Posted by: PFB
Q: How important is post-workout nutrition? With all of my other supplements I simply don't have enough money to buy one of those recovery powders.
A: Except for fish oil, a powder drink that consists of fast absorbing protein and carbs is hugely important. I suggest you cut back on whatever else you're taking and focus on fish oils and a good recovery drink.
How do you know if it's a good recovery drink? Ideally, it'll have a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein with virtually no fat. The carbs should be in the form of d-glucose and maltodextrin; the protein should be whey. This allows for quick absorption so the muscles can soak up the carbs and protein while you're training without overwhelming your gastrointestinal tract.
Now, post-workout nutrition is important too, but I now consider pre-workout nutrition to be even more beneficial. And scientific community is starting to agree. Research in the last few years has demonstrated that your muscles will eat up more of the protein and carbs if they're taken before the workout instead of after. Don't get me wrong, you should consume a fast absorbing drink after your workouts, but most people forget about the benefit of a good pre-workout drink.
The trick, though, is to not ingest your drink too early. My clients have their pre-workout drink 5-10 minutes before they start lifting. This allows for enough time to start the absorption process, but not so much time that you have an excess of insulin floating around inactive muscles. If you'd take the drink, say, an hour before your workout, the insulin, carbs, and protein wouldn't have any place to go so they'd get stored as fat.
If you weigh less than 150 pounds, your pre-workout drink should consist of 40-50 grams of carbs with 20-25 grams of protein. If you weigh more than 150 pounds, start with 50-60 grams of carbs and 25-30 grams of protein. Importantly, the post-workout drink should be similar to the pre-workout drink. The only difference is that the post-workout drink should also contain 5 grams of micronized creatine.