can absorb will depend on your own digestion. If you’re looking to add muscle though, your diet should consist of 1-2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day. When you divide this up into 5-7 meals, the amount of protein may be somewhat higher. Just keep that in mind…Now, there are a variety of different types of protein sources used in the recovery process, however Whey Protein will give you the best results when seeking muscle growth and repair. Once you are done with your workout, there is a 30-45 minute anabolic window that begins to close. It is extremely important to get protein into your system within this set time. Muscle fiber recovery has already started so don’t wait too long!

I’ve been asked a lot recently about whether it is OK to eat a post workout meal with high protein instead of drinking it through a protein shake. The answer is yes; this is perfectly OK. Given that some people do not like the taste of Whey or they prefer a solid meal in their stomach, I can understand the different preferences that we all favor. However let me remind you of the anabolic window of 30-45 minutes. With this short amount of time, the digestion process for solid food will mostly likely take longer than that of a liquid source of protein. Liquid will flow right to the source of absorption in the small intestines which will put you at the front of the line for recovery, ahead of food. So remember this when choosing your post-workout protein sources.


Just like pre-workout nutrition, post-workout nutrition will also need to consist of carbohydrates. Some people will tend to leave this part out given that protein has been put at such a high importance in our fitness society. What many people fail to realize is that most of our energy sources have been depleted during the previous workout. Once the session is over, that energy must be replaced somehow. If it isn’t, our bodies are forced into “starvation mode” and will start using our hard-earned muscle as fuel (catabolism).

Even the muscle repair process in itself requires energy. Spiked insulin levels post-workout will help push all of those nutrients and amino acids into the muscle cells as fast as possible. Back in the Arnold Schwarzenegger days, it wasn’t uncommon for a competing bodybuilder to drink a full glass of chocolate milk after exercise because of its high levels of sugar and protein from milk. The best part of this is that our bodies do not typically favor any specific type of carbohydrate post-exercise.

There have been numerous studies on this topic over the years; however no specific evidence favored healthier carbs over simple sugars. When the body starts its recovery process, it is looking for energy as fast as possible. Creating an insulin spike within the blood stream will ensure the most beneficial recovery.

This doesn’t mean eating candy bars or high sugar snacks with excess fat though! Moderation is always important in any aspect of a nutrition regimen.

So how many grams of carbs should I be taking in?

This will all depend on your own individual goals. If you’re looking to lose fat then that number may be lower compared to someone trying to gain muscle. A recommendation in the fitness world is to consume anywhere from 20-25% of you daily value of carbs in your post-workout meal.


Protein and carbohydrates should be at the top of your list when choosing your nutrition post-workout. Liquid meals will absorb much faster as compared to solid food, so choose wisely. Remember, if you give your body the nutrition it needs, then it will without a doubt reward you! Hope this article helped answer some questions. See ya…


-Mitch Muller

C.P.T. MindsetFitness.net