The Best Recovery Drink for Lean Muscle
There are any number of supplements that you can use in your quest to build muscle. But the most effective post-workout recovery drink is the one you make yourself. By using a few items in the kitchen, a couple of supplements and a blender, you can custom-tailor a supplement to meet your exact demands, whether or not you are attempting to add muscle or drop body fat. Consult your physician before beginning any diet or exercise program.
Whey protein is an excellent source of protein, and if you exercise you need more protein that people who do not, according to Dr. Peter Lemon of the University of Western Ontario. Whey protein is high in many essential amino acids and easily digestible. Whey is also available in both concentrate and isolate, a more pure form of whey that had a noted anabolic effect in a study by Dr. Juha J. Hulmi of University of Jyvaskyla, Finland.
Micellar casein is manufactured from milk protein isolates and is another protein that is extremely high in critical amino acids and very bioavailable, which means that your body uses it efficiently, according to Dr. Magali Lacroix of the Institut National Agronomique Paris-Grignon, Paris, France. Unlike whey, micellar casein has a fuller texture, so it blends well with whey, giving a bit thicker of a blend. So if consistency is an issue, this may be a factor for you.
Milk and Blends
Milk was the standard way to get extra protein in the days before supplements, and it remains effective. If you are not lactose intolerant, milk requires absolutely no preparation time and can be quickly and easily consumed. If you are trying to bulk up, drink whole milk, and if you are trying to drop body fat, drink skim milk. This will allow you to adjust your supplement intake to match your goals. To get the best of all three worlds, mix whey, micellar casein and milk in a blender. You can adjust the taste to suit your personal desires.
To aid you in recovery post-workout, it is best to have some carbohydrates with your protein. Research by Dr. Antonio Mannien of the Advanced Research Institute has shown that carbohydrates with protein can enhance not only your recovery but also the overall growth, or anabolic effect. This is the ideal time to have carbohydrates without worrying about adding fat, because most of what you consume will go directly to restoring depleted muscle glycogen levels. So by adding a banana or some other fruit, you can not only enjoy the anabolic effect, but the taste as well.
- Journal of the American College of Nutrition: Beyond the Zone: Protein Needs of Active Individuals, Individuals
- PubMed: Effect of Protein/Essential Amino Acids and Resistance Training on Skeletal Muscle Hypertrophy: A Case for Whey Protein
- PubMed: Compared with Casein or Total Milk Protein, Digestion of Milk Soluble Proteins is Too Rapid to Sustain the Anabolic Postprandial Amino Acid Requirement
- British Journal of Sports Medicine: Hyperinsulinaemia, Hyperaminoacidaemia and Post-Exercise Muscle Anabolism: The Search for the Optimal Recovery Drink
- "Nancy Clark's Sports Nutrition Guidebook"; Nancy Clark; 2008
Eric Brown began writing professionally in 1990 and has been a strength and conditioning coach and exercise physiologist for more than 20 years. His published work has appeared in "Powerlifting USA," "Ironsport" and various peer-reviewed journals. Brown has a Bachelor of Science in exercise physiology from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in kinesiology from the University of California, Los Angeles.