Not making yourself anabolic post exercise is great mistake for any type of athlete. Or anyone interested in strength and muscle gains for that matter.
Once the work is done in the gym, recovery becomes your number one priority. This is why you need to put some thoughts into your post workout meal to replenish your glycogen stores optimally, be it with supplement or carbohydrate food sources.
One of the best ways to switch from the post exercise catabolic state to anabolism is to replenish your glycogen stores and peak insulin. This can be easily achieved with the help of well-chosen carbohydrates, which are the building block of glycogen.
A good quality carb supplement will get you there, fast. This is why I usually recommend using a well-designed carbohydrate supplement in your post-workout shake. Such a product should have various glycemic indexes so that glycogen replenishment is maximized and insulin managed. A great product that does so is ATP-Lab’s Pentacarb.
Of course, you have to be lean in order to make the most of your post workout nutrition. Remember: carbs have to be deserved, even those in your post-workout drink. If you’re unsure whether you deserve your carbs or not, I’ve put together a short list of conditions that will help you. This is a topic I’ve written extensively about and I think that limiting carbohydrate intake is the best way to achieve optimal body composition as fast as possible.
A quick reminder: carbs are not evil, but you want to be in a condition where they are your friends.
Post Workout Meal: Smart Carbohydrate Food Choices to Replenish your Glycogen Stores
While the need for a smart recovery strategy is critical, I can understand that some people prefer to use solid foods instead of supplements.
It is not the best, fastest way, but it is doable.
However, not all carbohydrate food sources are equal. In this video, I will list my favorite foods to eat post-exercise. I will also cover some foods that should be avoided. This way, you will be able to enjoy a great post-workout meal and get your carbs in, without recovery drinks.
The need to replenish your glycogen stores to improve your post-workout recovery will never have tasted so good!
What are the best carbohydrate foods for your post workout meal?
Simple! A good carbohydrate for your post workout meal answers three requirements:
1) It is low in fructose
2) It is high in glucose
3) It has a high insulin index
Hence some good carbohydrate food choices for your post workout meal are: apricots, kiwis, pineapples, white rice with maple syrup, rice cakes with jam. All these foods tick all the boxes since that are low in fructose, high in glucose and have a high insulin index.
On the other end, bananas, grapes, mangoes, avocados are wrong choices for your post workout meal. Because of their high fructose content these are not well suited for post workout nutrition. Indeed, fructose tends to be shunted towards liver glycogen replenishment at the expense of muscle glycogen stores. Of course liver glycogen is important, but post workout the focus is to reestablish muscle glycogen levels.
Note that it is important to have your carbs alongside a fast digesting protein such as whey protein, as both work synergistically. This simple trick will enhance glycogen synthesis by a very statistically significant 32%.
Coach Charles R. Poliquin
P.S. Want to deserve your carbs? Read this article to make sure you get there as fast as possible.