The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

August 19, 2013 | Roland Pankewich

Must See Nutrition Videos

I constantly see athletes looking for ways to make their workouts harder and more intense. But athletes also need to think about how to balance their performance with recovery. The nutrients you consume after a tough workout help your body build and repair muscle after exercise. Here are some of the most important nutritional supplements you should take after working out.

Best Post-Workout Supplements

Protein

The highest quality protein is whey, and it comes in three different forms: isolate, concentrate and hydrolyzed. Isolate contains the highest proportion of protein per serving at 90 to 93 percent. Concentrate is roughly 80 to 85 percent protein. Hydrolyzed digests the fastest and converts to protein that the body can use.

Whey is also high in leucine, the amino acid that increases the cells' ability to synthesize protein. Ideally, you want to consume 3 to 4 grams of leucine in your post-workout meal. Thirty grams of whey is optimal, 20 for women and small-framed men. To calculate the correct amount for your body, multiply your lean body mass (in kg) by 0.5.

Carbohydrates

Post-workout carbs work best for endurance athletes who need to replenish muscle glycogen stores and for athletes who have trouble with glycogen levels because they train first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. Otherwise, you can still benefit from post-workout carbs—just be careful not to miscalculate. What doesn't go back to storage will be converted to fat.

If you are an endurance athlete and you have trained for an hour or more, look for a carb-to-protein ratio of 4:1 (120 grams of carbs to 30 grams of protein) to maximize recovery. If you are a strength athlete, a ratio of 2:1 (60 grams of carbs to 30 grams of protein) is better because you expend less energy.

Glutamine and Branch-Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs)

Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, and it can be depleted during intense training. Ideally consume 10-15 grams after a workout. The BCAAs—leucine, isoleucine and valine—help power you through your workouts during hard training. They also help regulate the creation of new muscle and reduce muscle breakdown. Since they are not produced by the body, we get them entirely through our diet.

Vitamins C and B6

Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant. It reduces the level of cortisol, a stress hormone, which can cause imbalance in your anabolic hormones and blood sugar. Endurance athletes experiencing high levels of oxidative stress from exercise benefit most from vitamin C. Strength athletes also benefit if they are in an intense training phase. I recommend 1000 mg post-workout.

Vitamin B6 helps the body synthesize protein and make new muscle mass. The more protein you consume, the more B6 you need. Supplement with 100 mcg after a workout.

Read more:

- Roland Pankewich is the Director of Program Design at FitStudios Wellness Center (Markham, Ontario). He has spent the past 10 years as a personal trainer...
- Roland Pankewich is the Director of Program Design at FitStudios Wellness Center (Markham, Ontario). He has spent the past 10 years as a personal trainer...

Featured Videos

Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Tim Tebow's NFL Off-Season Workout Views: 152,523
Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Path to the Pros 2015: Trae Waynes Views: 80,168
Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Path to the Pros 2015: Marcus Mariota Views: 1,267,361
Load More

Resources

STACK Fitness

Everything you need to be fitter than ever

STACK Conditioning

Sport-specific conditioning programs

Coaches and Trainers

Tips and advice for coaches and trainers

Magazine

Latest issues of STACK Magazine

STACK 4W

Women's sports workout, nutrition and lifestyle advice

Gamer

Gaming, entertainment and tech news

Basic Training

Military-style training for athletes

News

Find the latest news relevant to athletes

Most Popular Videos

Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds Peyton Manning Dumbbell Bench With 80+ Pounds
Views: 43,450,145
Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied Drew Brees Will Not Be Denied
Views: 12,117,693
Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout Colin Kaepernick's Core Workout
Views: 895,904
Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill Robert Griffin III Pocket Presence QB Drill
Views: 6,866,217
Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill Ohio State Football Open Field Plyo Drill
Views: 9,501,255

Load More
More Cool Stuff You'll Like
2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

2 Safe Pre-Workout Supplements

Pre-workout supplements are a very common purchase for young athletes looking to improve their fitness and performance. With so many brands and choices...

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

Fuel for Thought: Gels, Bloks and Beans

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

6 Supplements That Power Quality Workouts

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

7 Rules That Would End PED Use in Baseball Immediately

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

5 Rules You Must Know Before Taking a Fish Oil Supplement

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

This Just In: Boost Your Workout With Peppermint

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

Ask the Experts: Is Caffeine Safe for Athletes?

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

Why You Need Vitamin D in Your Diet

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

Do Athletes Need Zinc Supplements?

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

Why You Can't Ignore Pre- and Post-Workout Nutrition

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

4 Best Supplements for Football Players

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

Why Creatine Is the Best Sports Supplement

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

The Best Post-Workout Supplements and Nutrition

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

HGH Use Among Teens on the Rise, According to Survey

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

ZMA: Is This Mysterious Supplement Right for You?

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

7 Sketchy Marketing Phrases Used By Supplement Companies

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

Demystifying Popular Smoothie Boosters

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

Make Sure You're Getting Enough Calcium

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

Blueberry Supplements: Better Than Actual Blueberries?

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

4 Creatine Myths Exposed

Should I Take Creatine?

Should I Take Creatine?

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

The Best Time to Consume Creatine

What is Casein Protein?

What is Casein Protein?

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

Should You Be Taking BCAAs?

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

Can Baking Soda Improve Your Training Gains?

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

3 Reasons Why You Should Take a Fish Oil Supplement

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

The 5 Essential Sports Supplements

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)

The Positive Side Effects of Creatine (Besides Building Muscle)

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

Use Sodium Bicarbonate to Get More Out of Creatine

Soy vs. Whey Protein

Soy vs. Whey Protein

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

The One Thing You Need to Do to Build Muscle

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

Workout Supplements: Do You Really Need Them?

Why Basketball Players Should Ditch Energy Drinks

Why Basketball Players Should Ditch Energy Drinks

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

3 Supplements to Boost On-Ice Performance

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

The Truth About Muscle-Enhancing Supplements

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

Iodine: An Overlooked Essential Mineral for Female Athletes

EXOS Launches New Line of Supplements

EXOS Launches New Line of Supplements

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

L.A. Galaxy's Safe Supplementation for Soccer Players

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

What's Missing From the Female Athlete's Diet, Part 2: Iron

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

The 6 Most Promising Weight-Loss Supplements

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

4 Muscle-Building Supplements That Don't Work

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

Powder Hour: Is It Time to Add Protein Powder to Your Diet?

Do You Need a Probiotic Supplement?

Do You Need a Probiotic Supplement?

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

The Powerful Health Benefits of Turmeric

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

7 Fiber Supplements: More Than Just For Weight Loss

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

DHEA Supplements: Should You Take Them?

YardBarker