Why is post-workout supplementation important?
In this blog, I will focus on post workout supplements specifically designed to promote performance and muscle hypertrophy (i.e. the growth of muscles). Post-workout supplementation is important for recovery and muscle growth. During a moderate to intensive workout, muscle fibres are torn at a microscopic level – with the amount dependent on the volume of the routine. Following a workout, the torn muscle fibres will then enter the recovery stage where they are rebuilt and become stronger than before. This process will continue until your muscles reach their maximum physical capacity.
Post-workout supplementation aids recovery, increases ability to build muscle, and decreases symptoms of soreness. Most post-workout products are consumed immediately after a workout to maximize benefits from the supplementation. A “window of opportunity” is available up to 90 minutes following a workout where your body is able to process nutrients at an elevated level to promote the above benefits.
Types of supplementation
Protein can be considered the backbone of muscle growth. When individuals think of getting stronger and healthier, they think of increased protein consumption. Your body uses protein to build and repair tissues (muscle tissues) that were damaged during your exercise routine. The following study outlines the benefits of protein consumption combined with resistance training and its promotion of lean muscle tissue here. It is recommended for individuals to consume 1.6 grams of protein per kg of body weight. Excess protein consumed will end up on the other end of the digestive system and ultimately not be absorbed into the body.
If you enter your local supplementation store, you may find yourself hit with an endless amount of protein products. I will help break down and explain some of the most common types of proteins below, and list some pros and cons of each.
Whey Concentrate Protein
Whey concentrate is the most common type of protein found on store shelves and is a milk-based product. It consists of 70-80% protein, which is a respectable amount that can be rapidly absorbed by the body.
However, the rest of the bulk features cheap fillers coming from carbohydrates and fats. The whey concentrate protein will do its job, and if you are fine with additional ingredients, then this product is for you.
Whey Isolate Protein
Whey isolate is a step up from your basic whey concentrate protein. It consists of approximately 85% protein, making it the superior option compared to whey concentrate. This increased amount of protein allows for better and more rapid absorption into the body. There are less filler ingredients making it a higher quality product and helping you get what you paid for.
Keep in mind with the greater concentration of protein comes a greater cost, in terms of $$$.
Casein protein is similar to whey – it is a milk based protein. However, it differs from whey due to its rate of absorption. Whey proteins are absorbed instantaneously by the body, whereas casein can take upwards of 4 hours. This provides a slow yet steady supply of protein available for your muscles to feed on.
Due to the slow absorbing properties of casein protein, it is often consumed immediately before bed to fuel muscle growth over night. Casein has also been proven to delay the onset of hunger by keeping individuals satiated for longer periods of time after consumption. This product has a similar price point to whey concentrate.
Plant-based proteins have skyrocketed in popularity in recent years due to better tasting flavours hitting the markets. Plant-based proteins are no longer unpalatable and in fact taste very similar to the protein we know and love. This protein can include but not limited to: soy, oats, nuts, bean and tofu-based products.
It is superior to milk-based proteins due to its nutritional density per calorie. In addition to providing a high source of protein, it also packs other nutrients compared to whey (which only contains protein). The sustainability and nutritional density of plant-based proteins outweigh animal-based ones.
However, similar to other plant based products being produced today, they are very expensive. As this market continues to grow, reductions in costs are inevitable.
Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s)
Taking a break from protein powders, branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) can be consumed before, during, and after a workout. Since we are talking about post-workout supplementation, I will only focus on their benefits. They consist of the three essential amino acids: leucine, isoleucine and valine.
Muscle tissues require protein for recovery and protein consists of amino acids – making BCAA’s a great post-workout supplement. It has been said that leucine directly stimulates muscle synthesis (growth), essentially helping you build muscles faster. In addition to its recovery benefits, BCAA’s also reduces soreness and fatigue allowing for less downtime between workouts.
Local supplementation stores in the Lower Mainland (Vancouver)
There are many supplement stores across Vancouver, but some popular ones include:
- Body Energy Club
- GNC – General Nutrition Centres
- Popeye’s Supplements
- Genesis Nutrition
Have any questions about post-workout supplements? Not sure which one you should take? Leave us a comment below and we’ll be happy to help.
Kevin Kwok – Studio Coordinator
Kevin enrolled in numerous sports program as a child, which exposed him to an active lifestyle early in life. He played ultimate frisbee competitively at the junior level while in high school. Kevin now focuses his training exclusively on dragon boating. He has been paddling for the past 3 years and hopes to make the Canadian National Team in 2019. He hopes he can motivate others to accomplish their short and long term fitness goals.
This post has been developed by studio contributors which include Co-Op students, kinesiologists, therapists and our expert colleagues