A post-workout meal or drink is highly recommended after an intensive exercise bout, such as an hour of swimming practice, a weight training session, or a long run. Research has shown that nutrition ingested right after working out or within 2-3 hours can drastically improve one’s recovery time.
As you can see in the infographic below, your muscles’ ability to absorb protein greatly increases and will peak after the first 3 hours following your workout. While muscle protein synthesis (MPS) remains elevated for up to 24-48 hours the MPS effect gradually diminishes after reaching its peak. In other words, the ideal time to consume your recovery drink would be within the first 3 hours after training.
The optimal post-recovery nutrition would be a drink consisting of both carbohydrates and proteins such as a protein shake or chocolate milk. And the reason why it’s better to have a recovery drink instead of a meal is because most people tolerate liquids better than solids after working out. In addition, liquid also has the advantage of replenishing fluids lost during exercise, and is digested and absorbed more rapidly than solid food.
How much protein and carbs do you take in your shake?