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Post Workout Supplements: Do You Need Them?

Published August 13, 2019
Ben Kissam

Written By: Ben Kissam, BS

Ben has a B.S. in Movement and Sports Science and over 7 years Certified Personal Training Experience.

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<script type="application/ld+json"> { "@type":"BlogPosting", "headline":"Post Workout Supplements: Do You Need Them?", "datePublished":"August 13, 2019", "description":"Want to maximize results from your workouts? Here’s everything you need to know about post workout supplements and nutrition.", "image": "https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/media/public/2019/07/salmon-meal-lemon-thumbnail-0222.jpg" }, } ] } </script> <article> <div> <ul> <li><a href="#section1">What Is The Best Thing To Do After A Workout?</a></li> <li><a href="#section2">What Should You Eat?</a></li> <li><a href="#section3">Carbs on Keto—Are They Important?</a></li> <li><a href="#section4">What About Fat?</a></li> <li><a href="#section5">Other Popular Post Workout Supplements</a></li> <li><a href="#section6">Post-Workout Healthy Habits</a></li> <li><a href="#section7">Post-Workout Supplements—Wrapping Up</a></li> </ul> </div> <section> <p>It doesn’t take a lot of searching to learn that many people take their post-workout routine seriously. In fact, many people swear by routines, supplements, and even certain foods for getting results.</p> <p>But on the topic of post-workout nutrition, you’ll also find a ton of dogma, overpriced and unnatural supplements, and outdated science on what is—and isn’t—good for you after exercise.</p> <p><i>So, what is there to know about post-workout nutrition? Do you need to take supplements? And which supplements and macronutrients are best after a workout to promote recovery?</i></p> <p>In this article, we break down the two components of post-workout nutrition—the immediate “post-workout window”, and the healthy habits you need to do the rest of the day to get your results faster. </p> <p>And, we’ll reveal our two favorite natural supplements for muscle-building and recovery.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/windows-two-tall-0222.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/windows-two-tall-0222.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/windows-two-tall-0222.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/windows-two-tall-LR-0222.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="windows-two-tall"> </picture> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Is The Best Thing To Do After A Workout?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Good nutrition is paramount to results right after training. You don’t need supplements, but they can be useful after a workout. As for your post-workout routine and nutrition, it isn’t just a matter of what you do, but when you do it.\n\nExperts agree that eating within 45 minutes of working out helps you maximize muscle gains from training 1. Think of this as your “post-workout window”, or the window of time where good nutrition matters most for muscle building and recovery."}}]}</script> <h2 id="section1">What Is The Best Thing To Do After A Workout?</h2> <p>Good nutrition is paramount to results right after training. You don’t <i>need</i> supplements, but they can be useful after a workout. As for your post-workout routine and nutrition, it isn’t just a matter of <i>what</i> you do, but <i>when</i> you do it.</p> <p>Experts agree that eating <i>within 45 minutes</i> of working out helps you maximize muscle gains from training <sup>1</sup>. Think of this as your “<i>post-workout window</i>”, or the window of time where good nutrition matters most for muscle building and recovery.</p> <p>In this window, your body is in an optimal state to receive nutrients after a workout (more on that below). </p> </section> <section> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/salmon-raw-cooking-prep-0222.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/salmon-raw-cooking-prep-0222.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/salmon-raw-cooking-prep-0222.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/salmon-raw-cooking-prep-LR-0222.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="salmon-raw-cooking"> </picture> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What Should You Eat?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"We’ve talked before about the three macronutrients and their nutritional benefits. But two of these macros—protein and carbs—are especially important for post-workout muscle recovery."}}]}</script> <h2 id="section2">What Should You Eat?</h2> <p>We’ve talked before about the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/why-you-should-be-calculating-your-macros" rel="noreferrer">three macronutrients</a> and their nutritional benefits. But two of these macros—<i>protein</i> and <i>carbs</i>—are especially important for post-workout muscle recovery<sup>2</sup>. </p> <p>Here’s why.