If you want to learn how to best use your protein powder post workout to build more muscle based on the latest scientific studies – you have hit the jackpot!
We encourage you to take some notes and in less than 5 minutes you will be ready to pick out the best protein powder for turning your hard work in the gym into meaty slabs of muscle!
The penalty for not knowing this information is very harsh – as 9 out of 10 protein powders are not ideal for post workout muscle building and repair.
This means that all of your hard work in the gym could be partially going to waste with an inferior post workout protein due to poor absorption, digestion, quality and other factors you are about to learn. Keep on reading if you want more mass and less gas from your post workout protein powder.
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You are about to see that not all protein powder supplements are created equal because of 5 main factors:
- How fast the protein digests.
Not all protein powders digest at the same speed, so you want one that digests fast which will create a highly anabolic environment primed for muscle growth.
- The actual purity of the whey protein powder.
Not all protein powder supplements are created equal, even when they are in the same category. The manufacturing process of the protein powder can make or break the purity and quality.
- Its ability to maximize muscle protein synthesis.
This fancy term basically means its ability to help you build muscle following your workout! Maximizing muscle protein synthesis is the holy grail of fast muscle gains. If you are serious about building muscle fast you want to do everything in your power to maximize MPS post workout.
- Maximum amino acid absorption.
Poor post workout amino acid digestion not only means your getting less of your protein powder but also means less muscle protein synthesis. OH NO! If you want to build muscle post workout you always want to maximize amino acid absorption.
5. How good the protein powder is digested. Poor protein digestion means more protein farts and less gains! You need to ensure your protein powder choice took the proper precautions to assist in digestion.
Now that we broke down the 5 main categories of what to look out for when selecting the best protein powder, let’s go through each one.
1. The best type of protein powder post workout
When it comes to picking out the best post workout protein powder, the amount of options can surely be overwhelming. Chances are at your local supplement store you will come across the following options:
- Whey protein isolate
- Whey protein concentrate
- Whey protein blends (containing a mix of iso, milk, concentrate and casein)
- Casein protein powder
- Vegan Protein Powders (hemp, rice, soy, wheat, EVEN watermelon seed!)
- Goat milk protein
- Egg Protein
How in the world are you supposed to choose the best protein for post workout with all these options?
It’s actually quite easy – it all comes down to speed of digestion. Post workout you want fast digestion to initiate post workout muscle protein synthesis, which starts the process of building and repair. You don’t want to delay your muscle gains and your window to maximize your hard work in the gym.
When it comes to selecting the best post workout protein powder – whey protein isolate reigns superior everytime. As you can see on the chart below, the difference in speed of digestion between whey isolate and casein is drastic.
You can see that whey protein concentrate also digests somewhat fast, but a WPI (whey protein isolate) is far superior because the concentrate holds some of the fat and carbohydrate content of milk meaning more lactose and poorer digestion, which can cause an incredible negative chain of reactions in your body.
The last thing in the world you want when your body is trying to grow and repair is poor digestion. You want perfect digestion done rapidly, creating the perfect environment for the muscle gains to happen.
Whey protein isolate is stripped of most of the fats, carbs and lactose meaning it is ideal for speed and digestion.
Now that we have solved the puzzle of what type of whey protein powder is the best for post workout – we need to understand that not all sources of whey isolate are the same, which leads us to the 2nd factor.
2. Purity of the whey protein powder
Now that we know we need a whey protein isolate for our post workout needs, we need to ensure we have maximum protein purity.
A lot of this has to do with the manufacturing process of the whey protein supplement. The batman and robin of a ‘perfect protein manufacturing process’ would be a combination of using pure undenatured proteins from whey and using a cross flow microfiltration process.
This results in the purest protein possible and a far superior BCAA/EAA profile when compared to whey protein concentrates and other sources of protein supplements.
You have to understand that protein is simply comprised of all of the essential amino acids needed for growth and repair. Whey protein isolate is loaded with these amino acids since its 90% protein. (concentrate is only 70-80% protein by comparison)
Whey isolate that is undenatured and made with a cross flow microfiltration process is especially high in BCAA’s like leucine, which studies show is the most anabolic (muscle gain promoting) amino acid.
What whey protein isolate source combines this highly effective manufacturing process? Keep on reading until the bottom for our recommendation.
Another factor that goes into ‘protein purity’ is amino spiking, proprietary bends, fillers and excipients. You want 100% of the protein in your protein supplement to come from a high quality whey protein isolate source, and not in a proprietary blend mixed with other cheaper protein sources.
