Doctor's Orders: Peri-Workout Nutrition
One of your most crucial nutritional windows comes after each workout. In the post-workout period, your body needs fast-digesting carbs - 40-to-100 grams, depending on your size, diet and workout - to replenish glycogen stores depleted by weight training and to maximize muscle protein synthesis. By adding a good 40 grams of protein immediately after a workout, you provide your body with the raw building materials for repairing and constructing new muscle mass.
Much like the pre-workout shake I recommend, the post-workout protein source should be a protein shake. Again, you need fast-digesting whey so that it gets to your muscles ASAP for faster recovery and to better boost muscle growth. A whole food protein at this time will again take too long to digest and you'll miss the window of opportunity right after a workout when the muscle cells are eager for nutrients.
The same goes for carbs - here you want to focus on fast carbs, such as Vitargo or pure dextrose. Dextrose is glucose, which is what your blood sugar is. So, when you consume dextrose, there is no time needed to digest it. It is absorbed into your blood stream almost as quickly as you consume it. An easy and fun way to get in postworkout dextrose is to try Wonka Pixy Stix, Wonka Bottle Caps, or Wonka Sweetarts.
Remember that every rest day should be an active rest day. Rest days are for recovery; they're not an excuse to be lazy. Get out and hit 15-30 minutes of HIIT cardio today, or perform 30-60 minutes of your favorite activity: hiking, biking, walking, playing a sport, etc.