WORKOUT MYTH: Protein Shakes for Recovery?


You've heard the advice to eat right after your workout to aid you in your recovery and to keep hunger at bay. But what exactly should you be consuming? Are protein shakes the way to go?

It's a question many trainers and nutritionists hear from their clients. And it's not an easy one to answer.

"It really depends on the individual," say trainer Alex Fell, who runs Warrior Fitness Boot Camp with Ruben Belliard in Midtown. "From my experience, most people who are working out do not need to chug a protein drink after they work out. Eating well-balanced meals throughout the day will supply all the nutrients and proteins you need."

But, Fell adds, someone who's training for performance may very well find that a post-workout protein drink will help.

Brooklyn trainer and nutritionist Michael Feigin agrees it varies from person to person. "It all falls under the heading of exercise science, which is non-linear and based on the individual's needs."

A qualified professional can best assess whether you need a protein shake after your workout. In general, Feigin says, the best workout recovery "formula" is to consume three to four parts carbohydrate to one part protein.

"The carbs stimulate insulin to start the rebuilding process, as well as to restock the body's natural sugar levels, and the protein serves as building blocks for new muscle," says Feigin.

Feigin says he doesn't like bottled protein shakes because there is "usually a lot of other stuff in them."

The best 3:1 recovery drink? Surprisingly, chocolate milk. But, he cautions, "the window for consumption is within an hour of the completion of the workout. Otherwise, the body takes it on as more sugar that it can convert to fat for storage."

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