T Nation

Post Workout Shake vs BCAA Drink

After my workout, I had some errands to run so I could not make my regular PWO shake which consists of almond milk, whey hydrolysate protein and a banana so I went to the nutrition shop to buy a PWO Shake. Now this is where it gets tricky…It has been my experience through my research that a PWO Shake should have sugar to help “transport” the necessary nutrients from the protein shake to my cells since my body is in a low glycogen state.

However, when I went to the shop, they did not have ANY protein shakes with sugars or carbs. So I asked the guy at the front desk if he had any gatorade to go along with a 50G protein shake I bought there. The guy looked at me as if I was a F**KING idiot and told me I should take a BCAA drink instead of the gatorade for a postworkout recovery. Since I drink a BCAA drink throughout my workout, I said no and he gave me a weird look . . .

My question to the brethren is . . . Has something changed? Aren’t PWO Shakes suppose to have sugar in them to transport the nutrients from the protein shake to my cells which are in a low glycogen state? Or should I just be drinking BCAA shakes after my workout?

Some info on me is:

6’2"
200 LBS
14% BF
28YO Male

Supps:
Fish Oil
BCAAs
Multi
Anavar 50MG 2x/Day

Lifts:
Bench: 125lb (dbs) 5 rep max
Squat : 365 3 rep max
Deadlift: 455 3 rep max

I have had some questions regarding this as well. If you did a glycogen depleting workout you need carbs. Fructose is even fine in part because the liver will get replenished.
But the insulin response after hard training is actually blunted by catecholamine.

Extended glycogen depletion does raise insulin sensitivity, but it may be higher an hour after the last workout. This is why bodybuilders and runners can carb load FOR 2-3 DAYS after a period of glycogen depletion. Some have suggested that you load with fructose first to fill the liver, while keeping the muscles low, and then loading the muscles, so that the carbs are not split between muscle and liver.

Carbs and protein during a workout have an advantage because the muscle can absorb sugar and amino acids WITHOUT insulin during contraction. It is non-insulin mediated glucose uptake.

Fred Hatfield believed that sugar right after a workout (within an hour) blunted growth hormone release for an extended period of time after training.

There are studies that show whey by itself will create an insulin spike. There are many people who do not advocate adding cards immediately PWO. You have entered an area where people will believe whichever study they want to believe and fiercely defend it.

You should Google carbs post workout, read everything you can find, and then experiment to come to your own conclusions.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:

If you did a glycogen depleting workout you need carbs.

[/quote]

Can you define what a glycogen depleting workout is? I lift for an hour and hop on the treadmill afterwards. Thanks!

[quote]xvsanta42 wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:

If you did a glycogen depleting workout you need carbs.

[/quote]

Can you define what a glycogen depleting workout is? I lift for an hour and hop on the treadmill afterwards. Thanks!

[/quote]

Its a little challenging because how long you go at a higher exertion determines whether CP and ATP get restored from fatty acids, or require glycogen. I would say that in general, if you perform sets of resistance work that last more than 5-10 seconds you are going to start to use significant glycogen to continue the set. Each second past 10 you are using more and more glycogen, and the shorter your rest period, the more likely you will turn to glycogen to restore SP/ATP. For a 5 second set with maybe close to a minute rest, or a 10 second set with around 2 minutes rest, glycogen depletion is quantifiably minimal. As sets get longer or rest periods get shorter it increases. Lets say that generally sets of 1-3 reps with 2 minutes rest are going to be doing virtually no depletion. Sets may go up to 5 with longer rest, but anything over 3 every 2 minutes or 5 at all is going to start to cut more and more into glycogen.

Walking is restored almost entirely from fatty acids up to the point where you start to feel some burn, or loss of power due to rate, because that is lactic acid which means glycolysis. Maybe around 250 Kcal an hour carb burning will rise. If you burn 100 kcal in 10 minutes on a treadmill it is probably close to half glycogen. At 50 its almost a pure fat burn.

