Your workout just ended, but as far as your muscles are concerned, you’re just getting started on the mass- and strength-gaining process. Getting bigger and stronger is all about recovery, and that depends on rest (including a good night’s sleep) and a nutritional post-workout meal.
A hard training session without proper post-workout nutrition is like putting in a full day’s work but never cashing your paycheck. (Okay, not exactly the same, but close enough.)
Not sure what to eat (and drink) for the best results? Los Angeles-based celebrity trainer Ash Scarrott, owner of Body by Ash and ambassador for The After Bar, offers his favorite post-training nutrients to make sure you cash in on those gains you just worked so hard for.
Ash Scarrott’s post-workout drink for more muscle
Immediately after a workout, Scarrott’s go-to recovery drink consists of the following, mixed in water:
50 grams or so of fast-digesting carbohydrates via 1-2 scoops of Gatorade powder, dextrose, or cyclic dextrin.
1 scoop of whey protein powder (preferably Whey Protein Isolate).
“Following the end of a tough training session, I like to get the quick-digesting carbohydrates to help replenish lost glycogen in the muscles and start the recovery process,” says Scarrott. “A high glycemic index (GI) carb source like Gatorade is easy to digest and quickly absorbed into the muscles. The whey protein is also super-fast-digesting and, of course, is key for muscle recovery.”
If he needs something even more convenient post-workout, Scarrott will instead grab The After Bar. “The After Bar has a great ratio of carbs to protein as well as the added benefits of recovery coming from the CBD,” he says.
Post-workout meal (chicken, vegetables, and rice bowl)
Photo by Eiliv-Sonas Aceron on Unsplash
After the above post-workout cocktail, Scarrott drives home and has a whole-food meal consisting of more protein and carbs — something along the lines of a chicken/veggies/rice bowl. For him, this is typically lunch; for others, it might be dinner (depending on what time of day you train).
Here’s what it looks like:
2 cups of white rice
6 oz chicken breast
1 cup of broccoli or spinach
“I’m aiming for around 75 grams of carbs at this meal and 30 to 40 grams of protein,” says Scarrott. “I like to keep fats low in the meals immediately following my training sessions, as you don’t want to take in fat when your insulin is spiked from the carbohydrates. Usually, I save most of my fats for later in the day when all my workouts are done.”
Post-workout meal food swaps
If for whatever reason you want to avoid dairy-based protein sources, you can replace the whey protein with a plant-based powder; pea and rice proteins are both good options.
If you don’t have Gatorade and dextrose powder handy, white bread also makes for a good fast-digesting post-workout carbohydrate. Three slices of white bread, or one bagel, will get you in the 50-gram ballpark.