Post Workout Nutrition – 2 Crucial Things You Need Down Your Neck After a Workout!

One of my favourite scenes in a movie is in “End of Days”, when Arnold Schwarzenegger wakes up, sticks a pizza and whatever leftovers he can find around his kitchen into a blender whilst proclaiming “Breakfast is the most important meal of the day!” – Then of course, he necks the contents of the blender! Pure Genius..

But the great “Ahnullld” MIGHT have been wrong with that statement (blasphemy I know!) – Because he clearly overlooked post workout nutrition!

Don’t get me wrong breakfast is an extremely important meal to get your metabolism kickstarted for the day and switch yourself from a catabolic (muscle breakdown) state into an anabolic state. You should never skimp on breakfast (a common mistake) but for any kind of athlete, fitness enthusiast, muscle builder or even the casual gym user, post workout nutrition IS THE MOST IMPORTANT MEAL OF THE DAY! (You can tell Arnold I said that too!).

Then why do so many people still neglect this most important meal?

Why is Post Workout Nutrition the Most Important Meal of the Day?

Picture this – You’ve just hit the gym pretty hard and had a tough session. You’re exhausted! What have you done? Well without getting to scientific, you’ve just depleted all of your glycogen (energy) stores. Now at this point your body is literally screaming at you for nutrition so that it can refuel your muscles with energy and start the recovery process.

If you’re using weights in your workouts, and everybody should be, you’ve also caused micro-tears and damage to your muscles. They will be begging you for a hit of fast protein to save them from utilizing their own protein stores (Your muscles feasting on themselves? Not a cool scenario if you’re hoping to build muscle)

What do most people do? Go and get changed, have a shower, chat to the cute chick on reception or the personal trainer for half hour, wait until they get home..put their feet up a get the picture. By the time they’ve eaten and refueled it’s too late. They’ve lost that important window of oppurtunity!

What SHOULD Everyone do for Post Workout Nutrition?

For post workout nutrition everybody should come prepared and carry a shaker bottle around with 25-30 grams of whey protein and around 50-75 grams of fast release, high GI carbs (these doses are approximate and should be dependant on lean weight)  Ready to drink the INSTANT you finish your workout. <– IMPORTANT!

Some trainee’s will even also sip a protein/carb shake during their workout to ensure their glycogen and protein stores are always topped up – I personally also do this but reduce the protein and carbs for this shake.

Make sure you do not include any fats in your shake at this time. Fat will reduce the effectiveness of the shake by reducing the speed at which the protein and carbs are absorbed – Something that is counter-productive to what we want at this time!

When you get home you must then also eat a balanced meal as normal (All 3 macronutrients can now feature in this meal – Protein, carbs and fats)

Yes, these rules apply to you whether you’re a male or female, young or old, muscle building or burning fat (post workout carbs can and probably should be lowered for most people if this is your goal, especially in the last few weeks – experiment to see how you get on). The doses may also change depending on your weight and your body type but you can find out what works for you and make adjustments.

Important Note : I’ve heard so much nonsense recently from gym members and friends about “Oh I want to stay natural, these powders are cheating” – Really?? Do you drink milk? Whoops, looks like you’re a cheater then because milk contains whey..Do you eat packaged foods on the odd occasion? Eat cereals? There you go cheating again because you’ll find maltodextrin, dextrose and other forms of high GI carbs and sugars in those foods.

Get that “all powders are unnatural and bad” way of thinking out of your head because it’s an ignorant way of thinking – Most supplements suck, yes..but the ones you need for post workout nutrition are ESSENTIAL for your progress. Forego them at your own peril. I will however, look to find a vegan alternative to your protein shake if that is your preference – Watch this space..

Why Whey Protein?

Whey protein is one of the most bioavailable proteins out there which means that your body can use it’s broad spectrum of amino acids for muscle repair..and quickly! Remember, you don’t want to waste time eating solid food, waiting for it to digest before supplying the muscles and most of us don’t have that appetite immediately after a workout.

Whey protein is the smart choice for your post workout protein because it’s the fastest acting. Pick yourself up a decent whey protein supplement without breaking the bank on expensive brands who make fancy claims about how much better their protein is. Whey is whey for the most part. My recommendation is below. You can’t go wrong with Optimum Nutrition. Click on a product for different flavours and sizes if you want something different from what’s below.

