Posts Tagged ‘post workout nutrition’


Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Here’s another great article by my hero Mike Geary, author of The Truth About Six Pack Abs, about what to do with your nutrition right after you workout. Yes, the post workout meal is a particularly important one so you do want to get it right. Give it a read if you’re serious about nutrition and getting it right, right after your workout.

Post Workout Meals: Timing and Ratios Done Right

I am sure you have heard previously that your post-workout meal is actually the most important meal of your day (aside from breakfast of course).

I would have to agree with that assertion for the most part because refueling your body with the right combo of nutrients is so vastly important to repairing your muscles from the breakdown of a workout, and keeping your metabolic rate sky high.

From recent research on post-workout meals:

“A recent 12-week study says that those who failed to consume a post workout meal immediately after their workouts suffered a lower metabolism, loss of fat free mass, and had clear indications of muscle loss – while their counterparts (those who consumed a post workout recovery meal) significantly lost more fat, increased lean muscle, improved their metabolism, and increased dynamic strength.”

I have noticed that many people are confused as to what actually makes a good post-workout meal. A couple common questions I receive about post workout meals:

1. Aren’t post-workout meals only important for muscle building? Do they matter at all for fat loss goals?

2. Is it best to use one of the fancy post-workout drinks or shakes that you see in the magazines or is a whole food meal better? What’s the best combo of carbs to protein to fat in a good post workout meal?

3. How soon after a workout is best to have my post workout meal?


1. Post-workout meals are actually important for BOTH muscle building and losing body fat!

Always remember that one of the most important considerations of long term body fat loss and maintaining a lean body for life is raising your overall metabolic rate by building and maintaining adequate lean muscle mass throughout your entire body.

By consuming a good post workout meal after every workout, you assist your body in repairing and building lean muscle throughout your whole body. The more lean muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate (even when resting)… hence, you lose fat easier and faster, and it is MUCH easier to stay lean in the long term.

2. Are whole foods or supplement shakes best? This can actually be done either way, but I am going to show you some guidelines why some post-workout shakes are better than others and some whole foods are better than others. Either way, it can work.

First, keep in mind that your goal throughout the majority of each day is eating small whole food meals frequently that digest slowly with high fiber and a controlled glycemic response (blood sugar). These normal daily meals should also contain healthy fats and slowly digested proteins to maintain a steady supply of amino acids.

When it comes to post-workout meals, you can just about use the exact opposite strategy of your normal meals. With post-workout meals, you actually want a faster digesting carb source to stimulate an insulin response. This helps to push nutrients and glycogen back into your muscle cells for repair. Remember, this is not just important for building muscle, but also for losing fat.

So while I always preach high fiber for most of your meals, with post-workout meals, you actually want lower fiber, higher GI carbohydrates, and quickly digesting protein as well to kick start muscle repair.

Another consideration to keep in mind… while I always preach healthy fats at most of your meals… with the post workout meal, you actually want almost all carbohydrates and protein, and very little fat. Fat in the post workout meal just slows the absorption and glycemic response which is not what you want at this key time.

What about the best ratios of carbohydrates and protein?

I have reviewed dozens of studies on this subject and most seem to agree that a ratio of approx 2 to 1 carbs to protein is optimal. This seems to be the best combo to maximize muscle repair to boost that metabolic rate for long term body fat loss.

I usually make my post-workout shakes using a frozen banana, whey protein, water, and some real maple syrup (not the cheap high fructose corn syrup based maple syrups at most stores) and aim for about a 2:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein in the shake.

If you want to make things a little simpler, one of the best post-workout shakes that I’ve found that is already mixed in a 2:1 carb:protein ratio is Prograde’s Varsity Post-Workout mix. You can find it at the bottom of this page.

3. How soon should you eat (or drink) your post-workout meal once your done working out?

As soon as you can after your workout (the sooner the better)!

Studies have shown that the sooner you consume your post workout meal following your intense workout, the better your muscle recovery will be, and a higher quantity of the carbohydrates ingested will be used for muscle glycogen replenishment instead of other uses.

The first thing I do when I get back from the gym is make my post workout shake, and this is about 10 min after finishing my workout.

I have also written a review for Truth About Abs (just because I think it’s an awesome book), and I have a special bonus offer going out to anyone who purchases the book there. If you are interested in the offer, definitely check me out here Truth About Abs Truth.


Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Mike Geary writes a lot of really great and helpful articles as well as having written the awesome book The Truth About Six Pack Abs. I’m going to reprint a few of them for you in a few posts here on the blog.

