One of the most crucial times of day for supporting muscle growth is immediately after workouts. When you finish training, you’ve damaged muscle tissue and you may have driven your body into a catabolic state where it breaks down muscle tissue to repair the muscles you’ve just trained. Your tank is likely on empty, too. But you don’t need food at this time. What you need is a range of fast-digesting carbs and amino acids that drive nutrients to your working muscles, protecting all of your muscles against breakdown. Here’s what you should take in as you’re walking out of the gym to get you back into a maximal anabolic state—before you go devour a clean whole-food meal.

Emphasize aminos that increase protein synthesis for repair and growth. After workouts your body needs specific amino acids to help maximize protein synthesis, the process through which muscles repair and grow after weight training. Taking in these aminos is crucial because they digest quickly, reaching the muscles you’ve just trained. At this time, you should get in glutamine peptides, BCAAs, and phenylalanine. With BCAAs, look for products that provide a higher amount of leucine, the most effective of the BCAAs for driving repair and growth. 

Include amino acids that boost insulin release. While amino acids support protein synthesis and carbs encourage insulin release, you can also benefit from taking in amino acids that stimulate insulin release. This is particularly important for those who are dieting or do not want to take in carbs after their workouts. BCAAs, especially leucine, are insulinotropic, supporting carbs in increasing insulin release to drive the recovery and growth process at the cellular level within muscle tissue. 

Restock glycogen with carbs. Taking in fast-digesting carbohydrates immediately after training helps your body replace the muscle glycogen you burned while you were weight training. This in turn provides you with a greater source of this muscle fuel the next time you train. In addition, fast-digesting carbs spur an insulin release, driving carbs and other nutrients to your muscles, hungry for these nutrients after workouts. Good sources of carbs at this time include those derived from potato starch, glucose polymers, and waxy maize. 

Add ingredients that support muscle cell volumization and ATP production. You know you need creatine to encourage ATP production in your muscles for better sets with higher reps and more weight. But you may not know that one of the best times to take creatine is after your workouts so that you have plenty of creatine in your muscle cells the next time you train. Taking in creatine after workouts also helps volumize muscle cells, encouraging them to expand to make the entire muscle larger. In addition to multiple types of creatine (monohydrate, magnesium chelate, gluconate), glycerol monostearate is also a cell volumizer. – FLEX