Post workout supplements serve multiple purposes.  The first and foremost is to help your body recover from the rigors of the workout.   Second you want ingredients that promote muscle repair and promote muscle growth.  To optimize this you want to slow muscle breakdown by consuming anti-catabolic agents.  Finally, you want to restore energy levels and reduce muscle fatigue and soreness.  Your POST workout supplement will be HIGH IN PROTEIN and CARBOHYDRATE.  The carbohydrate intake will elevate insulin response and help drive nutrients into muscle for optimum repair.  Most importantly driving in protein peptides.  At all three phases carbohydrate consumption is crucial.  PRE / INTRA and POST. However, protein is a repairing agent thus, MOST important in your POST workout phase as it rebuilds torn muscle tissue.  

 Chocolate milk.  Yes, chocolate milk is an exceptional recovery drink.  It has both the carbohydrate and the protein that you need for optimum recovery.   It is often remarked as being the "New Sport Drink".  Chocolate Milk is the official refuel beverage of the IronMan U.S. Series Triathlons.  Read about its benefits here.  I'll write more about chocolate milk in a little bit.  

Stimulants such as beta-alanine and L-arginine are not necessary during the POST phase.  Avoid sugars and caffeine.  And, know, that it is widely suggested in the athletic and supplement communities that there is a catabolic window of 30 mins when your post workout supplement(s) should be consumed.  This is supported by findings via the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Dietetic Association.   Consuming within this 30 minute window will optimize recovery and promote anabolism.  Otherwise your muscle will suffer from this extreme catabolic window. 

What do I need in my POST workout shake?  Carbs and protein.  Read this:

 "The benefits of the post-workout drink are regulated by the hormonal (insulin) response to food intake. Elevated insulin levels occur in response to carbohydrate intake and increase the muscle cell's uptake of glucose (carbohydrate) and amino acids used to synthesize glycogen and protein, respectively. Carbohydrates should not be omitted from the post-workout feeding because they allow the insulin levels to be elevated."


There are multiple sources of both carbs and protein.  I have a recommended protein manufacturer called Xtreme Formulations.  They make a protein product called Ultra Peptide which is second to none.  See them listed at the bottom of the page.  But, you also need a carb source.  To hit that anabolic window (or catabolic window), you need fast absorbing food sources.  There is no quicker way to drive these two mandatory POST workout nutrients into muscle and body faster than supplements.  Vitargo is the fastest source of muscle fuel on the planet.  Muscle Fuel means carbs.  They have multiple studies on humans and hold multiple international patents.  Their VitargoPOST product has the carb and protein ratio that you need for an effective POST workout shake.  Get a tub today.  You wont be disappointed. 

Again, there are multiple carb sources and multiple protein sources.  Ive given you the two that I recommend the most. But, one of my favorites is chocolate milk.  Hey, milk does a body good and there are a lot of lab produced powders on the market that get a little sketchy in providing valid research.  1 in 1000 products on the shelf have any type of real research data.  So, to me, chocolate milk is a no-brainer.  Probably like you, I've been drinking it since I was a boy coming home from a long day at school.  Its safe.  Its proven and golly, it works.   So lets look at the study Milk vs. Sports Drinks.  

 In the study by Joel M. Stager, PhD, Indiana University - Kinesiology, 9 male cyclists rode until exhaustion.  Total muscle energy depletion.  They rested four hours and biked again until total muscle and energy exhaustion.  Between rest periods the subjects drank three fuel sources: 1) Gatorade, 2) Endurox R4 and 3) Chocolate Milk.  Here's the finding that may surprise you - those cyclist who consumed chocolate milk were able to boost performance 50% greater (longer distance) than those who drank the Endurox R4.  Athletes who drank the Gatorade fared about the same as those who drank the chocolate milk.   Joel's findings suggest that chocolate milk has the ratio of carbs to protein required to optimally refuel athlete's muscles.   However, the startling fact in the study shows that the chocolate milk and the Endurox R4 had the SAME carb to protein ratio.  So, what gave to those athletes who consumed the Endurox R4?  Per WebMD, the study shows that research done by Jeanne D Johnston, MA, suggests that the milk in the chocolate milk has a different composition and it was this composition of sugars in the milk that allowed for a better and faster absorption in the gut than the Endurox R4.  So, chocolate milk.  Drink up! 