Mix your whey protein and your fast acting carbs with water and simply neck the mixture! Done! (There is a school of thought that taking the carbs and protein seperately is better. If you subscribe to that then you’ll have to bring 2 shaker bottles – I personally am not convinced of the negligible difference seperating them would make post-workout.)

Why Fast Acting Carbs and Which One is the Best?

Carbs are an important and often overlooked aspect of post workout nutrition. If people do use post workout nutrition then it’s usually just a protein shake. This is also a big mistake because you’re not replenishing your muscles energy stores and this will impede your recovery and progression in future workouts! “Won’t fast acting carbs make me fat in those amounts?” Maybe during the day when you’re inactive, yes – But not after a workout when your insulin will shuttle them straight into the place that your body needs them the most – Your glycogen stores. You can play with the dose of your carbs but the ratio will usually be around 1:2 with protein to carbs. See how your body responds..if you start getting overspill due to the high dosage and you gain body fat, try reducing the dose of your post workout carbs. Although I took my post workout carbs even when I was cutting down and still got pretty ripped. It’s hard to store fat immediately after an intense training session.

So Which Carbs?

I will dedicate an entire post to this debate but, again it’s a minor detail in my opinion. Just get one of these 4 forms of carbohydrates down your neck and you will be fine.

  • Dextrose
  • Maltodextrin
  • Waxy Maize Starch
  • Vitargo (barley)

The further down the list you go, the more expensive and apprently more effective the carbs are for post workout. The latest two releases are waxy maize and Vitargo (which is patented by one company making the price extortionate for a carb). These are based on having a molecular weight that allows them to pass through the stomach easier and apparently into the muscles much faster than ever before. Real world results? I haven’t seen any studies but I’m certain they are negligible when comparing the four. They all get the job done so just pick the cheapest or most available one – I never recommend wasting too much time or money on supplements. Your efforts are better utilised elsewhere!

So there it is – The simplest of meals but one that is ironically your most important of the day. Don’t forget to eat a solid, balanced meal within 1-2 hours after finishing your workout as well to make further use of this window of oppurtunity.

A recap on your post workout nutrition –

Shaker Bottle with/

  • 25-40 grams of Whey protein
  • 50-75 grams of fast acting carbs
  • Mix w/ Water

Done! Enjoy and please leave your comments or questions below. Let’s get talkin!


Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Vitamin D deficiency symptoms are crucial to recognise – Being deficient in this very important vitamin could quite possibly have a massively detrimental impact on your life.

The worst case scenario is that the deficiency will lead to a condition where bones do not calcify normally and will even cause easier fractures and deformities.

This condition is called Rickets in infants and osteomalacia in adults. If treated, prognosis is usually positive however bone deformities usually persist in infants where as in adults they do not.

I think you’ll agree it would always be best to catch a Vitamin D deficiency early or even prevent it in the first place through proper nutrition or supplementation

So how do we recognise Vitamin D deficiency symptoms?

Recognising Vitamin D Deficiency Symptoms

Early signs and symptoms

  • Profuse sweating
  • Irritability
  • Restlessness
  • Long Term Symptoms

  • High Blood Pressure
  • Tuberculosis
  • Depression, including seasonal affective disorder
  • Type I diabetes
  • Periodontal disease
  • Low blood calcium levels
  • Chronic bone, muscle, or joint pain
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Knocked knees
  • Other bone deformities I.e enlarged wrists/ankles, pidgeon chest, bulging forehead etc
  • You may not experience all of these vitamin d deficiency symptoms if you have a deficiency but on the flip side of the coin, if you do recognise one or two of these symptoms, it may not necessarily mean that you’re deficient in Vitamin D

    If we know what causes Vitamin D deficiency, then we may be better equipped to recognise whether it is a deficiency or not..

    So What Are the Causes of Vitamin D Deficiency?

    Lack of exposure to sun – Ironically, for all the bad press that our good old sun gets, lack of it is the biggest risk factor for vitamin d deficiency. Vitamin D is synthesised by the body through sun exposure, therefore a lack of sun (or too much sun block) will cause a deficiency.

    Race/Ethnicity – Those with darker skin will have more trouble synthesizing Vitamin D due to melanin (the pigment that darkens skin) slowing this process down.

    Liver and Kidney Problems – Vitamin D is processed by the Liver and Kidneys so these individuals could suffer from Vitamin D deficiency even if they have enough Vitamin D circulating in their blood.

    Genetic – Some individuals are genetically unable to convert sunlight as effectively as others leading to a deficiency symptoms.

