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Post Workout Nutrition: Protein Shake For Muscle Gain

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Post Workout Nutrition 101: Avoid This Common Mistake

When it comes to post workout nutrition, everyone has their own take on it.

But most people agree on one thing.

It’s essential.

Yes, regardless if you’re training for a sport, bodybuilding, or are just a weekend warrior, you should be optimizing your results with a post workout protein shake.

Today I want to talk about post workout nutrition.

In particular, towards the end of this post, I’ll be sharing a muscle building protein shake recipe that is super fast to prepare, when on-the-go.

If your goal is fat loss, try this post workout protein shake for weight loss.

Post Workout Nutrition For Muscle Gain

Lets Get Started

Remember the last time you felt sore after a workout?

If you didn’t consume anything afterwards, I bet it took you a few days to recover from the fatigue and DOMS (delayed onset muscle soreness)

Well guess what, you don’t have to continuously experience that muscle soreness after your workouts.

With proper post workout nutrition, you can keep up with your training, and be back the next day feeling great, full of energy, and training harder than ever before.

The Goal of Post Workout Nutrition

Research shows that proper nutrition and supplementation after intense resistance training and cardio training is crucial to improve recovery.

The goal of post workout nutrition includes:

  • Replenishing lost muscle and liver glycogen storage levels

Glycogen is the carbohydrates stored as energy in the muscle and liver cells, that can be used for energy during exercise. By replenishing your lost glycogen storage levels quickly after your workout, it can help you recover sooner for your next workout.

  • Increasing muscle protein synthesis

Protein synthesis promotes muscle growth, muscle repair, and muscle recovery, to prevent further muscle breakdown caused by your workout.

  • Maintaining hydration

After a workout, your body can be depleted of water, therefore it’s important to drink lots of water, during and after your workouts.

Regardless of your fitness goals, to accomplish these post workout nutrition goals, your body requires protein.

If you’re already lean, and looking to build muscle, your body also requires fast acting carbohydrates.

When your goal is fat loss, carbohydrates are not as essential after your workout, as your glycogen levels are probably already full, and your goal is to burn stored fat for energy, not sugar.

Carbohydrates are the macronutrient to take care of replenishing glycogen storage levels, when you’re already lean.

Protein will take care of promoting muscle growth, muscle repair and prevent further muscle breakdown.

Fast acting carbohydrates and protein work very well together to quickly replenish glycogen levels and stimulate protein synthesis.

Therefore, when you’re lean, and your goal is muscle building, a combination of carbohydrates and protein is most effective in reaching your post workout nutrition goals.

Stop making this common mistake!

In my experience, I see lot of people skipping their post workout protein shake.

These are the same people who consistently go to the gym, yet their bodies never change.

After the workout, they quickly get changed, and head out to the office.

Optimal post workout nutrition is all about speed.

Once you finish your workout, it’s essential to refuel your body with the right nutrients to replenish, recover, and rebuild your broken down muscles.

This will ensure you are properly recovered and stronger for your next workout.

To accomplish this, you need to get in the habit of bringing your post workout shake to the gym.

Before leaving your home, simply add the dry ingredients of your muscle building shake to a shaker cup or glass mason jar.

Immediately after your workout:

  • Go to your locker and grab your shaker cup
  • Add water
  • Mix
  • Drink

It’s that simple to give your body the nutrients it needs to properly recover after a workout.

How much protein powder should I take after a workout?

Typically between 25-40 grams of protein will trigger protein synthesis.

Newer people to training can skew on the lower end while more experienced people can go on the higher end.

Here’s another rough calculation to figure out how much protein powder to add to your post workout shake:

  • 0.25 x your lean body mass (your bodyweight – fat weight) in pounds

For example, I am 175 pounds and 8% body fat, so my lean body mass would be:

  • 175 pounds x 0.08 = 14 pounds of body fat
  • 175 pounds – 14 pounds of body fat = 161 pounds of lean body mass
  • 0.25 x 161 pounds = 40 grams of protein

What type of protein should I be taking after a workout?

When selecting a post workout protein powder, ensure you look at how many BCAAs (branch chained amino acids) are found in the powder.

BCAAs help increase gains, performance, and recovery when taken post workout.

On average, the amount of BCAAs to be taken post workout is approximately 5 grams.

I did a complete overview on the pros and cons of different types of protein powders here.

If you feel bloated after drinking a protein shake, you may want to switch the type of protein powder or try a new brand of protein powder.

I love this bloat-free egg protein powder.

Use discount code: liveleantv.

What type of carbohydrates should take after a workout?

This depends on a few variables.

High glycemic carbohydrates comprised primarily of glucose will quickly spike your insulin hormone and replenish lost muscle glycogen post-workout.

This will help your body convert from a muscle breakdown catabolic mode, into a muscle building anabolic mode.

Fast acting sources of high glycemic carbohydrates include:

  • Maple syrup
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Apricots
  • Kiwis
  • Jam
  • Carbohydrate powders like: dextrose, waxy maize, and maltodextrin.

If you’re completing multiple intense training sessions a day, carbohydrate powders like dextrose, waxy maize, and maltodextrin will rapidly re-fill glycogen levels, which is imperative in this situation.

