Like many other people, I spent years believing in the magical post-workout window. I remember rushing down to the locker rooms after a session to chug a pre-made shake … at one point, I even decided to carry it around during my workout, so it was ready for me as soon as I finished the last set!
Admit it or not, we've all been there. Safe to say, we now know you’re not going to lose all your gains if you wait, 10, 20 or even 30 minutes after finishing the workout.
While the post-workout window is still obviously important and you want a well formulated post-workout meal or shake such as RE-KAGED, there may be many other aspects of workout nutrition that play an equal and possibly even bigger role in your muscle building success.
While this may come as some surprise, the post-workout window is just one aspect of workout nutrition. However, compared to the pre-workout window, it is actually much simpler and easy to optimize. After all, the main aim is recovery, hormonal optimization (e.g. testosterone to cortisol ratio) and replenishments of fuel which can be achieved with a few simple ingredients, such as those included in RE-KAGED.
However, if we compare this, to say pre-workout, the opportunity and strategies are almost limitless! Every year a new supplement hits the market promising to provide benefits. While many are just a waste of time, this basic fact remains: the window to elicit a positive change before the workout is vast.
While recovery from the workout is always important, if you can produce more work and perform better during the training you can obviously progress more. Logically, I would argue that being able to perform better and work harder will have a greater benefit for you over the long-term than just focusing on recovery alone. Now, don't get me wrong, recovery still needs to be in place to maximize this effort, but once you've covered that with a simple scoop or two of RE-KAGED, then it's time to focus on the biggest area of improvement, which is PRE and INTRA Workout
So, you may be wondering what magic could possibly occur before the workout, apart from the provision of fuel for the workout, of course. Well, if you’re not already well versed in the research on pre-workout supplements and performance, then the results of studies testing numerous different mechanisms of actions may surprise you. In fact, pre-workout supplements can provide numerous benefits via several completely different pathways or mechanisms.
Of course, the more pathways or mechanisms you can alter, the greater the effect. This provides a massive window of opportunity pre-workout, regardless of your goals.
Here are just a few research-backed benefits of the pre-workout window:
As you can see, the room for improvement is vast; regardless of your goal, a well formulated pre-workout nutrition plan can enhance all aspects of performance. To achieve this, a good protein source along with key ingredients such as creatine, caffeine and beta alanine are recommended in the efficacious dose, such as those in PRE-KAGED.
Another hot topic these days is the need for carbohydrates post workout. For years, people would emphasise the need for carbs immediately after the workout and while they are still beneficial, they aren’t necessarily needed. As usual, it comes down to the individual, their workout and goals. For some, carbs can play an important role in recovery, however for others, they may just be wasted calories that provide no additional benefit.
While carbohydrates have been shown to reduce post-workout cortisol and aid in muscle glycogen (carb stores) resynthesis, the relevance of this depends on the individual. For example, if you are eating other meals later in the day and the next day you will have adequate time to resynthesise your muscles glycogen (carb) stores.
Post-workout carbs become more key in athletes who perform 2, 3 or maybe even 4 training sessions within one day. Unlike most people, who perform 1 session every 24 hours, these multiple sessions within a day will require far more muscle glycogen. As you can see, post-workout carbs would be important here to maximize replenishment and refueling between sessions. However, for most of us the simple use of a protein-based recovery drink such as RE-KAGED, along with some healthy mixed meals over the next 24 hours, is certainly sufficient.
Finally, this potential issue with post-workout carbs is likely to occur if your main goal is fat loss. By consuming post-workout carbs you will reduce fat oxidation and also consume excess calories, which are often in a sugary drink form and provide no nutritional benefit or satiety / fullness. While PWO carbs aren’t categorically bad here, plenty of studies have shown protein alone is sufficient and produces very similar increases in Muscle Protein Synthesis (the biological mechanism behind growth).
So, do you need post-workout carbs?
While many old school bodybuilders preach the importance of post workout carbs, the science is yet to prove it’s significance.
As always, it really depends. For most peopleI would say they are not needed, or at least needed in a small amount. If you are a “hardgainer”, struggle with recovery, performing an outrageously intense session or focusing on only muscle mass gains then post-workout carbs would make sense.
Contrastingly, if you’re focusing on overall physique enhancement, want to maintain or drop body fat, have adequate recovery etc., then, post-workout carbs are probably not vital, as long as you are having your RE-KAGED.
The final area that is now gaining popularity is intra-workout nutrition, in other words, the supplements and food you consume while exercising. As mentioned above, most people still focus on the use of post-workout and possibly pre-workout nutritional supplements and strategies, while totally ignoring another window of opportunity.
While the pre- and post-workout widows are undoubtedly key, there could be certain strategies to use during the workout that provide additional benefits. After all, it makes perfect sense from a mechanical and biological perspective.
For example, when you work out, your body pumps more blood around the body and specifically to the working muscles. This blood contains all the key anabolic nutrients, such as protein (amino acids) and glucose (carbs). Further, when you exercise the receptors on your cells “light up” and go into overdrive, allowing you to rapidly absorb all these key nutrients way more efficiently than when you are not training.
As many people often refer to, the intra workout period is the “prime anabolic environment” for growing muscle.
While this is obviously going to be multiplied if you are taking no supplements or nutritional aids before the workout, even if you do, then it can still play an important role. If you’re yet to tap into the intra-workout nutrition realm it is certainly an area to make quick gains, especially if you do long, high-intense bodybuilding type workouts.
As you can see in this article, the science is ever evolving and demonstrating the importance of ALL 3 windows of opportunity, PRE, DURING and POST workout. If you are yet to optimize all 3 areas, then this is a quick fix for a rapid return of investment, as long as you are performing some hardcore training, of course.
Always focus on the basics and don’t overcomplicate it. For 99% of people, a well formulated pre, intra and post workout is sufficient. Unless you’re a supplement guru, stick with PRE-KAGED, IN-KAGED and RE-KAGED around the workout to maximize your progress - backed by science.