    Others – Things such as weight/obesity and age are also risk factors which can cause Vitamin D deficiency symptoms. Mainly because older and overweight individuals have a greater demand and requirement on their bones for Vitamin D.

    If you are at risk of any of the above causes of vitamin d deficiency, this can be balanced out by taking in the proper Vitamin D supplements

    However, if you have a genetic condition or poor liver/kidney function that means you can’t synthesize Vitamin D optimally, I would recommend seeing your doctor – Especially if you are experiencing any of the Vitamin D deficiency symptoms

    Green Tea

    What is Green Tea?

    Green tea originates from China and has been used for thousands of years!

    It contains many polyphenolic antioxidants which help to combat free radicals and may help prevent ill-health, especially neurodegenerative diseases and cardiovascular diseases.

    More recently, this tea has also been considered to have fantastic fat loss properties too!

    How Does Green Tea Work?

    Green tea has been garnering much interest and it’s not difficult to see why as it has many positive effects on the body.

    Green tea has been shown to increase antioxidant levels which can provide a variety of health benefits such as :-

    • Increased health of arteries via breakdown of LDL cholestrol
    • Act as anti inflammatories
    • Certain antioxidants can inhibit the growth or occurence of Tumors
    • Anti-ageing

    Green tea has also been used successfully by many to help shed unwanted fat through CNS (central nervous system) stimulation due to it’s caffeine content. This helps to shift fat from their cells.

    Finally, Green tea also acts as a diuretic to remove excess water which will give your body a harder, more toned look.

    Who Would Green Tea Benefit Most?

    Everybody! This truely is one of those supplements that anybody could benefit from.

    The following populations would especially see the benefits of Green tea :-

    • Healthy adults
    • Athletes (or anybody who exercises)
    • Anybody wanting to lose bodyfat or weight.

    What Are The Recommended Dosages of Green Tea?

    Although we know a lot about how good Green tea is for us, there are still a lot of benefits that we don’t even know about!

    Studies are constantly ongoing and no optimal dose has been established. Stick to your product guidelines.

    Side Effects of Green Tea?

    Green tea is completely safe! However, If too much is consumed, the same side effects as caffeine would apply as Green Tea contains caffeine.

    Guggulsterone / Guggulsterones Information

    What Are They?

    Guggulsterones are compounds derived from the “Gum Guggul” plant that grows in India. Sounds like a joke right?? Nope! The plant is also known as Commiphora Mukul.

    Despite the funny name, Guggulsterone (s) are a potent thyroid stimulator that increase your metabolic rate! This makes Guggulsterones a good option for those looking to lose weight fast and drop bodyfat.

    Guggul also has two extra benefits if the above wasn’t already enough! Guggul helps with the users complexion and also has a favourable effect on total cholestrol levels and the ratio of good cholestrol to bad cholestrol!

    That’s a pretty good CV!

    How Do Guggulsterone (s) work?

    Unlike other popular supplements that work on the central nervous system (such as Ephedrine and Caffeine), Guggul works to stimulate the thyroid gland.

    It does this by naturally stimulating the release of thyroid hormones which will increase your metabolic rate and help you to burn more calories, even at rest!

    This effect is particularly helpful during a restricted diet where your metabolic rate will be naturally slowed down making it difficult to lose further weight!

    Who Would Benefit Most?

    Of course, anybody who is looking to lose weight and burn fat as part of a healthy lifestyle can benefit.

    Furthermore, users who experience side effects with CNS fat loss supplements can benefit from the milder Guggul. (However, the ultimate benefit is to be had by combining Guggulsterone with other CNS stimulating fat loss supplements as you’ll be attacking your fat cells from all angles and accelerating the fat loss process!)

    Finally, as I mentioned earlier, Guggul has a fantastic effect on skin complexion and was even shown to be more potent than some anti-biotics for treating acne! Couple that with its cholestrol controlling benefits and you have a supplement in Guggul with a huge upside!

    What Are The Recommended Dosages?

    Dosages of 20-60mgs should be taken around 3 times per day. (But try to find a product with the highest possible % of naturally extracted Guggul – 10% or above is about right)

    Side Effects?

    If you have good quality Guggul, you’ll experience a rise in body temperature. This is completely normal and lets you know that you have purchased a quality product which is increasing your metabolic rate.

    Other than that, Guggulsterone is known as one of the safest fat loss supplements on the market!