Another guideline is that glycogen is being cut for energy when you feel lactic acid, or when your ability to “sprint” 100% is reduced. You will breath faster just from fat burning because it uses oxygen, but if you do a second set while oyu are still breathing hard you will approach glycolysis. If your rep speed slows it is because you require glycolysis.

[quote]RedElephant wrote:
There are studies that show whey by itself will create an insulin spike. There are many people who do not advocate adding cards immediately PWO. You have entered an area where people will believe whichever study they want to believe and fiercely defend it.

You should Google carbs post workout, read everything you can find, and then experiment to come to your own conclusions.[/quote]

I have read that just 5-6 grams of leucine can spike insulin and even cause low blood sugar. The reason people have suggested adding carbs with Leucine is to keep your blood sugar from dropping during a workout. But is the insulin spike post workout really the mechanism for post workout nutrition? I’ve seen that just overfeeding in the 12 hours after training results in increased muscle. Catecholamine after intense training would blunt a spike.

How about this option? Train hard on BCAAs. Rest for an hour, still on BCAAs. Then at the 1 hour mark, do a light feeder type workout on carbs, just sled pushing.

As stated above already, depending on training as well as pre/intra nutrition, you may or may not need the carbs post workout. Preferably, carbs pre and intra is the way to go along with aminos (the aminos is to help kick off mTOR). Post, actual protein >>>>>> BCAAs. The BCAAs (particularly the leucine content) may spike mTOR but here’s the thing, this is post workout, it’s recovery time, you can spike mTOR all you want but you still need the other EAAs to actually repair anything.

Carbs pre and/or intra (you can skip the intra carbs if your workouts are not as intense or long) IMO yields the benefits, not post. Post, you need the substrates for repair which means EAAs, aka, protein. Adding the BCAAs to your protein post makes very little sense as well because if you’re taking in adequate protein post, you’re already maximizing mTOR signalling. Adding more BCAAs (more specifically, leucine) isn’t going to really do much of anything.

Chocolate milk.

The guy at 7-11 would have never questioned and offer something else.

No, things haven’t changed much. SR is still a viable supplement. Like mentioned above, it depends on the rest of your day.

Taking a protein shake after your work out might not be “optimal”, but seriously, is it that bad?

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:
The BCAAs (particularly the leucine content) may spike mTOR but here’s the thing, this is post workout, it’s recovery time, you can spike mTOR all you want but you still need the other EAAs to actually repair anything.

[/quote]

True but nitrogen balance can be maintained with only about a gram of protein per pound of non-fat bodyweight even in the hardest training athletes. So even someone with 200 pounds lean needs about 200 to guarantee nitrogen balance. The BCAAs and Leucine then act as signals for synthesis. Besides, it only takes 5 extra grams of AAs a day to serve as the building blocks for 2 pounds of muscle a month. The signal is really the key. I don’t think people lack the AAs in general. The main reason to get more protein above that level is to prevent catabolism.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:
The BCAAs (particularly the leucine content) may spike mTOR but here’s the thing, this is post workout, it’s recovery time, you can spike mTOR all you want but you still need the other EAAs to actually repair anything.

[/quote]

True but nitrogen balance can be maintained with only about a gram of protein per pound of non-fat bodyweight even in the hardest training athletes. So even someone with 200 pounds lean needs about 200 to guarantee nitrogen balance. The BCAAs and Leucine then act as signals for synthesis. Besides, it only takes 5 extra grams of AAs a day to serve as the building blocks for 2 pounds of muscle a month. The signal is really the key. I don’t think people lack the AAs in general. The main reason to get more protein above that level is to prevent catabolism. [/quote]

You only need 30-40 grams of protein to spike mTOR and it’s not going to go above a certain threshold (benefits are not linear). So think about it, why add free form aminos post along with your protein when adding more does not illicit further mTOR signalling. Also, why choose the free forms over a whole protein post if the protein ultimately will yield maximum mTOR signalling as well as providing the other AA.

