By now you probably know how important protein is to your diet. You probably even understand that the achievement of your health and fitness goals lies heavily on whether or not you are getting enough of the right types of protein in your diet throughout the day. Did you know though that choosing the right post workout protein may be one of the most important choices you make all day? Protein provides your muscles with the building blocks they need to recover and rebuild their strength. After an intense workout you need just the right type of post workout protein to deliver those building blocks directly to the source as quickly as possible.
Why You Need Post Workout Protein
During your workouts your muscles tear. It’s part of the growing process. They must be torn down in order to rebuild bigger and stronger. But in order for them to recover after they’ve been torn your muscles need the right building blocks. That’s where the importance of post workout protein comes into play.
Proteins consist of amino acids that your muscles need to recover and repair themselves after they have been torn during your workout. Without availability to these amino acids your body will not recover as quickly and you will likely be more run down and sore post workout. The longer that it takes your muscles to recover the longer you’ll have to wait before hitting the gym again, so for the best results you want to make sure you are providing your body with the nutrients it needs to heal within an adequate time frame.
This optimal time frame to get protein into your body so that your muscles can start repairing themselves is called the anabolic window. It is during this time that your body is most in need of nutrients and conveniently also the receptive to nutrients. There is a bit of a discrepancy between experts about how large the anabolic window is, but most will agree that as long as you consume your post workout protein within a half an hour to an hour of completing your workout you are within the anabolic window and will reap the best recovery benefits.
Post Workout Protein For The Win
While whole foods are certainly better than processed foods, supplements can be even better for you when it comes to your post workout protein. That’s because during your workout your blood is needed in your working muscles meaning that your stomach is left with a smaller supply than usual. This makes it more difficult for your body to digest whole foods shortly after working out. Since the anabolic window closes about an hour after you finish working out it’s important to get the protein into your system as soon as possible.
That’s why having a supplemental protein shake that you enjoy on hand is so important. A shake is much easier for your body to digest than whole foods and it provides your muscles with the building blocks that they need to repair and recover after any type of workout. One of the most popular types of post workout protein shakes is whey however if you are lactose-intolerant or vegan you may need to avoid it since it’s made with animal dairy. Alternative post workout protein shakes include: soy, brown rice and hemp.
If you don’t have any issues with post workout digestion then whole foods are absolutely a post workout protein option for you. For suggestions on the best whole foods to eat after a workout check out our article on post workout meals and learn all about the best whole foods for your recovery and results.
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