Pre & Post Workout Shake – The Muscle Building Combo

Today’s post is a simple strategy for you to build muscle through optimising your immediate pre and post workout nutrition strategies. This is not to be seen as a replacement to a balanced and targeted nutrition approach, but to simply complement it and ensure you get the most from your workouts.

So initially we have the pre-workout. When purchased, the pre workout will often consist of all sorts of weird and wonderful concoctions, but mainly a crazy amount of sugar, taurine and caffeine. I’ll try and keep it pretty basic here with my suggestions though and avoid loading you up with lab synthesised nutrients and other substances.

The focus of the recommendations in this post are primarily in regards to building muscle. However, if you’re planning a particularly long, high-intensity workout with other outcomes to just building muscle, or you are low on fuel and/or you needed a pick me up prior to your exercise, I would advise the addition of a ripe banana and a coffee. These two options will give a spike in energy from the fructose, (sugar), in the banana and caffeine in the coffee. The banana will also add to your stored carbohydrate,(glycogen), and the caffeine can buffer some of the fatigue caused from exercise.

If you’re already fuelled and watching out for additional calories, then look to have a pre work out shake that consists of whey protein isolate. Whey protein isolate uses additional processing steps to reduce the fat and carbohydrate content of whey, which is usually around 80% protein and 20% carbohydrates and fats. These steps result also in a higher protein content of around 90%, and sometimes more.

The purpose of consuming the whey isolate pre workout is to avoid any muscle breakdown during the workout and support the accessing of fatty acids for fuel, as opposed to adding additional carbohydrates. Mix your whey protein isolate with a low fat milk or water.

Ok, now post workout. There are mixed opinions about the necessity of having that post workout within the “anabolic window” – the 30 minutes straight after your workout. Now unless you are an elite athlete, this will not have a hugely significant impact, as long as the rest of your nutrition (and specifically protein intake) is on point. However, if wanting to maximise your recovery in preparation for another workout later that day, and (especially in context of this post), build muscle, get a shake in you between 15 and 30 minutes post workout.

Now, to the content of that post workout shake. I advocate a food first approach and this includes the content of your shake. You need some quick absorbing carbohydrates first and foremost. Try grinding Jasmin rice & blueberries in a coffee grinder, (if time allows make the rice pre soaked). Combine this to a fast absorbing protein such as whey or pea protein. Both will help with muscle repair and synthesis. Whey isolate or concentrate are equally good as the types of amino acids found in both forms of whey are virtually identical.

Upon finishing the workout, add the preprepared rice & blueberries to either coconut water or beetroot juice. Coconut water is a good choice due to some simple sugars and potassium content. Beetroot is a good choice as it’s what’s called a vasodilator. This is something that improves blood flow around the body thus supporting recovery.

In regards to amount of rice, for someone weighing 77kg /170 pounds , use 1/2 to 3/4 cup post workout, adjust this a little up and down to meet your specific weight needs. Use just a handful of blueberries as a high level of antioxidants post exercise have been seen to inhibit adaptation. Following your post workout, aim to have a balanced meal around 45 minutes later.

Ok, I hope this has given you some idea and a helpful template to start optimising your pre and post workout regime to build muscle. Till next time.

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