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The Ultimate Guide to Post Workout Supplements
What are post workout supplements and who needs them?
- Whey protein
- Fast-digesting carbohydrates
- Branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs) - leucine, isoleucine, & valine
- Creatine monohydrate (and other forms of creatine)
- Vitamin and mineral complexes
- Antioxidant complexes
So what makes a post workout better than your trusted protein powder or BCAA formula after a brutal workout? A few things. Following a workout, your body is primed to absorb muscle repairing nutrients more efficiently.  This 60-90 minute window following a workout is known as the “anabolic window”. You can further enhance the anabolic window by adding fast digesting carbohydrates to your post workout mix. Forget the stigma against fast digesting carbs because immediately following a workout is the perfect time to consume them. They help your body absorb the other ingredients (protein, bcaas, creatine monohydrate etc.) more efficiently thereby making it a perfect time to combine all these recovery ingredients into 1 mix instead of throughout the day. 
Athletes and lifters of all kinds should consider taking a post workout supplement if they want to enhance recovery and return to the field or weight room ready to compete harder and with less soreness sooner.
So we’ve established that post workout supplements are legit. Now what should you look for and what makes one better than the next? Read on to break a mental sweat.
What you should look for in your post workout supplementAs discussed in the section above, look for a formula that contains a combination of whey protein, fast digesting carbohydrates, added BCAAs (especially leucine as it has been shown to increase muscle protein synthesis), and some or all of the following: creatine, l-glutamine, vitamin/mineral complex, and an antioxidant complex. 
A solid post workout supplement should have a ratio of carbs to protein anywhere from 2:1 up to 4:1 (depending upon individual needs and preferences). Again, immediately following your workout is the time to enjoy fast digesting carbs since they will help to a) replace your depleted glycogen stores and b) drive the other muscle builders into the cells. Don’t use this as an excuse to go down a coke or eat a Twinkie. Opt for higher quality sources found either in your post workout supplement or a fruit juice, honey, or chocolate milk. In the absence of your ideal shake, go with chocolate milk. Several studies have found that it’s natural 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio helps athletes recover faster than sports drinks (Gatorade, Powerade etc.).  Doesn’t hurt that it’s absolutely delicious!
Note that the ideal carbohydrate to protein ratio will vary depending upon your goals, primary athletic activity, and body type/metabolism. If you are an endurance athlete, you’ll definitely want to go with more carbs since you’ll be burning these bad boys as your primary energy source. If you are trying to pack on serious size and aren’t too concerned with adding a little extra bodyfat, crush some extra carbs. If you are a casual gym rat trying to get extra shredded go with fewer carbs (2:1 or even 1:1). Ultimately you should do whatever you find works best for you rather than mindlessly following a protocol that works for others but not you!
Our favorite post workout supplementsTo be completely honest we haven’t found a perfect post workout supplement just yet. There are several great products, but none that fit all of the criteria we’ve listed above. Nonetheless, here are some great options for you to check out:
AfterShock Recovery by Myogenix
If you can't pick:
ConclusionPost workout supplementation is critical to maximizing your gains in the gym and promoting recovery. If you are serious about getting the most out of your workouts you should pick a formula that meets your needs and stick with it for at least 6 weeks to see if it really works. Or if you are lazy, just choose one of the ones we’ve recommended above. Or drink chocolate milk. That shit is delicious!
Thanks for reading! As a bonus to anybody who read the whole thing, use the code POSTWORKOUT5 in our e-store on either AfterShock or Platinum Hydrobuilder for $5 off!
 Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Cribb PJ, Hayes A. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2006 Nov;38(11):1918-25.
 Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy in individuals engaged in weight-training Stark M, Lukaszuk J, Prawitz A, Salacinski A. J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2012 Dec 14;9(1):54. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-9-54.
 Co-ingestion of protein and leucine stimulates muscle protein synthesis rates to the same extent in young and elderly lean men Koopman R, Verdijk L, Manders R, Gijsen A, Gorselink M, Pijpers E, Wagenmakers A, and van Loon L Am J Clin Nutr September 2006
 Postexercise carbohydrate-protein supplementation improves subsequent exercise performance and intracellular signaling for protein synthesis. Ferguson-Stegall L, McCleave EL, Ding Z, Doerner PG 3rd, Wang B, Liao YH, Kammer L, Liu Y, Hwang J, Dessard BM, Ivy JL. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 2011 May;25(5):1210-24.