</p> <h3>Protein</h3> <p>If one macro is important during your post-workout window, it’s protein. Protein fills your body with branch chain amino acids (BCAAs), which are necessary for repairing and building new muscle <sup>3</sup>.</p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" rel="noreferrer">Keto diet</a> staples like chicken or seafood are great protein sources. But you might not be ready to stomach a meal like that within 45 minutes of your workout. If that’s you, consider a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">protein supplement</a>. </p> <p>If you’re going to take any supplement for recovery, protein is probably your best bet.</p> <h3>What Is The Best Muscle Recovery Supplement?</h3> <p>Many <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/protein-powder-is-for-more-than-just-body-builders" rel="noreferrer">protein supplements</a> exist. But do even a little research, and you’ll find many of them are packed with fillers, additives, and dyes. And that stuff isn’t healthy or good for repairing muscles!</p> <p>Our <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">Go2 protein</a> supplement is made with collagen protein, which not only rebuilds muscles, but invigorates hair and skin, protects joints, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/can-ketosis-reduce-inflammation" rel="noreferrer">reduces inflammation</a>. </p> <p>Here’s where you can <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">learn more</a> about our favorite protein supplement.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/blueberries-carton-many-0222.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/blueberries-carton-many-0222.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/blueberries-carton-many-0222.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/blueberries-carton-many-LR-0222.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="blueberries-carton"> </picture> <h3>Carbs </h3> <p>Protein is essential, but don’t overlook carbs, either. Here’s why:</p> <p>First, glycogen is lost during workouts and needs to be replaced. (We’ll tie in how this works on a low-carb diet like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" rel="noreferrer">keto</a> in the next section).</p> <p>Second, insulin secretion (the hormone your body releases when you eat carbs) can help maximize protein’s ability to get into muscles quickly and rebuild them <sup>4</sup>.</p> <p>A simpler way to put it: carbs after a workout help protein do its job even better, which means you get faster results.</p> </section> <section id="section3"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"Carbs on Keto—Are They Important?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"Even though you’re only eating about 50 grams of carbs per day on the ketogenic diet, eating some carbs can help you achieve fitness goals like adding muscle mass faster.\n\nHow you take in carbs on the ketogenic diet depends on your body and fitness experience.\n\nFor example, many keto dieters do better with carbs before their workout. They have more energy for their session, and because they’re burning up those carbs right away, their blood sugar tends to be more stable than eating carbs after training.\n\nAnd if you already have a lot of muscle mass, eating carbs beforehand will give you the energy you need to make it through the workout.\n\nFor that reason, we generally say eating about 70 percent (30 grams or so) of your daily carbs before working out is a good way to go."}}]}</script> <h2>Carbs on Keto—Are They Important?</h2> <p>Even though you’re only eating about 50 grams of carbs per day on the ketogenic diet, eating some carbs can help you achieve fitness goals like <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/foolproof-guide-to-building-lean-muscle" rel="noreferrer">adding muscle mass</a> faster. </p> <p><i>How</i> you take in carbs on the ketogenic diet depends on your body and fitness experience. </p> <p>For example, many keto dieters do better with carbs <i>before</i> their workout. They have more energy for their session, and because they’re burning up those carbs right away, their blood sugar tends to be more stable than eating carbs after training.</p> <p>And if you already have a lot of <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/foolproof-guide-to-building-lean-muscle" rel="noreferrer">muscle mass</a>, eating carbs beforehand will give you the energy you need to make it through the workout.</p> <p>For that reason, we generally say eating about 70 percent (30 grams or so) of your daily carbs before working out is a good way to go.</p> <h3>However...