EAT BIG. GET BIG. It’s a #majorkey to muscle growth.
If your post workout meal isn’t already a priority, make it one. Immediately. It’s critical for refueling depleted muscles, stimulating growth and recovery, and ultimately a requirement if you’re hoping to toss on slabs of brand new, grade A, USDA prime lean muscle mass.
Because remember, your workouts are simply a mechanism to tear up muscle fibers, break ’em down, and prime your body for explosive growth. Muscle growth itself physically occurs outside of the gym, when you’re sleeping, eating, foam rolling, resting, and Netflixing your face off (see, it can be productive).
Without adequate recovery, intense workouts are completely useless at best; and harmful at worst, leading to painful injuries and overtraining syndrome.
Sure, foam rolling and massage are strong recovery tactics. BCAAs help. But your best, most consistent method to galvanize recovery is also the simplest: eat a kickass post workout meal that’s jacked with protein and loaded with carbs. That 1-2 punch is absolutely critical to refuel depleted energy tanks (aka glycogen), repair muscle fibers, and spark muscle growth.
Or in a formula: P+C+W=G. Protein + Carbs + Water = GAINS. SCIENCE.
And no, please don’t sprint home and risk death to eat 6 minutes after your last set. The concept of the “anabolic window” is largely a myth. Just stuff your face as soon as you realistically can (30-90 minutes post workout works) and keep it heavy on the protein (~.5g per kg of bodyweight).
We’ve lined up 4 protein-packed power meals to crush after an intense workout session. Expand your culinary repertoire, toss them all into your muscle-building arsenal, and go HAM.
(Pro tip: they also make lean meals for lunch or dinner).
Post Workout Meal 1 — Whey Protein Smoothies
Whey protein shakes and smoothies are super obvious, but also super effective. They’re uber-popular for a reason — they’re quick and simple, portable, and jacked with an effective balance of protein, carbs, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants; especially when fruit, vegetables, and superfood boosters make an appearance.
For a simple whey protein smoothie, blend up the following formula:
- 1.5 cups almond milk (or your choice of milk)
- 1 scoop whey protein powder (or a plant-based variety)
- 4 ice cubes
- 2 servings of fruit (e.g. 1 banana and 1 cup of strawberries; 1 cup of mango and 1 cup of pineapple)
- *Boosters — spinach, flax, chia, maca, hemp, peanut/almond butter, coconut water, coconut flakes, and cacao nibs all make great additives.
My personal go-to is the Peanut Butter Power Protein Shake. Combine 1.5 cups almond milk, 1 scoop chocolate whey, 2 tbsp. peanut butter, 1/2 banana, 1/4 cup oats, and a few ice cubes.
Blend it all up and voila, you’ve got a liquid Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup. And for the most adventurous, we’ve lined up 30 easy superfood protein smoothie recipes.