If you want to build muscle and burn fat (fairly important for a better body) you simply have to make sure you are recovering properly.
Your key objectives are:
1) Take advantage of the exercise induced insulin sensitivity to refuel your muscles so you’re not lethargic the next day, especially if you have another training session.
Refuelling in time will also ensure that your body senses sufficient energy reserves and so can keep your thyroid firing – the gland that basically controls energy use and fat burning.
This will keep fat burning constant improving your body composition over the length of your program.
This applies to both men and women! Ladies don’t be scared of looking amazing! When you say you want to be toned, what you mean is that you want harder muscles and lower body fat, in which case you definitely need a post-workout recovery drink.
2) Taking advantage of insulin sensitivity to force amino acids into your muscles for rebuilding after the damage sustained in training. This damage is necessary as your body will respond by building them thicker and stronger.
Over time, this is what develops a great looking body!
Sodo you just go and buy a tub of the luminous yellow, maxilowcarbbodysculptingproteinbomb in the health shop?
Whilst most protein shakes are very similar there are a few things to consider.
1) A lot of them have chemicals added just to make it a ‘proprietary blend’ which really doesn’t make it any better but gives them something to differentiate their product from the rest of the shelf.
2) You need a mix of carbs and protein to make the most of post-workout protein but there are ratios which have been found to be more effective.
3) It is not that hard to make your own shake for a lower price per workout than those you find in the shop!
Whilst you can argue about minor things all day and add certain ingredients to make it more powerful, my research with leading coaches and my own experiments suggests that the simplest and most cost-effective recipe to use looks something like this.
1g of carbohydrate per 1kg of bodyweight
0.25g of protein per 1kg of bodyweight
So if you can bulk by a protein powder and mix it with a pure carb source, you’ll have a great recovery blend without the additional chemical concoctions.
I like to use maltodextrin as the carb source – it’s dirt cheap as well.
Using a pure carb source also makes it easy to measure out. You can of course use fruit for your sugars but this makes getting the ratios harder.
However, using fruit brings other benefits like antioxidants especially if you use berries.
For protein, you can get pure protein from various sources, but I suggest you do what you can to get one from grass fed cows or organic, grass fed cows if you’re willing to spend a bit extra.
Chuck it all in a blender and blend to the right texture.
I like to use rice milk or almond milk to get that milkshake texture without the dairy.
Like most things in fitness and nutrition, you don’t have to be totally anal about the amounts, just experiment with a couple of trials and counting carb and protein content you can come up with a few recipes you like and churn them out easily.
Other ingredients you might like to add:
If you play power based sports or you’re looking to add size and strength, add 5g of creatine to your post workout shake (NB Be aware of water retention effects if competing in a weight category competition soon)
To increase insulin sensitivity add 200mcg of chromium picollinate
If in a period of heavy training, you probably need even more immune system support. Add 4-5g of glutamine.
In terms of flavour you can get creative with fruits for flavour or try something like this.
Use cacao nibs and peppermint extract to create a mint choc chip flavour.
I use Green Life from Phil Richards for an even more powerful boost to the immune system reducing inflammation faster too.