</h3> <p>If you do a super intense workout, some carbs <i>after</i> training might be necessary. Blood sugar <i>can</i> fluctuate for up to 24 hours after vigorous exercise, after all <sup>4</sup>. </p> <p>If you know you’re about to really <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/push-yourself-to-the-limit-full-body-workout" rel="noreferrer">push yourself</a> in a workout, consider saving some carbs—say 20 to 30 grams— for after training to boost recovery and ensure you’ll have energy for the rest of the day.</p> </section> <section id="section4"> <script type="application/ld+json">{"@context":"https://schema.org","@type":"FAQPage","mainEntity":[{"@type":"Question","name":"What About Fat?","acceptedAnswer":{"@type":"Answer","text":"So, why didn’t fat make the post-workout nutrition cut? If you’re following a ketogenic or low-carb diet, you’re probably wondering how fat factors in. After all, about 70 percent of your calories come from fat on the keto diet.\n\nInterestingly, the consensus used to be that fat after a workout was bad.\n\nWhy? Because fat digests slower than carbs and protein, which means it would take longer for amino acids and glycogen to start repairing muscles.\n\nBut that’s been proven wrong. Eating some fat after your workout has no effect on glucose tolerance, and if you’re trying to pack on lean muscle, the calories in fat will help you achieve that goal.\n\nFocus your post-workout nutrition around the two key macros, protein and carbs. But, don’t feel bad about eating some fat, just make sure you’re not eating multiple servings of coconut oil right away. Save that healthy fat for your other meals!"}}]}</script> <h2>What About Fat?</h2> <p>So, why didn’t fat make the post-workout nutrition cut? If you’re following a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" rel="noreferrer">ketogenic</a> or low-carb diet, you’re probably wondering how fat factors in. After all, about 70 percent of your calories come from fat on the <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/keto-101-a-beginners-guide/" rel="noreferrer">keto diet</a>. </p> <p>Interestingly, the consensus used to be that fat after a workout was bad. </p> <p><i>Why?</i> Because fat digests slower than carbs and protein, which means it would take longer for amino acids and glycogen to start repairing muscles.</p> <p>But that’s been proven wrong <sup>5</sup>. Eating some fat after your workout has no effect on glucose tolerance, and if you’re trying to pack on lean muscle, the calories in fat will help you achieve that goal.</p> <p>Focus your post-workout nutrition around the two key macros, protein and carbs. But, don’t feel bad about eating some fat, just make sure you’re not eating multiple servings of coconut oil right away. Save that healthy fat for your other meals! </section> <section id="section5"> <h2>Other Popular Post Workout Supplements</h2> <p>Other popular supplements include glutamine, creatine, and branch chain amino acids, or BCAAs. Many people use them during their post-workout “window” to optimize recovery.</p> <p>Here’s our stance on these supplements: your number one priority should be to dial in your diet and healthy habits—such as sleep and hydration—first. A little <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">protein powder</a> or something to <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/sleep-support/shop/" rel="noreferrer">promote deep sleep</a> is one thing, but taking ten different supplements just for the sake of it isn’t going to help if you haven’t dialed in the basics.</p> <p>And even then, you should only consider extra supplements if they align with your goals. The truth is you don’t <i>need</i> supplements, but the right ones will expedite your results.</p> <p>Creatine, for example, is made naturally in your body. No one needs a creatine supplement, though plenty of people use it to increase muscle mass, endurance, and strength <sup>6</sup>. </p> <p>Even though creatine is considered safe, even regular servings are known to cause water retention and weight gain—not ideal if you’re going for a lean and toned look<sup>7</sup>.</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section6"> <h2>Post-Workout Healthy Habits</h2> <p>In this section, let’s look at which supplements and healthy habits help with recovery beyond the post-workout window.</p> <picture class="lazy-load"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-sleep-bed-dark-0222.webp" type="image/webp"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-sleep-bed-dark-0222.jp2" type="image/jpf"> <source data-srcset="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-sleep-bed-dark-0222.jpg"> <img src="https://d1ghrtdbdq2gkr.cloudfront.net/blog-content/woman-sleep-bed-dark-LR-0222.jpg" class="img-fluid" alt="woman-sleep-bed-dark"> </picture> <h3>Habit #1: Sleep</h3> <p>Other than nutrition, there is nothing more important for recovery than sleep. In <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/how-going-keto-can-improve-your-sleep-quality" rel="noreferrer">deep sleep</a>, your body secretes muscle-building hormones like human growth hormone (HGH), repairs bone and tissue, and regenerates cells <sup>1</sup>.