When you think about building muscle, resistance training exercises are probably the first thing that comes to mind. But did you know your rest days are actually pulling half the weight — yes, pun intended.
Recovery is the critical stage after exercise when your muscles go into rebuild mode. Your muscles break down during your workout and grow stronger during recovery. Why skip over a process that encourages your body to perform even better than before? For us, recovery is just as important as the workout itself.
A well-balanced diet and adequate rest aid in the recovery process, but there are a few additional ways to optimize muscle recovery post-workout.
Choose a leucine-rich protein post-workout
The combination of resistance exercise and the amino acids in protein stimulates Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS), which is the process of rebuilding muscle mass. You’ve got your training in check, but what about a source of protein rich in branched chain amino acids
Look no further than whey protein. This fast-digesting, quality protein has a high percentage of naturally occurring leucine, a Branched Chain Amino Acid (BCAA) that’s crucial to recovery. Studies show that leucine promotes muscle protein synthesis and gains in lean muscle mass.1
The amount of protein matters
When it comes to post-fitness refueling, not only does the type of protein you consume matter, but also the amount. It’s long been the standard that consuming 20-25 grams of leucine-rich protein after resistance exercise is a sufficient amount to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. And this remains true if you’re splitting up your weight-lifting routine (i.e., leg day, arm day). However, a recent study found that upleveling your recovery with 40 grams of whey protein over 5 hours of a full-body workout promotes a greater MPS response.2 So, if you have a particularly tough day at the gym where you worked every muscle, you may want to up your protein intake to optimize muscle recovery.
Get quality sleep
Next to protein, quality sleep is the next best way to enhance muscle recovery. While you rest, your body releases human growth hormones (hGH) and muscle-building amino acids at a higher rate.
It’s clear that sleeping is incredibly restorative by itself, but you can aid in the body’s natural recovery process by ingesting a slow-digesting protein before bedtime. Ascent’s Micellar Casein provides a steady stream of BCAAs to help your muscles recover and rebuild while you sleep. Try these Birthday Cake Truffles the next time you need to satisfy your sweet tooth and maximize muscle repair.
Opt for 100% whey protein
We already discussed how leucine-rich whey protein encourages muscle protein synthesis, a critical process in fitness recovery. But now you can feed your body an even cleaner, more intact whey protein with the latest breakthrough in sports nutrition: native whey.
How does native whey differ from regular whey? Conventional whey protein is a byproduct of the cheese-making process. In contrast, native whey is filtered directly from milk, resulting in a final product that is less processed and richer in naturally occurring amino acids. According to a study by BMC Nutrition, native whey induced faster and higher blood leucine concentrations compared to conventional whey and milk(3).
Thankfully, you don’t need to look too far to find this powerhouse protein. Ascent’s Protein Powder is made with high-quality native whey that’s perfect for your post-workout muscle recovery.
- (“Whey Protein Supplementation During Resistance Training Augments Lean Body Mass | Journal of American College of Nutrition”, 2013)
- (“The response of muscle protein synthesis following whole-body resistance exercise is greater following 40 g than 20 g of ingested whey protein | Physiological Reports”, 2016)
- (Native whey induces higher and faster leucinemia than other whey protein supplements and milk: a randomized controlled trial | BMC Nutrition”, 2017)