Increasing Post Workout Cell Recovery:Beyond The Protein Shake

I laugh everytime I walk out of the locker room at my gym and witness someone doing the same old traditional post workout recovery nutrition that you’ve read about time and time again in the magazines.

The typical protein shake, maybe a banan,a or if they are really old school you’ll see various powders mixed together.  The truth, post workout nutrition is slightly more complex then just a shake and recovery is vastly more complex.

Resetting your body after a hard training session is essential beyond the post workout glycogen recovery that you often see in endurance text books.

Just to get it out of the way, your pre workout shake is actually more potent then what you take in post workout. Why? Well even a all liquid meal will take about 20-25 minutes to actually get digested and hit your muscles. Take a pre workout shake, I prefer straight BCAA’s.

Post workout, after you have your whey protein shake. Here’s some pretty cool protocols I’m playing with and recommending right now

  • Cinnamon on everything: I personally use saigon cinnamon since it’s the most prized member of the cinnamon family and will be slightly more expensive. None the less it does contain the same effects of other cheaper cinnamons on blood glucose post meal. While the research has been pretty positive in terms of the ability to lower blood sugar after using cinnamon, it appears to only be when you use the cinnamon. That is, use cinnamon once per day and you won’t get the glucose lowering effects during the whole day. I tend to throw cinnamon in my post workout oatmeal and my post workout shake.
  • Consume a cup of green tea within two hours of finishing your training session. L-theanine, an amino acid found in high concentrations in green tea has several neurocognitive enhancing effects amongst them increasing levels of serotonin and dopamine and blocking the l-glutamic acid binding to glutamate. This amino acid also increase alpha brain waves and electrical brain activity to encourage relaxation.
  • Increasing my B vitamin intake. B vitamins are needed to generate energy for recovery in every cell in the body. While more of specific B’s might be effective, they are codependent in their metabolic activities.
  • Add 500 mg’s of ascorbyl palmitate into my diet. Ascorbyl palmitate is a ester formed version of vitamin C that can reach tissues that normal vitamin C can’t. It’s able to cross biological barriers and satisfies tissue depends, specifically brain tissues, better then traditional vitamin C.
  • Immediately get into the shower. Within two hours of your workout you should aim for a quick 5 minute contrast shower to immediately enhance blood circulation and tissue clearance of metabolic waste products that result from and hinder your workout.I don’t time it perfectly but I stay in a hot shower for 2 minutes then begin with a 30 second ice cold stream followed by another minute and a half of hot water while finishing up with 30 seconds of ice cold water on the training area. Doing it this way speeds your recovery by, at the very least, a few hours.
  • Become a water monster. While the majority of people don’t drink enough water, I’ve found that drastically increasing my hydration post training has not only allowed me to relax quicker and come down off my post training “high” but also water is a signalling agent for anabolic switches in the body.

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