Meathead Mixology: Concocting Your Perfect Post Workout Shake

Notice, I say YOUR in the title. Everyone’s macro’s SHOULD be different, let’s avoid the cookie cutter plans for a moment. A 125 lb individual is obviously going to require a different amount of nutrients than that of a 300 lb bodybuilder, so why use the same label?

There may not be the need for you to get as in depth as I do when making my post workout shake by weighing out the grams of each ingredient but I would definitely recommend using the a similar formula. Listed below are the ingredients I use with the grams of each for myself, you may want to adjust them based on your goals and macronutrient intake. Click the ingredient to go right to great deals!

  • Waxy Maize: 25g
  • Whey Protein Isolate: 20-25g
  • Casein Protein: 10-15g
  • Creatine: 5g
  • Leucine: 3g

As you can see, there are two different types of protein listed, Whey Protein Isolate and Casein Protein. Why use both types of protein? Just as not all carbohydrates are created equal, the same goes for protein (and fat). Whey protein will be absorbed and utilized faster by your body, while casein is a slower release of amino acids into your system. Take a look at Rule 1 Protein to see the differences.

Your body reacts to, stores, and utilizes different types of each macronutrient in different ways. Some carbohydrates spike insulin short and fast, some will keep it elevated longer, some will not be stored easily in your muscle, and some will be more easily stored as fat. But that is another topic.

The carbohydrate I included is Waxy Maize. There are other options such as dextrose, maltodextrin, and other products formulated by different supplement brands. I prefer waxy-maize as it is digested very well due to its low osmolarity rate and you shouldn’t experience any bloating from it. Waxy-maize also contains 0 sugar.

I used to believe that you required a higher amount of carbohydrates post workout to help stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis and begin the recovery process. Research has shown their to be no difference when supplementing protein post workout with a small amount (25g) or larger (75g) of carbohydrates on insulin release, which helps in muscle growth. I have a large appetite and would prefer the majority of my calories coming from whole foods which is why I only use 25g as it has the same effect. That being said, studies have also demonstrated there to be no statistically significant difference to MPS by adding carbohydrates post workout vs. protein alone, but there was clinical significance. Meaning it was trending toward a benefit but not statistically high enough to make the claim. As bodybuilders, we are looking for every advantage possible so even a small benefit (the clinical significance) is better than none.

As stated above protein synthesis can also be stimulated without carbohydrates. This is of great benefit if you are on a diet that is requiring you to stay low carb. This also means there is no need to freak out if you don’t get carbs in immediately following training, you have some time. Whey isolate as well as leucine stimulate this process via the mTOR pathway which is not dependent on insulin (released by your body when you ingest carbohydrates.)

Creatine, as you probably already know, is one of the most studied supplements EVER. Time and time again it has shown its worth in weight. Creatine has shown to aid in recovery, hypertrophy, strength and could potentially inhibit myostatin. Another benefit to creatine, it is CHEAP. I include 5g in my post workout shake and 5 grams with another meal containing carbohydrates as they aid in absorption. Avoid mixing caffeine and creatine, such as a pre-workout, as caffeine negates the ergogenic benefit of creatine. Basically, have caffeine prior to training and creatine after.

Leucine is added due to it being the limiting factor in stimulating Muscle Protein Synthesis. Leucine concentration, not overall protein content of a meal has shown to be the limiting factor of stimulating Muscle Protein Synthesis. Leucine, again, seems to be a direct activator of mTOR, which will stimulate MPS without insulin being present (hence avoiding the need for carbs and saving you calories if needed.) I add 3g to my shake and 3 grams to each meal post workout. This could be overkill, but I’m going for the most OPTIMAL situation and Leucine, like creatine, is cheap. At 500g for less than $30.00 on sites like www.supplementcentral.com, you can afford to use it with every meal to be sure you are maximally stimulating MPS.

So to recap, determine your macros and what you want to take in post workout, add your Creatine and Leucine for added benefits. Train your ass off and slam the shake!