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The Importance of Carbohydrates Post-Workout

By Adam Galuszka
November 17, 2015

You just finished a workout and you crushed it! Now what? You do have a window, which is about 30 minutes, in which it is very important to consume protein and carbohydrates to aid the recovery process. This is called the anabolic window. When you work out you are creating small tears in your muscles, and also using glycogen (a stored form of glucose) stored in the muscle cells.  These small tears allow for the muscle to repair and grow stronger.  The breaking down of muscles is a catabolic process, and in order to stop the catabolic process you need to ingest foods that the body can use in the recovery and repair process (an anabolic process). Two of these nutrients that are key in the recovery process are protein and carbohydrates. Why you need carbohydrates: When you are doing a weight training session or a crossfit class the primary source of fuel is glycogen, and predominantly glycogen that has been stored in muscle cells. Glycogen is a stored form of glucose, and a main source of glucose is carbohydrates. So in order to help your body and muscles repair you must replace what was used. By consuming these carbs after your workout, it will raise your insulin level which will help to transport that glucose to your muscle cells to be stored as glycogen. You should aim to consume carbohydrates that are easy to digest and that are not complex carbohydrates, as you want them to be absorbed quickly. A good rule of thumb is to aim to get 30-40 grams of carbohydrates after working out. Why you need protein: While you are working out you are creating small tears in your muscle fibers. In order to repair these tears you will need amino acids.  When protein is digested in the body it is broken down into amino acids that are then selectively put together for different uses. So at a base level protein can be thought of as a building block. In order to repair your damaged muscles you will need to ingest protein so that it can be broken down and built back up. Because carbohydrates induce an insulin response and the insulin spike helps shuttle glucose, this spike will also help with the shuttling of amino acids to the muscle cells. So you get more bang for your buck in the recovery process if you get your carbohydrates and protein at the same time. A good rule of thumb is to aim to get 20-30 grams of protein after working out It is best if you can consume a full meal after working out, comprised of nutrient dense foods and natural protein and carbohydrate sources, but protein shakes with a good source of carbohydrates is a good alternative.  Some of our favorite products for post workout recovery are SFH and UCAN.

Ucan Protein Drink Mix:

The Ucan Protein Drink Mix Single is powered by SuperStarch, enhanced with whey protein isolate, has no added sugar, contains added electrolytes and is gluten free. UCAN's SuperStarch is a super low-glycemic carbohydrate that is designed to keep your energy levels and blood sugar steady. This is a great post-workout option for athletes looking to stay low-sugar and avoid certain types of carbohydrate.

SFH Whey Protein Recovery:

SFH Recovery re energizes your cells, and tired muscles by increasing your ATP levels (Adenosine Triphospate), which is the energy powerhouse inside each cell. When ATP are loaded, cells can make new muscles quickly, joints are healthier and there is a reduced negative effect of free radical oxidants. SFH’s ATP loading formula uses ⅔ whey concentrated derived from grass fed, free range cows and about ⅓ essential amino acids. It also uses a multi-component mixture of vitamins and nutrients included, Co-Q10, ribose, and carnitine which boost energy and increases the body’s mitochondria productivity and helping put energy bag into muscle cells.