Post-Workout Fuel: Whey Protein
When it comes to getting fit, one of the most important meals you eat is the one after your workout. From the moment you finish your last set, you have about an hour to feed your starving muscles the nutrients they need to recover and rebuild. Feed your muscles right to see hard-earned results faster.
Some of my clients have asked me if they should drink a sports drink. After all, sports drinks are aplenty in the market and almost all claim to have you recover faster. My personal view is for you to ditch the sports drink. If you read the label on the sports drink, you will realize that sports drinks add unnecessary calories that will not help build lean muscles at all. Plus, the sugar level in sports drink is high. Rather, go for a whey protein shake. Mixing whey protein with water gives you a good low-calorie drink that quickly replenishes your body with the amino acids you break down during exercise.
Whey protein offers the greatest benefits post-workout for two main reasons – faster muscle recovery and easier absorption. Your muscles are like sponges that are primed to take in nutrients at a very rapid pace. Putting those nutrients in liquid form makes the recovery happen that much faster.
There are many brands of whey protein in the market. Besides comparing prices across brands and choosing a flavour of your choice, the most important deciding factor as to which brand to buy eventually should be the contents listed in the label.
A basic whey protein brand should contain between 23 – 25g of protein in each serving. This is crucial as the average active person requires approximately 1 – 1.5g of protein per pound of lean body weight per day. Protein is after all, the building block for muscle growth as well as helping in the battle against body fat.
After satisfying this first condition, next scrutinize the label to see if the whey protein contains branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). The minimum is 5g of BCAAs. The essential branched chain amino acids (BCAA’s) include leucine, isoleucine, and valine are of special importance for athletes because they are metabolized in the muscle.
Remember, recovery is still key. For best results, drink your whey protein shake within 30 minutes after exercise. Then have a robust balanced meal within two hours.