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Post Workout Nutrition & Supplements
Many people believe that consuming a meal or a supplement drink is necessary after every workout. A common rule of thumb is to eat a mix of protein and carbohydrates within two hours post-exercise. The carbs help to replenish glycogen stores and the protein helps aid in protein synthesis. Replenishing glycogen stores is important because that’s where we get much of our energy during a workout. However, is it really necessary to eat immediately after a workout?
A recent analysis showed that while eating carbohydrates post-workout does help replace glycogen stores, it may only be necessary when the next bout of activity is within 8 hours.  If an athlete only trained once per day and was getting an adequate amount of calories in a 24 hour period, their glycogen replacement was not different from someone who had a post-exercise meal. The exception to this is if pre-exercise nutrition is lacking, in which case eating immediately after a workout could help more with glycogen replacement.
Taking a protein supplementation after a workout has shown to create improvements in body composition and performance.  Compared to a placebo, protein supplementation led to increases in lean body mass and strength in certain lifts. Whey protein was used in these studies, but there may be other options, such as a regular protein-rich meal.
Supplement makers are constantly churning out new products that address every aspect of exercise. One of the downsides of supplements is that they are not put to the same rigorous testing as food products. Ingredients are often only tested by individual companies after they have been put onto the market. An example of this occurred this year when a pre-workout supplement was investigated after multiple college and professional athletes tested positive on drug tests.  This supplement was subsequently discovered to contain a compound similar to methamphetamine.
There are many reputable supplement companies out there, but eating whole foods helps guarantee that you know exactly what you’re putting into your body.