The 5 grams of AAs you mention isn’t what that would make it imply. You’re not factoring in things like gastric emptying as well as all the organs and ther parts of your body that requires AAs to maintain and repair. Your body preferences homeostasis far more than ones goal to build more lean mass.

Ideally, whole proteins/meals will provide the substrates. Freeform aminos are good to use in between feeds to spike mTOR thus helping you make better use of the nutrients you ingest. Also, it doesn’t make sense to try to spike AA saturation (with whole proteins or freeform) constantly because the body responds to the spikes, if you don’t allow levels to drop so that you can create another spike, mTOR is not going to continue to be hightened just because you keep ingesting leucine.

So in the best case scenario is that you spike AA levels acutely to increase mTOR and then ingest whole proteins to sustain MPS (thus research has found that a casein:whey blend @ 50:50 reaps maximum MPS, it induces increased MPS and then sustains it because the blend allows for a prolonged release of AAs).

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:

[quote]mertdawg wrote:

[quote]kissdadookie wrote:
The BCAAs (particularly the leucine content) may spike mTOR but here’s the thing, this is post workout, it’s recovery time, you can spike mTOR all you want but you still need the other EAAs to actually repair anything.

[/quote]

True but nitrogen balance can be maintained with only about a gram of protein per pound of non-fat bodyweight even in the hardest training athletes. So even someone with 200 pounds lean needs about 200 to guarantee nitrogen balance. The BCAAs and Leucine then act as signals for synthesis. Besides, it only takes 5 extra grams of AAs a day to serve as the building blocks for 2 pounds of muscle a month. The signal is really the key. I don’t think people lack the AAs in general. The main reason to get more protein above that level is to prevent catabolism. [/quote]

You only need 30-40 grams of protein to spike mTOR and it’s not going to go above a certain threshold (benefits are not linear). So think about it, why add free form aminos post along with your protein when adding more does not illicit further mTOR signalling. Also, why choose the free forms over a whole protein post if the protein ultimately will yield maximum mTOR signalling as well as providing the other AA.

The 5 grams of AAs you mention isn’t what that would make it imply. You’re not factoring in things like gastric emptying as well as all the organs and ther parts of your body that requires AAs to maintain and repair. Your body preferences homeostasis far more than ones goal to build more lean mass.

Ideally, whole proteins/meals will provide the substrates. Freeform aminos are good to use in between feeds to spike mTOR thus helping you make better use of the nutrients you ingest. Also, it doesn’t make sense to try to spike AA saturation (with whole proteins or freeform) constantly because the body responds to the spikes, if you don’t allow levels to drop so that you can create another spike, mTOR is not going to continue to be hightened just because you keep ingesting leucine.

So in the best case scenario is that you spike AA levels acutely to increase mTOR and then ingest whole proteins to sustain MPS (thus research has found that a casein:whey blend @ 50:50 reaps maximum MPS, it induces increased MPS and then sustains it because the blend allows for a prolonged release of AAs). [/quote]

What I was proposing was to get protein from whole foods, or 50:50 but to get the leucine right after training-basically what you wrote. I have read that leucine signalling may be diminished in the presence of other amino acids, and or that they slow down the entry of leucine into the blood.

[quote]mertdawg wrote:
What I was proposing was to get protein from whole foods, or 50:50 but to get the leucine right after training-basically what you wrote. I have read that leucine signalling may be diminished in the presence of other amino acids, and or that they slow down the entry of leucine into the blood.

[/quote]

Ah, gotcha :wink: Tbh though, this is where I think pre and intra nutrition holds the most value. It both increases mTOR during a period where you do want increased mTOR, the side benefit of course would be that you don’t have to worry about post workout nutrition since you can just go have that whole foods meal 2 or even 3 hours later.