Firstly, do I HAVE TO use a workout shake?
You never HAVE TO use a workout shake, as you’ll get great results without one. Shakes are most effective if your workouts are very long or very hard, so please consider that. If you choose to use workout shakes, please note that they add up on top of your selected meal number. Thus if you selected 4 meals per day but added a workout shake, the shake will appear as another meal in addition to the other 4 meals, not replacing any of them.
What is in the shake, and why is it beneficial?
The shake is a mix of protein and carbohydrates. During and after a workout, some find it very beneficial to consume a drink containing whey (fast digesting) protein, and an easy to digest carbs; such as sport drinks, juices, and other supplements.
Check out this article covering the differences between different protein powders: Comparing whey, casein, and other protein powders
How much water do I need to add to my shake?
As much as you need to make the drink easy and pleasant to drink. If you’re more interested in the advanced math for high level performance, here it is:
- Total grams of workout carbs + total grams of protein = A
- A divided by “0.08” = B (number of milliliters)
- B multiplied by “0.034” = number of ounces.
- 25g carbs plus 25g protein = 50 grams.
- 50 grams divided by 0.08 = 625 milliliters
- 625 milliliters multiplied by 0.034 = 21 ounces of water to mix into your shake
I understand why protein is consumed during workouts, but why carbs? Dont they make you fat?!
Sugar is rapidly digested, providing a readily available fuel source for muscles during exercise. Other major benefits of consuming workout carbs during training include:
- Readily Available Energy: Workout carbs will be quickly digested and sent to the blood. This will serve as a primary source of energy, deferring your body’s need to significantly tap into stored energy reserves. This readily available fuel source will enable you to maintain a high level of performance during your workouts, which will help drive substantial progress over time.
- Maintain Muscle Glycogen: The workout carbs will be quickly absorbed into the blood. This will serve as a primary energy source, deferring your body’s need to significantly tap into muscle carb (glycogen) stores. This is crucial because, as muscle glycogen is depleted, a cascade of changes happen to conserve energy, which induce fatigue and greater muscle loss risk.
- Improved Focus: Glucose (a broken-down form of carbs) is also the primary fuel source for the brain. A readily available fuel supply will prevent mental fatigue, which is crucial for focus and safety. It’s hard to squat heavy when your mind is fuzzy!
- Decreased Muscle Breakdown: Carbs directly reduce muscle breakdown. This will help to enhance recovery and allow you train hard more frequently.
Won't consuming sugar during a workout make me sick?
The list of options provided for “workout carbs” are quickly and easily digested. In 99% of cases, it should not bother you during training. HOWEVER, this isn’t the case for everyone. If applicable, please choose a source of workout carbs that doesn’t make you feel unwell. A couple such options are coconut water or just thinner, more heavily diluted workout shakes.