Post-workout nutrition is critical and almost as important as overall nutrition. When it comes to weight training or exercise, during which muscle tissue is being torn, the body craves outside nutrients in order to facilitate muscle-protein synthesis, i.e. muscle repair and growth. Every supplement guru will recommend an essential post-workout protein, but they often forget a critical aspect: glycogen levels.
After a rigorous weight-training session, the body's glycogen levels are depleted (i.e. energy reserves), and its metabolism begins to search for other means of energy. The first thing that it will begin to break down is muscle tissue, which works against your training. A post-workout meal should consist of a hydrolyzed whey protein + a carbohydrate matrix, such as dextrose.
Dextrose, also known as glucose, is a monosaccharide that is rapidly absorbed by the body. When pairing a dextrose matrix with a hydrolyzed whey protein, optimal muscle-protein synthesis will occur. Essentially, dextrose spikes the body's insulin levels, which allows it to more effectively absorb protein and facilitate muscle-protein synthesis.
Some weightlifters or supplement gurus will tell you to have fruit or table sugar with your post-workout shake in order to achieve this goal. However, it is not as efficacious as dextrose.
Fruit is comprised of fructose, which takes longer for the body to absorb because the liver must convert fructose into glucose. The body cannot absorb fructose.
Table sugar is relatively inefficient because it is a disaccharide, meaning that it is comprised of 2 monosaccharides. In table sugar's case, it is comprised of both glucose and fructose, so the body will not be able to absorb it as readily as dextrose; the liver must convert part of the molecule back to glucose.
In layman's terms, an efficacious post-workout shake should be paired with the simplest form of glucose, i.e. dextrose. Dextrose/carbohydrate matrices, such as 1st Phorm's Ignition, are ideal, as they contain both dextrose and additional micronutrients that will further aid in muscle-protein synthesis.
At the end of the day, the ideal goal is to make your supplementation as effective as possible, and the fastest way to facilitate muscle growth is to combine a hydrolyzed whey protein with a dextrose supplement. This will replenish the body's glycogen stores, better facilitate muscle repair and help with more efficient muscle growth in the future. Weight gainers are ineffective, as they often contain poor-quality protein and a ton of carbohydrates that won't be efficiently absorbed by the body and likely result in fat. The best way to get the results that you want is to improve your supplementation to its peak potential.
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