Why Use A Post-Workout Supplement?

You have owned your workout. You’ve pushed harder, lifted heavier and achieved the greatest pump of your life! You feel satisfied that you’ve crushed your workout and your body is in the ultimate anabolic state. Now it is time to GROW!

Whether you actually capitalize on all of that hard work depends on what you do next. More specifically, it comes down to what you put into your body. Your workout has placed maximum stress upon your muscles, causing micro tears in the cells and depleting them of glycogen. Once it’s over you’ve got a twenty to forty minute window to prime those muscles with the nutritional ammunition they need to recover and grow. That is the time that you need to take in the right type of post-workout supplement.


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Post Workout Supplement Benefits

Speed Up Recovery

This involves your ability to recover properly between sets as well as after workouts. The goal is to ensure that the body recovers fully from the stimulus of exercise and to reduce the amount of time necessary for it to take place. Recovery is critical for muscle growth. Your body must recuperate from the catabolic process before productive protein synthesis can occur. The sooner you recover from a workout, the sooner your body can begin to respond to it and adapt by adding muscle.

When you don’t recover from workouts, you can go into a state of chronic over-training. You’ll actually begin to lose muscle instead of gaining it. In the gym, you’ll find yourself lacking the energy to do further sets at maximum ability (it will take some time to get this state, but don’t let yourself. Recover properly). Even if you do manage to get through a workout without losing effort, your body still won’t respond with the kind of adaptation you want – more muscle.

Build Muscle Faster

Muscle growth can only occur if muscle protein synthesis exceeds muscle protein breakdown. This means that there must be a positive muscle protein balance. Strength training improves muscle protein balance, but in the absence of food, the balance will remain negative, or catabolic.

The ingredient within protein which makes it so vital in the muscle building process is nitrogen. Unlike carbohydrates and fats, protein contains nitrogen, which is essential for the replacement of body cells. If proteins are the building blocks of the body, then the building blocks of protein are amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that can be reformulated in a vast number of ways to create hundreds of different proteins. A dozen of these amino acids are able to be produced naturally by the human body. They are known as non-essential amino acids because we don’t have to rely on outside food sources to get them into our body.

The remaining 8 amino acids are known as essential because they can’t be manufactured by the body and must come by way of the foods and supplements we ingest.

Essential Post Workout Supplement Ingredients

Post workout supplementation is the most important aspect of muscle building supplements. Getting it right will give your nutrient starved muscles the ideal mix of both macro and micronutrients to build your body back that little bit bigger and stronger than before. That is why the post workout supplement sector is a massive segment of the supplement industry. It is so large in fact, it has become downright confusing. With so many players making so many outrageous product claims, how can you possibly find the product you need to get the job done?

By focusing on the key ingredients necessary to promote recovery and growth, you will be able to find the right post workout supplement to do the job. Here are the big four to look out for . . .

Whey Protein

After your workout, your muscles cell are beaten down. To get them back to a state of anabolism, you need to get quality protein into the cell as quickly as you can. Whey protein is a complete protein source with all of the essential and non-essential amino acids present. As opposed to casein protein, whey has a faster absorption rate, allowing you to fast track it to your muscle cells more efficiently. Whey protein as part of your post-workout recovery formula will supply key amino acids and micro nutrients.

BCAA’s

Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) consist of the amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine. These are three of essential amino acids that the human body cannot produce. The three branch chain amino acids are unique among the essential amino acids because they are able to be oxidized for fuel by our muscle cells. They also trigger protein synthesize, supply muscle energy and, preserve lean mass.

Fast Digesting Carbs

Your body uses carbs for 3 things:

(1) to replenish glycogen (blood sugar)
(2) burning blood sugar for energy
(3) storing as body fat

When you work out, you break down muscle tissue, while depleting your energy system. Post workout carbohydrates are desperately needed by the body to replenish energy levels. So when you take in carbs post workout, the body converts them into glycogen and sends them into the bloodstream to replenish the blood sugar that you’ve been using up during the workout. Post workout carbs will also cause a spike in insulin, which is the most anabolic hormone in your entire body.

The best type of carbs to have post workout are simple carbs that are readily digested and that have a very high GI. One hundred percent dextrose is the best form of post workout carbs that you can get. Take half a gram per kilogram of lean body weight.

Creatine

Creatine is a mix of 3 amino acids (arginine, glycine, methionine) that occur naturally in proteins like fish and meat. Creatine floods your body with ATP (Adenosine Triphsosphate). The result is that you will be able to replace ATP cycles more frequently during a workout.

