There was a time in my personal training career when I enforced the importance of post workout recovery and the timing of protein post workout. I was telling clients how vital it was that they consumed their post workout shake within 20 mins of finishing their workout, in order to maximize protein synthesis, muscle growth and repair… Well times have changed and thanks to Alan Aragon and Brad Schoenfield we now know the so-called 'anabolic window' isn't within this 'magic’ 20 min window but more along the lines of anywhere between 3 and 6hrs, with not so much the timing of protein being important, but the total amount of protein consumed across the day.  This is great news! No longer are we frantically rushing back to the locker room in the hope that we can consume our protein drink within those ‘vital’ 20mins. Instead it allows us time to relax, unwind and actually enjoy our shake. So why not take the time to make something enjoyable and tasty? After all you've just killed yourself in the gym, the last thing you want is to face some overly sweet, synthetic tasting strawberry shake!
Here's the shake I had after a grueling 5x5 session on legs (admittedly the photo doesn't do it justice, but was delicious, trust me)
60g Vanilla Whey
couple of ice cubes and 200ml water, all blended up to make a deliciously cold and tasty shake.
Macros per serving
Total Kcals - 283Kcals
Protein - 48g
Carbs - 15g (of which 1g fibre)
Fats - 3g
Now, certainly one could argue, "why didn't I use higher GI fruits to help spike insulin?" Well for starters I would rather get my carbs from solid foods rather than liquids, the berries were there more for taste than anything else. Instead I like to take between 3 and 5g of leucine along with my shake, which we know helps to directly spike insulin  as well as increase the uptake of protein into muscle cells . So unless you're a competing athlete, training for an endurance sport or making your home in the gym, high GI carbs aren't necessarily required.
How much protein should I add to my shake?
This is a good question and one I get asked a lot. From the study cited Alan and Brad recommend 0.5-0.6g per kgs of bodyweight. Chalres Poliquin (world renowned strength coach) recommends a similar amount too: 0.2-0.3g per lbs of bodyweight. Today I went with about 0.5g but it really does depend. If you struggle to hit your total daily protein allowance or haven't eaten within 3hrs pre or post exercise, I would shoot for the higher range. Although if you're like me, and love food, sometimes I won't even bother with a shake as I consume enough through solid food having said that I do always try to encourage my clients to have some sort of a shake for two reasons:
1) Most clients struggle to hit their daily protein goal.
2) It's seen as a reward more than anything else, something to look forward to after working your socks off in the gym! After all you need some delights in life!
So there you have it. I hope the next time you finish your workout you're not the one caught in a race to the locker room nor paying over the odds for some overly priced bottled protein shake at the gyms reception. Instead, take the time to get yourself showered, and then make yourself a delicious shake as a reward for your hard work in the gym.
 Alan Albert Aragon and Brad Jon Schoenfeld, Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2013, 10:5 doi:10.1186/1550-2783-10-5
 Hutton JC, Sener A, Malaisse WJ. Interaction of branched chain amino acids and keto acids upon pancreatic islet metabolism and insulin secretion. J Biol Chem. (1980)
 Blomstrand E, et al. Branched-chain amino acids activate key enzymes in protein synthesis after physical exercise. J Nutr. (2006)
About Chris Hall
As the founder of Hall Training Systems, it is my mission to provide you with the very best personal training experience. I set up Hall Training Systems as Oxford's leading personal training service in nutrition, performance and weight loss, ensuring I can deliver the very best in training techniques.
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