  • Organic Valley's - Organic Fuel High Protein Milk (vanilla)
  • Organic Valley's - Organic Fuel High Protein Milk (chocolate)
  • Muscle Milk - chocolate
  • Muscle Milk tub - Cake Batter
  • Endurox R4
  • Gatorade


Not all POST shakes are worth the hype... in fact, if you've read around my site a bit you'll know that its rare that any actually are.  In an excerpt from Caroline Earle (@trendytrainer) via she hits on an extremely important issue.  Under my protein basics section you'll read that some of these large protein powder manufacturers are importing barge loads of (cheap) powder into the US from countries like China.  Its a low-grade, low-cost, high profit-margin product.  I write this almost in verbatim testimony from an industry expert based in the San Francisco Bay Area who took a personal tour of a local facility of a brand you most certainly would recognize.... especially if you read the "Bro Milk" label of the drinks in the video below (right).  Here's TrendyTrainer's BostInno quote:  

"According to a study out of Consumer Reports, samples of arsenic, cadmium, lead and mercury were conducted on popular protein powder brands. The results? The study states, 'consuming three servings a day could result in daily exposure to arsenic, cadmium, or lead exceeding the limits proposed by USP.'"

So, hold caution to the wind when consuming some of these highly marketed POST shakes. They may not contain ingredients that could do your body good.  If they want you to drink it before or during workout and they contain protein in it... then, they probably shouldn't be a highly trusted source anyway.  

In her article she goes on to pitch the benefits of Chocolate milk. Its related health benefits are impressive and again, bottom line for an athlete, its an excellent RECOVERY drink.  She writes about Organic Valley's product called Organic Fuel High Protein Milk Shake.  It's the subject of the below commercial (video) and again, of Caroline's write-up.  There are better alternatives to the high budgeted campaign monsters touting their protein powders.  Remember, as an athlete, you do not need protein before or during your exercise, event, race, etc..  You only need protein after, to recover.  The chocolate milk route has the carbs to help replenish glycogen stores to muscle and it has the protein to help synthesize muscle tissue building.  

Here's the article (click the image below) 


Staying on the chocolate milk kick for a moment because it is lauded, by many, as being the "New Sport Drink".   A few years ago I came across an amazing brand of chocolate milk, not knowing the POST workout benefits of it.  Kalona SuperNatural is the most incredibly great tasting chocolate milk that I have ever tried to date.  I am a fan of Organic Valley but, if you can get a hold of a bottle of Kalona SuperNatural - you won't turn back.  Plus, their website details some great information about consuming chocolate milk as a POST workout drink.  Have a look

What to know:



 SO - let's tackle some basic terminology: 

What is catabolism?   When your body looses muscle - molecules breaking into smaller units. AVOID THIS

What is anabolism?   When your body builds muscle - creates new cells.  Builds protein.  Builds muscle.

What are amino acids?  The units that make up a protein.  There are 22 amino acids necessary to build a protein.  9 are essential - meaning, you can only get them by eating food.  The other 13 your body can make by itself.  

What are peptides?   They are like tiny proteins.  Rule of thumb - they are composed of 2 or more amino acids. 

What is a protein?   Commonly characterized, a protein is a peptide consisting of 50 or more amino acids.

What is insulin?   A hormone produced in the pancreas that regulates the amount of glucose in the blood.  Think of it as pilot that drives nutrients into your muscles.

What is glucose?   A sugar that is an important energy source for the body and is a component of carbohydrates 

What is glycogen?   A multibranched polysaccharide of glucose.  Hmmm... what?  Basically your body's way of storing energy.   Glucose, upon digestion, becomes glycogen.  Think of glycogen as a car being parked in a garage for later use. 

How much protein should I take?   20 grams (of WHEY) after intense workouts.  Don't be fooled by clever marketing schemes.  Consuming more is waist.   Like throwing money away.  Not good. 

What are some other POST workouts?  Check these out

 Recommended POST workout:

Xtreme Formulations' ULTRA PEPTIDE is second to none.  This is the KING of protein.  If you're on MuscleMilk or a MusclePharm product, stop robbing yourself.   Xtreme Formulation's Ultra Peptide is the ultimate POST workout protein.  Hands down.  No questions asked. 

The only thing better than this would be to a) throw in a scoop of Vitargo or b) drink VitargoPOST.  

A star is born in this product.  And that star will be YOU once you'vre on this.  You'll order NOTHING BUT.   Xtreme Formulations is the first and only company to not only disclose proprietary casein to whey protein ratio of 51/49 (pure undenatured low temperature processed micellar casein to ceramic microfiltered whey isolate) but, also the only company to include over 50% of the protein in Ultra Peptide from micellar casein (an industry first per their website).  This makes Ultra Peptide a "super protein" as it targets the acquisition of lean muscle tissue.  It has both casein and whey for rapid recovery (whey) and slow elongated absorption (casein) for ultimate recovery.  The product features shelf stable designer EFA's (essential fatty acids).  This boosts over-all health and is extremely anabolic for POST recovery. 

Go with the cinnamon roll flavor and you will never taste a better protein. 



Got Milk?  Try chocolate milk after your workout.   By Kelly L Phillips, Fitness


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