However, if you are more of a weekend warrior, don’t go overboard with spiking your insulin with too many refined carbohydrates.

Simply stick to a protein shake with some added berries and maple syrup.

How much carbohydrates should I take after a workout?

This really depends on your specific situation.

If your goal is fat loss, carbohydrates should be kept to a minimum.

When you’re already pretty lean (guys less than 12% body fat and females less than 22% body fat), your body is probably more insulin sensitive, so carbohydrates may be beneficial post workout.

If your goal is primarily muscle building, more carbohydrates can be consumed post workout.

The following carbohydrate and protein calculations has worked for me:

Carbohydrates: 0.4 x your lean body mass in pounds.

For example, I am 175 pounds and 8% body fat, so my lean body mass would be:

  • 175 pounds x 0.08 = 14 pounds of body fat
  • 175 pounds – 14 pounds of body fat = 161 pounds of lean body mass
  • 0.4 x 161 pounds = 65 grams of carbohydrates

What about dietary fat intake after a workout?

Since dietary fat and fiber can slow the absorption of food, I like to keep my post workout nutrition higher in protein and carbohydrates, and lower in fat.

Not zero fat, just lower in fat, usually under 10 grams.

How To Do HIIT Cardio Correctly

I’m female, do I still need to take a post workout protein shake?


For some reason, many women are afraid to drink a protein shake because they think it will make them big and bulky.


After a tough workout, regardless of your gender, your body needs protein to recover and repair your muscles.

Muscle is the key metabolic driver of a fast and healthy metabolism so to get lean, muscle is essential.

Post Workout Protein Shake For Muscle Gain Recipe:

Here’s a sample of an on-the-go muscle building post workout shake recipe that will provide your body with the building blocks to grow lean muscle.

Some of these supplements are optional but if you’re training hard with the goal of muscle gain, they can help.

The most important supplement in this post workout shake is the protein powder.

Other optional post workout supplements include:


Glutamine is an amino acid that helps speed up recovery and reduces the catabolic muscle breakdown after your workout.


BCAAs are essential branched chain amino acids made up of leucine, isoleucine, and valine.

They are called essential amino acids because the body can’t produce them on it’s own, so they must be consumed via food or supplementation.

BCAAs, especially leucine, can help with protein synthesis and also protect your muscles from further muscle breakdown after a workout.


Creatine is a supplement that can provide your muscles with extra strength to get through those
last few reps, and help increase power, and muscle size.

High Glycemic Carbohydrate Powder

Lastly you need a high glycemic carbohydrate source to spike your insulin.

After a workout is the one type of day you want take a high glycemic carbohydrate to help shuttle all the amino acids from the protein into your muscle cells.

This will help replenish your muscle glycogen cells that have been depleted during your workout.

It’ll also assist in switching your body out of the catabolic muscle breakdown mode and into the anabolic muscle building and recovery mode.

One source of fast acting, high glycemic carbohydrate that can quickly be added to a protein shake for muscle building is a carbohydrate powder called dextrose.

On-The-Go Muscle Building Post Workout Protein Shake

Print Recipe
On-The-Go Muscle Building Post Workout Protein Shake
Here's an on-the-go muscle building post workout shake recipe that you can store in your locker, then simply add water and consume immediately after your workout.
Choc-o-late shake
Course Protein Shake
Prep Time 1 minutes
  • 1 serving Chocolate Protein Powder serving should provide between 25-40 grams of protein
  • 5 grams Glutamine
  • 5 grams BCAAs
  • 5 grams Creatine
  • 65 grams Dextrose
  • 1 cup Water
Course Protein Shake
Prep Time 1 minutes
  • 1 serving Chocolate Protein Powder serving should provide between 25-40 grams of protein
  • 5 grams Glutamine
  • 5 grams BCAAs
  • 5 grams Creatine
  • 65 grams Dextrose
  • 1 cup Water
Choc-o-late shake
  1. Add all dry powders to a shaker cup then store in your locker until after your workout.
  2. Once your workout is finished, add water to your shaker cup, shake, then consume immediately.
Recipe Notes

Nutrition Info (per serving):

Calories: 429

Protein: 40g

Carbs: 65g

Fat: 1g

Even though we’re mixing water with this muscle building protein shake, it actually tastes just like chocolate milk (if you use chocolate protein powder).

Post Workout Whole Meal

The meal following your post workout shake is also important.

I usually recommend people consume a whole food meal consisting of protein, carbohydrates (for muscle building), and healthy fat within 90 minutes of drinking their protein shake.

Sample Post-Workout Whole Food Meal

  • 4-8 oz of chicken breast
  • 1 baked sweet potato with 1/2 tbsp of coconut oil and cinnamon
  • 1-2 cups of vegetables cooked in 1 tbsp of olive oil

Bottom Line on Post Workout Nutrition

As a Live Leaner, one of your main goals is to recompose your body by reducing stored body fat while growing and maintaining lean muscle tissue.

A post workout protein shake is essential for increasing energy, recovery, protein synthesis, and decreasing muscle protein breakdown and inflammation after a workout.

There you go.

Throw your shaker cup in your gym bag, put it in your locker, then as soon as you are completed your workout, simply add water and drink.

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