Taking creatine post workout will infuse your depleted muscle cells with ATP and other nutrients to kick you out of a catabolic state and allow you to recover and move into an anabolic growth state. It will also help to spike your insulin levels to help shuttle the creatine into your cells for maximum absorption. The key to taking creatine is consistency. You need to maintain a steady supply of it in your system.

Top Post Workout Supplements For 2016


Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 Recovery

Top post work out supplement Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 RecoveryOptimum Nutrition has done a great job in creating a recovery formula for right after your workout. It’s called 2:1:1 Recovery because they use a unique blend of nutrients and specific ratios to optimize your growth.

Ingredients

  • Waxy maize starch
  • Glucose
  • Sucrose
  • Fructose
  • Hydrolized whey protein isolates
  • Micellar casein and egg albumen
  • BCAAs

Optimum Nutrition 2:1:1 Recovery ingredient label

The product uses double the amount of hydrolized protein compared to casein and egg based protein to provide immediately accessible protein to the muscle cell. 2:1:1 Recovery has a two to one ratio of carbs to protein. This means that there are double the number of fast acting carbs to protein. This is essential right after an intense workout to restore and replenish your glycogen levels as quickly as you can.

Pros

The product mixes well in a shaker bottle. The cost per serving is about $2.24 which is good value for money. This product is extremely effective as a post workout recovery formula.

Cons

The taste isn’t great, being rather bland but tolerable. There in no creatine in the product.

Overall Rating: 4.5/ 5

MHP Dark Matter

MHP Dark MatterMHP is known for their detailed, quality products, and Dark Matter certainly lives up to the rep. The first thing this product tries to do is to spike insulin to quickly delivery nutrients into the muscle cells. This product also contains 3 different types of creatine in order to build cell volumization. It’s also has tons of amino acids.

Ingredients

  • Waxy maize
  • Maltodextran
  • Dextrose
  • Antioxidants
  • Creatine
  • Glycerol monostearate
  • BCAA’s
  • Leucine
  • Alanine

mhp dark matter ingredient label

Pros

Dark Matter includes a mix of creatine and some other anabolic enablers to replenish and grow your muscles after your workout. This is a mediocare post workout supplement. Dark Matter is $1.02 per serving.

Cons

The product doesn’t mix very well. The ingredients are hidden into a 35 gram proprietary blend, meaning you don’t know the exact amounts of every ingredient. MHP also only contains 2 grams of protein. MHP changed to a new formula (according to reviews on Amazon, a cheaper formulation).

Overall Rating: 3.1/ 5

Myogenix After Shock

Myogenix After ShockMyogenix After Shock contains a complete nutritional profile to fast track protein and carbs to your muscle cells immediately after the workout. It includes creatine, glutamine for cell volumization and enhanced ATP production.

Ingredients

  • Kre alkalyn
  • L- Norvaline
  • Magnesium Glycyl Glutamine
  • BCAA’s
  • Antioxidant blend
  • Joint repair bend
  • Protein blend (partially hydrolized whey protein isolate, ultra filtered whey
  • Glycogenix blend

Myogenix After Shock ingredient label

Pros

After Shock has a great taste. It doesn’t have a bulky taste to it. The addition of creatine and a glutamine blend make this a complete post workout formula.

Cons

The product includes a proprietary blend which hides the exact ingredient numbers. At just 15 servings per container this one is a bit pricey at $2.33 per serving.

Overall Rating: 4.6/ 5

BSN CELLMASS 2.0

BSN CELLMASS 2.0BSN Cellmass 2.0 is a total redesign of the original Cellmass. It now has three times as much creatine, as well as glutamine, taurine and hydrolyzed whey protein.

Ingredients

  • Proprietary blend of Protein Hydrolysate, L-Glutamine, Glutamine Peptides
  • Inuslino Interfusion
  • Taurine and Banaba extract
  • Myogenix matrix of Creatine, monohydrate, Creatine HCL, Creatine Anhydrous

BSN Cell Mass 2.0 Ingredient label

Pros

BSN CellMass 2.0 features a heavy creatine content in a blend of 3 variations. It is also heavy on glutamine. This stops muscle fatigue and quickly replenishes the cells. The creatine content will add volume, while priming your ATP reserves for the next workout. The product comes in four flavors, which each taste great. It also mixes very easily and is only $0.52 a serving!

Cons

BSN Cellmass 2.0 is not a high dosage carb and protein supplement. It is also missing dextrose.