That guy Mike Geary really knows how to eat for optimum health. No joke. I follow pretty much all of his philosophies on nutrition and for sure I follow the advice as he lays it out here, for post-workout nutrition. It’s the best time to load up on the foods we otherwise have to eat in moderation: carbs (and milkshakes!! haha… well, protein shakes but you’ll have to read ahead to see what I’m talking about).

Sculpt a Better Body with Proper Post-Workout Nutrition

Ideas for healthy post-workout shakes to help build muscle and enhance fat loss

by Mike Geary, Certified Nutrition Specialist, Certified Personal Trainer

As you’ve probably heard before, your post-workout meal may very well be your most important meal of the day.

The reason is that when you’re finished with an intense workout, you’re entering a catabolic state where your muscle glycogen is depleted and increased cortisol levels are beginning to excessively break down muscle tissue. These conditions are not good and the only way to reverse this catabolic state (and promote an anabolic state) is to consume a quickly digestible post-workout meal (can be a shake or smoothie) as soon as you can after training.

The goal is to choose a meal with easily digestible quick carbs to replenish muscle glycogen as well as quickly digestible protein to provide the amino acids needed to jump start muscular repair.  The surge of carbohydrates and amino acids from this quickly digested meal promotes an insulin spike from the pancreas, which shuttles nutrients into the muscle cells.

The post-workout meal should generally contain between 300-500 calories to get the best response. For example, a 120-lb female may only need a 300-calorie meal, whereas a 200-lb male may need a 500-calorie post-workout meal. Your post-workout meal should also contain anywhere from a 2:1 ratio of carbs:protein to a 4:1 ratio of carbs:protein. While most of your other daily meals should contain a source of healthy fats, keep the fat content of your post-workout meal to a bare minimum, since fat slows the absorption of the meal, which is the opposite of what you want after a workout.

When choosing what to make for your post-workout meal, the first thing to realize is that you DON’T need any of these expensive post-workout supplement formulations that all of the fancy ads you see everywhere will tell you that you absolutely NEED!  I tend to prefer to make my own post-workout shakes from natural ingredients instead of using a commercial mixture, since many of them are low quality.

However, one that I’ve found that I particularly like (and from a brand that I trust) is at this page: — they have just the right ratio of carbs to protein and use quality ingredients.

For the shakes that I make myself, here are some things to keep in mind if you try it…

A good source of quickly digestible natural carbs such as frozen bananas, pineapples, honey, or organic maple syrup are perfect to elicit an insulin response that will promote muscle glycogen replenishment and a general anabolic (muscle building) effect. The more you can assist the muscle repair process, the more you increase your metabolic rate and can help your fat loss as well.

The best source of quickly digestible protein is a quality non-denatured whey protein isolate and/or some fat-free or low-fat yogurt. Here are a couple ideas for delicious post-workout smoothies that will kick start your recovery process:

Chocolate Banana – blend together 1 cup water, ½ cup skim milk, one and a half frozen bananas, 2 tbsp organic maple syrup, and 30 grams chocolate whey protein powder – 38 g prot, 72 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 440 calories.

Pineapple Vanilla – blend together 1 cup water, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, one cup frozen pineapples, 2 tbsp honey (preferably raw), and 30 grams vanilla whey protein powder – 35 g prot, 71 g carb, 0.5 g fat, 425 calories.

When looking to lose body fat, keep in mind that post-workout meals should have the opposite characteristics of all of your other meals throughout each day. While post-workout meals should have quick high glycemic index carbs and quickly digested proteins, all of your other meals throughout the day should be comprised of low glycemic index, slowly digested carbs and slow release proteins.

These are powerful strategies towards developing a lean muscular body with a low body fat percentage.  Another great thing about post-workout meals is that you can satisfy even the worst sweet tooth, since this is the one time of the day where you can get away with eating extra sugars without adding to your gut. Instead, it all goes straight to the muscles! But ONLY if your workout was super-high intensity and involved resistance training for large portions of the body.  If all you did was some low intensity cardio, forget about doing this type of post-workout shake.


A more detailed and comprehensive nutritional analysis with more of these various powerful dietary strategies are found in our best-selling #1 rated fitness ebook in the world, The Truth About Six Pack Abs.

I have also written a review for Truth About Abs (just because I think it’s an awesome book), and I have a special bonus offer going out to anyone who purchases the book there. If you are interested in the offer, definitely check me out here Truth About Abs Truth.

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