Unless you’ve been living under a rock since the year 2000, you know about workout recovery drinks. Now let me tell you important things about these drinks.
Don’t drink post workout drinks
Post workout drinks are based on an outdated mentality. You shouldn’t be waiting until after your workout to drink these things. Whatever you took as a post workout drink in the past, drink it before and during your workout instead. You should be finished consuming it near the end of your workout.
Classic workout drink recipe
The classic workout drink recipe is 50% sugar and 50% protein. For a long time I’ve been using this mixture:
- 25% dextrose
- 25% maltodextrin
- 25% whey isolate (isolation method doesn’t matter)
- 25% micellar casein
I created this mixture on truentutrition.com. It looks like this,
Note: There are a lot of websites like truenutrition.com that allow you to make custom mixes. Find one with origins closer to your own country.
Now let’s talk about other options. First, I’m not convinced waxy maize starch or any neological sugar has any advantage over the oldschool, tried’n’true, classic mix of dextrose and maltodextrin that I’ve been using since I was 17 years old. I think most pro athletes or pro bodybuilders who hype up the virtues of these exotic sugars are doing this only because their sponsors already sell a product containing it at a premium price to idiots.
As for the protein, any fresh, high quality protein is the way to go. I recommend starting with whey. It can be whey protein concentrate, whey protein isolate, or hydrolyzed whey protein. Hydrolyzed whey protein is predigested, so the thinking behind its so called advantage is that it is more quickly delivered to where it needs to go during training stresses. I used it exclusively for a year and I didn’t notice any advantageous difference compared to cheaper whey protein concentrates. So I don’t use it. Now, in regards to whey protein concentrates, they give me awful diarrhea if I consume them in high quantities, so that’s the only reason I stay away from whey protein concentrates altogether. So what do I use? I use whey protein isolates.
You can also use casein based proteins too. I do. I like Micellar Casein because it has shit loads of sub-fractions and growth factors. Remember this: good protein powders have more than “proteins” in them, they have other things too… That’s my case for Casein. It’s anabolic as fuck. Why do you think cottage cheese is such a popular bodybuilding food? Because bodybuilders who eat it grow. Why? Because it has casein, and casein is anabolic as fuck. So despite being slow digesting, I love casein proteins for training. People who think they digest “too slowly” for training purposes aren’t seeing the big picture.
In regards to freshness and quality, for whey protein specifically: if your whey has been sitting already opened on your shelf for a year it’s too old. Throw it away. If you buy whey protein concentrate or whey protein isolate it should look kind of clumpy and have this slight “moist” appearance. If yours has the texture and appearance of something like sand it’s no longer fresh, it’s low quality, or your product contains several other ingredients as fillers. So my recommendation: use whatever protein you buy within a couple months of opening so its fresh and buy a high quality product that doesn’t contain a dozen fillers.
Me? I buy all my supplements from truenutrition.com. No, I’m not sponsored by them. No, I have not asked to be sponsored. No, I do not care.
How much to use?
My general recommendation for anyone under 250 lbs who is fairly lean is 25 grams of sugar and 25 grams of protein per workout. Me? That’s what I use for almost all of my workouts whether tricking, body building, power lifting, or whatever. I’m 220 lbs and under 10% body fat according to BodPod. Here are some recent pictures,
If you have more muscle than I do, consume some more. If you train hard for a time period significantly longer than one hour, consume some more. Otherwise, I stand by my general recommendation regardless of whether your workout is a high rep squat fest or a light tricking session, or whether you are bulking or cutting, or whether you are male, female, or transgender.
Never go empty
Consume your training drink in my general recommended amount even on days you’re just doing some active recovery work. Why? Because active recovery work increases blood flow. Increased blood flow means enhanced nutrient delivery. If you aren’t giving your body awesome nutrients during moments when nutrient delivery is enhanced you’re missing out on fantastic recovery opportunities.
Putting amino acids into your workout drinks is an excellent idea. I have already recommended creatine, tyrosine, and leucine. Those are the best. After that you can add some extra bells and whistles if you want. Who doesn’t want bells and whistles? I make my own amino acid mix I call Illminos. They’re [SIC!]
1/4th of a cup (45 grams) of my Illmino mixture contains,
- 9 grams of Leucine
- 9 grams of Creatine
- 6 grams of Tyrosine
- 6 grams of Glutamine
- 3 grams of Taurine
- 3 grams of Beta-Alanine
- 3 grams of Betaine
I buy all of these ingredients separately from truenutrition.com and just mix them myself into my own containers.
In Tricking Supplements VI I mentioned why I use Creatine, Tyrosine and Leucine.
In Tricking Supplements V I mentioned that Glutamine and Taurine are supplements you can skip. I add them only because they are cheap and have supposed health benefits. I do not expect ergogenic aid from them.
That leaves Beta-Alanine and Betaine. Beta-Alanine has been purported to be the new creatine. Honestly, it’s cheap and I figure why not? So I use it. Not much is needed and too much can produce tingly hot flashes. Google it. Betaine is also cheap and there are reports and science behind its use as an ergogenic aid. Just google it. Betaine also smells awful.
I’ve written about why I think drinking water is important and how to start drinking water. It’s simple: Your workout drink can be awesome but if you are consuming too much or too little water you’ll suffer. How much water should you consume? How much do I consume?
For tricking, jumping, sprinting, gymnastic ring work, or anything else that involves me working against my own body weight: I consume the right amount of water. This means primarily following my intuition. If I over consume water during these activities I feel uncomfortable, bloated, or heavier. For heavy weight lifting or anything that involves me working against external resistance: I consume more water than my intuition tells me to. I’d rather err on the side of caution during these activities and over-consume water than under-consume it. I typically drink 2 liters of liquids within the hour that I lift weights.
Consume electrolytes regardless of whether you sweat or not. If you sweat more, consume more. There is also a lot of talk out there about how sodium will fill out muscles and increase vascularity. If you’re interested in this concept, I encourage you to try the following experiment if your goal is to get a massive pump in the gym:
First, eat this meal 1 hour before your workout: Eat a banana. Then eat a large, microwaved white baked potato with 2 grams of healthy sea salt (not table salt), that means something like Celtic Sea Salt or Himalayan Sea Salt. Next, add some coconut oil or real butter to your potato (organic, pasteurized butter is preferred). Ingest about 50 grams of protein from any source to round out the meal. Drink 1 liter of water also. The banana and potato have shit loads of potassium and the healthy sea salt has a shit load of sodium and other trace minerals.
Last, add an electrolyte mix product to your workout drink.
Okay, now that you’re charged up (like that pun?) see what kind of pump you get in the gym.
Eat post workout meals
When your workout is finished, and your workout drink is consumed, go eat a real meal within the next hour. Me? I usually consume something like my work meals, regardless of whether I am at work or not. Cool? You bet.
And that’s it!
Comment below if you have questions!