First off, lets talk about the timeless post workout shake (or PWO for you lazy people). Many people I've talked to about their shakes say that they just down some low carb whey protein and maybe some creatine. Alright, protein is all well and good, and very important to building muscle as we all know, but why low carb? Granted, if you're a person trying to lose weight, I can completely understand you shunning the carbs, but us young people who could eat Home Town Buffet out of business shouldn't be worried about them, especially after a tough weight training session. You see, when you train, your body uses glycogen as its main fuel source. Without glycogen, your body would have a real hard time making energy for training. When you're finished, you need refill those glycogen stores in the muscles so that they have more energy to start processing the protein and synthesizing it to make muscle. If you don't refill them, the muscles could go do something crazy and use protein as the energy source, and what is the most abundant source of protein in the body? That would be our all important muscle! So, if you don't give the body glycogen to work with, it will catabolize (break down) the muscle in the body to rebuild the muscle you worked (seem kinda backwards doesn't it?).
Now, there is a certain ratio of carbs to protein that is generally accepted by the strength and conditioning elite. A 2-3:1 carbs to protein ratio is the optimal amount you should have in your post workout drink. So, that would mean if you have 20 grams of protein in your shake, you should have 40-60 grams of fast digesting carbs, like maltodextrin, to go along with it. You can add 3-5 grams of creatine to it too if you feel it's necessary. My favorite shake is Biotest's Surge Recovery.
It's got the optimal ratio AND many necessary amino acids like L-Glutamine and L-Leucine (L-Leucine is being shown more and more to be very important to protein synthesis).
Ok, so now that we've covered the post workout drink, now to cover what to do after that. About an hour after or so after you down the drink, what do you think you need more of? If you said protein, correct! If you said carbs, correct! If you said a massage from a naked women, correct! Seriously though, you need more carbs after that because the glycogen is still not filled yet. However, now the ratio is shifted. Protein should be the main thing in the meal now. At this point, a cup of fat free cottage cheese and strawberries would be great, or maybe a cup of pasta and a chicken breast. Ok now I know your going to hate me. Two hours after that, I want you to eat more carbs. I can hear the groans and the people yelling "You're going to make me a fat ass!" All I can say is try to trust me. I can tell you that this will help you build muscle. On your off days, you can lower the carbs but on training days, try this out. All the other meals should consist of protein and fat with little carbs.
Alright, to sum up, here are the general guidelines to follow:
-Eat 5-8 smaller meals a day.
-Eat most of your carbs after training.
-A 2-3:1 carb to protein ratio is optimal in your post workout shake.
-The two meals after the shake (one and hour after, one another 2 hours after that meal) should also consist of protein+carbs.
-The rest of the meals throughout the day should consist of protein and good fats.
Well, those are my thoughts on post workout nutrition. Give a try for a couple months and I think the results will be good. Til next time, be strong.