As you probably know, I wrote a book called Superior Muscle Growth. And one of the many topics I cover in SMG is nutrient timing… specifically the pre-, during and post-workout meals.
- Looking at the history of these meals and the various recommendations given for them (complete with Back To The Future references and everything).
- Making fun of the insanity that often came along with these recommendations over the last 10+ years.
- Making fun of the insanity that often comes along with many of the current recommendations – which can be equally insane – just from the opposing point of view.
- Making fun of many of the people who have given these recommendations, both past and present.
- Breaking down the current nutrient timing research (especially the recent work of Alan Aragon, Brad Schoenfeld and James Krieger) and explaining what it actually tells us while also pointing out the incorrect stuff some people think it tells us.
- Providing detailed recommendations for each of these meals, as well as for different scenarios a person might be in when consuming these meals.
- And more.
So yeah, this chapter covers damn near every nutrient timing question you might have.
Now, among the many conclusions reached in this chapter is that – assuming your pre-workout meal was sufficient in terms of what it contained and when it was consumed in relation to the timing of your workout (all of which is covered in my pre-workout recommendations in that very same chapter) – then the precise timing and overall speed of the post-workout meal becomes much less important.
Meaning, whether your post-workout meal is a “fast digesting” shake that is literally consumed in the locker room right after finishing your last set, or a solid food meal consumed 60 minutes after you leave the gym… it’s unlikely to have any meaningful positive or negative impact on your results with all else being equal.
Or to say that yet another way, under these typical conditions, that long standing supposed “need” to slam down a post-workout shake immediately after your workout isn’t actually a legit need at all.
Again, this is all covered in detail in the book, so I’m not going to try to explain it all again here.
What I am going to do is explain a statement that came a little later on in that same chapter…
I personally still consume a post-workout shake in the car on the ride home from the gym, followed by what is essentially “part 2” of this meal about 60-90 minutes after that. This second half is always a big solid food meal containing a significant amount of protein and carbs. It’s just what I like to do because it suits my personal needs and dietary preferences.
So if I technically don’t “need” to consume a post-workout shake right after my workout ends, and doing so is unlikely to have any meaningful effect whatsoever on my results, and doing so is one of those things that has somehow (and by “somehow” I’m thinking it’s mostly just people misinterpreting the work of Alan/Brad/James) recently become viewed as anything from “silly” to “pointless” to “bad” (the book covers this too)… then why in the hell do I still do it anyway?
That’s what I’m going to tell you right now.
5 Reasons Why I Still Drink A Post-Workout Shake
- Because I like to, and there’s absolutely no reason for me not to. Alan Aragon and Brad Schoenfeld actually appear to do something similar in terms of the timing of this meal: “We both surround our training bouts with protein. We both don’t wait to get the protein in.” (Source: 20:53 mark of this interview.)
- Because I’ve been doing this since probably 2005, back when I thought it “needed” to be done and was of extreme importance and benefit to me. So while I learned years later that it wasn’t (and experimented on my own to confirm it), it was already a thing that I had been doing for so long that it just became a routine part of my diet. And because of reason #1 above, I have zero reason to change it. So I haven’t.
- Because I don’t always go straight home after the gym. Sometimes I have stuff to do afterwards and it might be 1-2 hours before I’m back in my house and able to consume a solid food meal.
- Because I’m just hungry after my workouts and I WANT to consume something as soon as possible. Sure, it technically doesn’t have to be a shake to fill this need. But practically speaking, it’s not exactly ideal for me to bring something like chicken and rice into the gym and then try to eat it in the car while driving or in the locker room within a few feet of the various naked balls of random old guys. Some form of post-workout shake is just the most efficient and convenient option.
- Because I happen to have above average calorie needs (that darn NEAT), which means I have a lot of food to prepare, cook and eat over the course of the day to meet those needs. You know what I’ve found helps make this easier for me? Especially on my higher calorie training days (yup, I cycle my calories using the Deficit + Surplus approach from Superior Muscle Growth)? Consuming some of those calories in a quick, easy and super convenient shake after my workout. So I do that.
So, like I mentioned in the book… “It’s just what I like to do because it suits my personal needs and dietary preferences.” Nothing more, nothing less.
If some kind of shake consumed right after your workouts is what suits yours, then by all means feel free to do it right along with me. If a solid food meal consumed 60 minutes later is what you’d rather do, then by all means feel free to go right ahead and do that. And if some similar third version of this is what you’d prefer to do… then go for it just the same.
Because with all else being equal (total daily calorie and macronutrient intake, sufficient pre-workout meal, typical workout conditions, etc.), it’s not likely to matter.
Do the thing that best suits your dietary needs and preferences. It’s what I do.