Q: What is the best food or supplement to have postworkout? I always drink a protein shake after training, but I’m not certain if that’s the best thing.
A: Postworkout nutrition is probably the most important anabolic time for your muscles. Intense exercise breaks down muscle tissue, catabolizing protein; depletes muscle glycogen, which provides energy; and reduces muscular ATP, the cellular fuel that drives contractions. It’s a severely catabolic period, in which your body is trying to recover but does so by feeding on itself. So getting some protein is only part of the recuperation and muscle-building equation—and probably not the most critical part.
Carbohydrates are even more essential for postworkout nutrition. Carbs are protein sparing, which means your body will use them instead of breaking down the muscles for protein to refuel itself. Obviously, if you just finished training to build size, the last thing you want to do is burn your muscles up further! Eating some carbs will help reduce catabolism and replenish glycogen in your muscles and liver.
Finally, the sometimes forgotten postworkout requirement is phospho-creatine. This is part of the cycle with ATP that provides the essential cellular fuel for muscular contractions. The point of creatine supplementation is to supercompensate with phosphocreatine so that you can get more contractions before failure by reactivating ATP during each set. Once you are done training, however, your ATP stores will be severely depleted and will also need to be replenished.
So back to your question: What is the best thing to take in after training? Look no farther than Dark Matter from MHP. This postworkout shake provides amino acids to keep your muscles from becoming catabolic and help speed recovery. It also contains waxy maize, which is a carb source that hits your system fast and helps pump up your glycogen stores. That will help you avoid breaking down muscle tissue and also speed recovery. Finally, Dark Matter has a creatine blend that saturates your muscles so that the ATP gets re-booted and helps you avoid catabolism.
You should down a Dark Matter shake within five minutes of finishing your training. It’s actually something I look forward to every day. It takes advantage of the anabolic window, when you can supercompensate your muscles with nutrients for maximum anabolic growth and recovery. After about 30 minutes, you can have a protein shake, such as MHP’s Probolic-SR, which is a combination protein that research shows builds muscles faster. It’s a hell of a one-two punch to finish off every hardcore workout!
Editor’s note: Ben White won his first IFBB professional bodybuilding contest, the Tampa Pro, in 2010. He is also a champion powerlifter and frequently competes in the World’s Strongest Bodybuilder contest at the Olympia. His best competition bench press is 711 pounds. He is an MPH athlete, www.MHPStong.com.t IM