In a recent study, novice weightlifters who trained to failure with 3 sets of 6 exercises each day and drank a post-workout supplement immediately after training, gained 5 pounds of muscle in only 8 weeks.
The proof is out there, experts have been touting it for years, and now you just have to accept it: post-workout nutrition is a necessity to maximize muscle growth.
Make sure you drink your post-workout shakes within 20 minutes of finishing your training, in order to take advantage of the most optimal anabolic window for growth. By doing this you will immediately reverse catabolism and kick-start protein synthesis, which puts you in the fast lane, on the highway to muscle recovery.
So, what are your options for a post-workout shake?
It must be a liquid meal. Solid food does not have the same effect as a shake or smoothie because solid food takes much longer to digest.
It must contain protein and carbs, but not fat. 40 grams of fast acting carbs (sugar) and 20 grams of fast acting protein (whey isolates) is optimal. Fat slows digestion.
A pint of 1% chocolate milk is one option
Boost or a similar low-fat meal replacement drink is another option
Biotest Surge Recovery is just about the best post-workout drink available
You can build your own recipe at the Protein Factory if you know what you are doing
A small serving of one of those sugary mass-gainer supplements is an option too