Overall Rating: 4.3/ 5

Muscle Pharm Re-Con

Muscle Pharm ReconMuscle Pharm Recon is a post workout recovery designed to stop your body from further breaking down muscle, while replenishing the glycogen levels of the muscle cell.

Ingredients

  • Proprietary carb blend of glucose powder, dextrose and innuin
  • Amino Acid blend containing glutamine, taurine and arginine
  • BCAAs in a 3:1:2 blend
  • Ascorbic Acid
  • Beta Alanine
  • Citrulline

Muscle Pharm Recon Ingredient Label

Pros

The inclusion of beat alanine as a buffer of the acid which disassociates from lactic acid and will allow you to extend your workout by getting more reps. Citrulline also has a nitric oxide effect, giving a pumped feeling on your next workout and decreasing fatigue. Re-Con is $1.37 a serving.

Cons

The amino acid blend does not contain histinine, which is one of the essential amino acids. This will prevent muscle gain. So, you will want to take a protein supplement about 30 minutes after taking this product. Also with so many proprietary blends, you don’t know what the dosage of many of the ingredients are.

Overall Rating: 4.1/ 5

Optimum Nutrition After Max Post-Workout Maximum Recovery

Optimum Nutrition After Max Post-Workout Maximum Recovery Optimum Nutrition’s After Max contains a sizeable amount of both carbs and protein to promote muscle recovery and growth post workout. The inclusion of creatine and glutamine make for a nutritional powerhouse to refuel, recharge, and rebuild.

Ingredients

  • Hydrolized whey protein isolates
  • Creapure Creatine
  • Glutamine
  • Taurine
  • Glutamine Peptides
  • Carbohydrate blend

After Max ingredient label

Pros

The product mixes well, is very smooth and tastes great. It provides a complete nutritional profile to do the job that your body craves after your workout.

Cons

The container provides only 20 servings, and it takes three whole scoops to get those servings.

Overall Rating: 4/ 5

LEGION Recharge

Legion RechargeLegion Recharge is a creatine based product. As such its main benefit is as a performance enhancer, prepping you for the coming workout. It does also act as a cell volumizer. Carnitine is added to act as the major recovery and catabolism agent in this product.

Ingredients

  • Creatine Monohydrate
  • L-Carnitine
  • L-Tartrate
  • Corocolic Acid

Legion Recharge Supplement Facts

Pros

The creatine monohydrate provides a solid base to build muscle, reduce cell damage and soreness and increase the glycogen levels in your muscle cells. The product tastes great and mixes well. Each container provides a generous 60 servings and $0.58 per saving, this is a great value.

Cons

The absence of carbs and protein limit the effectiveness of Recharge as a post workout muscle builder.

Overall Rating: 4.7/5

Scivation Xtend Endurance

Scivation Xtend EnduranceScivation Xtend is the most popular BCAA supplement on the market. It will immediately prevent the catabolic effect of your workout, transforming your body into an anabolic state.

Ingredients

  • Leucine
  • Isolleucine
  • Valine
  • Glutamine
  • Citrulline Malate

Scivation Xtend Endurance Supplement Facts

Pros

The emphasis on BCAA’s will increase the rate of protein synthesis, decrease protein degradation. This product is especially beneficial if you are on a low-calorie diet.

Cons

Because the BCAA’s in this product are free form, they must be taken on an empty stomach to achieve proper absorption. At 2.5 grams of glutamine, there probably isn’t enough to prove truly beneficial.

Overall Rating: 4.3/ 5

NOW Foods Carbo Gain

NOW Foods Carbo GainNOW Foods Carbo Gain is designed for hard-gainers; people whose metabolism runs so fast that it’s impossible for them to gain weight. This product will fast track quality carbs into their system. It is 100% complex carbohydrates. Carbo Gain is also great for crossfitters who need muscle endurance.

Ingredients

  • 100% maltodextrin (from corn)
  • NOW Foods Carbo Gain Supplement Facts

    Pros

    NOW Foods Carbo Gain is amazingly cost effective, providing 54 servings in a $24 tub, breaking down to $0.43 a serving. This is pure carbs designed to enhance your energy levels and improve the body’s work-out recovery ability.

    Cons

    If you take this product at the wrong time and aren’t working out, the extra carbs may be stored as fat. There is no protein in this product.

    Overall Rating: 4.3/ 5

    Wrapping It Up

    Now you have a rundown ofthe best post-workout supplements. At the end of the day, you will want a whey protein and carb shake, adding in creatine and a bcaas will speed your recovery process. Remember, no matter what supplements you take, if you are not training hard and eating for your goals; the supplements will not work to their full potential.

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