As everyone knows, proper actions taken right after training are of key importance for good regeneration. A significant issue in this regard is to provide your body with an appropriate dose of nutrients. In most cases, in the time immediately after workout a perfect solution seems to be smoothies. In this article I will explain how to make them.
Years have passed since discussion and disputes on which components are critical after exercise have started. The matter is additionally complicated by the fact that there are many factors differentiating needs of your organism. A lot depends on:
- specifics of the effort (for example: after a strength training it is crucial to ensure adequate amount of amino acids),
- composition of your pre-workout meal (the less carbs you had delivered before training, the more you may need after exercise to induce an appropriate insulin response),
- purpose and specifics of your diet (if you train to gain muscle mass and you are on a high carbohydrate diet, the post-wokout period is ideal to take a portion of saccharides)
- distribution of training during a week and a day (if you have two sessions a day it is essential to quickly complement muscle glycogen reserves; if, however, second session takes place in at least 24 hours, there's no need to hurry up).
Since individual approach would have to make this article way too long and would probably still not address all problems and questions, I will focus on a universal solution recommended for all persons whose training includes elements of resistance, whether the aim is to reduce fat level, build muscle mass or improve capacity. Of course, these priorities may vary composition of a cocktail so I will try to give clear explanation that every reader could get a clue how to change the proposed recipe to suit their own needs. Ok, ready? Let's start.
What do you need after physical effort?
After physical exertion your body shows increased demand for energy components, building elements, sometimes also electrolytes and of course: liquids. The issue of adequate hydration is a topic for a separate article. I only want to emphasise that with prolonged effort, in particular at a high temperature, fluid loss may be large and at the end of the activity it should be your priority to make up the fluid loss. A very important aspect is also stoppage of muscle catabolism though providing sufficient doses of building and energy substrates - and here we come to the core of this question: that is to the issue of post-exercise body needs. Your organism requires relatively rapid delivery of components such as protein and carbohydrates. Research also shows that it is leucine that helps to intensify muscle protein synthesis. Admittedly, leucine is a component of dietary proteins but an additional dose may increase the rate of regeneration of muscle tissue. Post-workout period is also a good time for adoption of creatine. And a dose of citrulline may reduce DOMS: muscle soreness.
How to make the perfect smoothie?
Theoretically, you could rely on producers of dietary and nutritional supplements for athletes and simply purchase a finished product for post-workout consumption. It's not a bad idea but in this case you have not much possibility to interfere in components proportions. You also have limited knowhledge of what you acutally drink for manufacturers like to use "reserved blends" of various substances, some of which represent almost superfluous ballast that adds nothing particularly useful to the recipe. What is also important is that such solutions are sometimes quite expensive. So the alternative is mixture of your own creation. Of course, you can aid yourself with supplements and powders of particular nutritional uses, but you can also reach for conventional food like for example fruits.
Ingredients to make a post-workout smoothie include:
- protein powder - concentrate or whey protein isolate is a perfect source of easily digestible protein, it may be tasteless, and you can find it at MyProtein, Mount Olympus or SFD. A recommended dose of protein is about 0.4 - 0.5 g per kg of lean body mass.
- a portion of fruits - it is recommended to choose fruits that provide balanced doses of glucose and fructose and at the same time little fiber. An example may be bananas which also provide a good dose of alkalining potassium and vitamin B6 involved in the metabolism of amino acids. A good idea will also be peaches and nectarines although a portion of berries is also advisable. A dose of carbohydrates should depend on the purpose, the specificity of your training and dietary guidelines.
- leucine (amino acid that plays a key role in initiating synthesis process by stimulating mTOR kinase. Although its high dose is present in whey protein, there are reasons to believe that addition of certain quantities to a cocktail will further strengthen anabolic response of the organism). A suggested dose of leucine is about 5-10g, however, you should take into account the fact that this amino acid has awful taste and can make the cocktail inedible. Optionally, leucine can be taken separately and sipped with your smoothie.
- creatine - a substance with a strong anabolic and ergogenic properties, recommended both to those who build mass and strength and those who reduce body fat. A proposed dose after workout is 4-5g.
- still water or full-fat milk (to dissolve the ingredients mentioned above), although the idea of milk may seem quite controversial, it is good to know that scientific research has proven this product to support post-workout recovery. But milk should be chosen only by those who tolearte it well. If your demand for carbohydrates is greater, instead of milk add some... ice cream! But then the water will also be needed to make your cocktail.