</p> <p>If you’re serious about getting results and being healthy, treat a good night’s sleep like your secret weapon.</p> <p>However, not all sleep is created equal. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/how-going-keto-can-improve-your-sleep-quality" rel="noreferrer">Poor quality sleep</a> isn’t good for your health, and <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/sleeping-too-much" rel="noreferrer">sleeping too much</a> can be a sign that something is wrong.</p> <p>If you’re having trouble sleeping, consider a natural sleep aid. The <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/the-most-effective-natural-sleep-aids" rel="noreferrer">best ones</a> promote restful sleep, help you stay asleep longer, and fall asleep faster without any additives or unnatural ingredients.</p> <h3>Habit #2: Hydration</h3> <p>Your body loses a lot of fluids when you breathe heavy and sweat a lot. <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/water-fasting-what-it-is-and-how-to-do-it-right/" rel="noreferrer">Drinking enough water</a> is essential for recovery and feeling your best after tough workouts. </p> <p>Make sure to include hydration on your list of excellent “post-workout” habits.</p> <h3>Habit #3: Eating Enough</h3> <p>There’s a fine line between dieting to lose weight and not eating enough food. Whether your goal is to lose body-fat, <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/foolproof-guide-to-building-lean-muscle" rel="noreferrer">add muscle</a>, or both, fueling your body with energy to sustain itself is essential for health and optimal function.</p> <p>This can be tricky, because if you eat <i>too much</i>, you’ll gain weight. </p> <p><a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/diet/why-you-should-be-calculating-your-macros" rel="noreferrer">Counting macros</a> is our favorite way to make sure you’re eating enough food (and the right kinds).</p> </section> <hr class="divider-50 divider-medium mx-auto"> <section id="section7"> <h2>Post-Workout Supplements—Wrapping Up</h2> <p>To get the best results, start thinking about <i>both</i> components of post-workout recovery:</p> <p>Immediately after training, in your 45-minute “window”, eat protein and carbs to help jumpstart recovery. This best post workout supplement is <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/go2protein/shop/" rel="noreferrer">protein powder</a>, which is easily digestible and starts repairing muscles quickly.</p> <p>But remember, the “post-workout” recovery continues beyond that 45-minute window.</p> <p>For optimal results, treat <i>all the time</i> (like between <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/content/exercise/how-often-should-you-workout" rel="noreferrer">Monday and Wednesday’s workout</a>) as “post-workout”, too. This is when you dial in on healthy habits. Things like sleep, hydration and eating enough calories to fuel your efforts are also important. To really maximize your sleep—your secret weapon—consider using a <a target="_blank" href="https://www.warriormade.com/sleep-support/shop/" rel="noreferrer">natural sleep aid</a>. </p> <p>Other supplements like creatine, glutamine, and BCAAs are okay if they align to your goals, but make sure you’re on the right track with the other stuff first.</p> <p>And one last reminder,, you don’t <i>need</i> supplements. Hone in on the basics first. If you do choose to supplement, the right ones for <i>your</i> goals will help you get there faster.</p> <h3>Resources:</h3> <ol> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eat-after-workout#section2" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Protein, Carbs and Fat</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/eat-after-workout#section2" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Protein Helps Repair and Build Muscle</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/functions-of-protein" rel="nofollow noreferrer">9 Important Functions of Protein in Your Body</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/10658002" rel="nofollow noreferrer">An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14978010" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Adding fat calories to meals after exercise does not alter glucose tolerance</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/what-is-creatine" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Creatine 101 — What Is It and What Does It Do</a></li> <li><a target="_blank" href="https://www.healthline.com/health/diet-and-weight-loss/does-creatine-make-you-fat" rel="nofollow noreferrer">Does Taking Creatine Make You Fat?</a></li> </ol> </section> </article>

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