The market is flooded with protein powders and supplements. I have used them myself and there is not anything really wrong with them but I am a HUGE fan of food. Good old fashion food. When analyzing protein shakes, there are two main macronutrients: carbs and protein. How these companies get protein and carbs into their products varies by the sources they use (i.e. whey, egg, sugar, etc.) but the fact, and science, still remains, after a brutal workout, the body needs nutrients.
Exercise breaks down muscle. Protein helps repair that breakdown. Consuming the right amount of amino acids (protein) will help repair the damaged muscle. The amount of protein consumption varies within the population based on need. For example, a professional athlete needs more protein than a recreational power walker. Generally speaking, consuming 20-40 grams of protein after a workout should meet every dietary need.
In order to do work, muscles use stored glycogen (sugar) as an energy source. Eating carbs as part of a post workout meal helps replenish the depleted glycogen storage. When it comes to the meal itself, work off of a 3:1 ratio. Three grams of crabs for every one gram protein. If the meal has 40 grams of protein, then consume 120 grams of carbs. This is a generally rule and consumption can vary between exercise populations. An Olympian Power Lifter does not need as many carbs per meal as a marathon runner but a 3:1 ratio between carbs and protein is a great place to start and allows for adjustments to be made in the future.
When and What Should I Eat?
After crushing it at the gym, try to eat as soon as possible up to 45 after a workout. Because of this small time frame, protein shakes can be convenient (CNP Mass Building) but traditional food is always the best option. Here is a list of meals that check all the boxes without denying your taste buds.
· Grilled chicken with roasted vegetables.
· Egg omelet with avocado spread on toast.
· Salmon with sweet potato.
· Tuna salad sandwich on whole grain bread.
· Tuna and crackers.
· Oatmeal, whey protein, banana and almonds.
· Cottage cheese and fruits.
· Pita and hummus.
· Rice crackers and peanut butter.
· Whole grain toast and almond butter.
· Cereal and skim milk.
· Greek yogurt, berries and granola.
· Protein shake and banana.
· Quinoa bowl with berries and pecans.
· Multi-grain bread and raw peanuts.
Did I Mention Water? A gallon a day. Yes, one whole gallon. Everyday.