This is because WPI is 90% protein by weight, the highest ratio of any of the types of protein.
Ok – to summarize so far we want a whey protein isolate that is manufactured using pure undenatured protein and a cross flow microfiltration process.
Now let’s talk about a few x-factors that will take your post workout protein shake from puny gains to hulk-like muscle gains.
3. Muscle protein synthesis – the most important factor for rapid muscle gains
Although we’ve had the technology for quite some time to put a man on the moon and even invent a hoverboard – it’s taken quite some time to figure out how to increase muscle protein synthesis from our whey protein isolate supplement.
In recent years some top notch muscle building scientists found an ingredient that showed some extremely promising research on increasing muscle protein synthesis.
This ingredient is called ‘velositol’ and research studies showed that it doubled muscle protein synthesis when combined with protein.
Muscle protein synthesis is the process of building muscle mass, so you want to do everything in your power to maximize it following a workout. Muscle protein synthesis is 100% essential for exercise recovery and growth following an intense resistance exercise.
Not maximizing muscle protein synthesis following a workout is 1 of the worst things you can do for not only your recovery but your potential muscle growth.
The good news is that Velositol has been shown to double this important muscle marker – which is absolutely insane! Doubling the most important factor for building muscle with just a simple ingredient addition in your whey protein isolate, we are shocked that most protein powders on the market don’t include this ingredient.
Just 2 grams of this ingredient can result in double the muscle gains from your whey protein isolate, and this is some of the most promising muscle building research we have seen in the supplement industry in quite some time.
In order to capitalize on maximum muscle protein synthesis, you want to select a protein powder that has at least 2 grams of Velositol – .
4. Maximum Amino Acid Absorption – more bioavailability
Protein must first be broken down into amino acids for your body to be able to utilize it and absorb it. Once these amino acids have been absorbed, they are released into your bloodstream which takes them to cells in other parts of your body so they can start the process of repairing damaged tissue and building muscle.
This is what happens in a perfect world. Unfortunately with many protein powders high amounts of lactose, fillers, amino spiking, soy, gluten and artificial colors – and LACK of any additional digestive enzymes to assist in the protein breakdown, your body won’t be able to properly break it down into amino acids- so less of these muscle building amino acids are released into your bloodstream and available.
Remember that proteins are made of amino acids and this is what allows your muscles to grow post workout. How many amino acids your body is able to absorb after consuming your post workout protein shake is of huge importance for initiating muscle protein synthesis and giving your body everything it needs to enter the perfect post workout environment for growth and repair.
The best amino acid absorption booster we found in our research that had scientific studies proving more amino acids in the blood and huge increases in amino acid uptake vs. a placebo is Aminogen.
Aminogen is actually a patented digestive enzyme that helps break down protein. We consider the batman and robin of maximum protein digestion. Who is the Robin? You will find out on number 5!
Increases in BCAA retention were also shown, which are the most important amino acids for building muscle. We suggest you select a protein powder supplement that contains at least 250 mg of Aminogen.
5. How good your protein powder is digested
Poor protein digestion is extremely common. I bet you don’t have to think back long to remember the last time you had a protein shake and had some serious issues with protein farts shortly after! While Aminogen certainly helps with this, their is 1 more ingredient we are absolutely in love with because of the sheer amount of research that has come out in the last few years.
The Batman and Robin of protein digestion is Aminogen and Astragin. AstraGin is a natural compound whose primary purpose is to improve overall absorption of the ingredients in your supplements. With a poor quality protein powder your body may only be absorbing 50-60% of it, but with a high quality whey protein isolate plus AstraGin, your body will be able to make use of all the protein.
This means that instead of getting 10-15 grams of protein for every scoop, you are getting the full 25 grams! Imagine the compound effect of this over time. Let’s say you workout 5 days a week and take 20 post workout protein shakes over that month. One is a cheap protein you absorb 50% of and the other is a high quality WPI with Astragin you absorb all of.
With the low quality protein powder you are consuming about 250 LESS grams of protein per month. That is a lot of chicken breasts and a lot of missed muscle gains in a short period of time.
Studies have shown AstraGin increases absorption of amino acids anywhere from 25-67% and reduces intestinal wall inflammation by 73%!
This means that not only is a high quality WPI that contains AstraGin good for digesting more protein, but it actually helps HEAL your gut!
When it comes to digesting your post workout protein shake you don’t want to go with a cheap protein, as not only do you digest less of the protein powder, but the compound effect on your muscle protein synthesis and digestion of meals the rest of the day can also be reduced.
When you are heavily bloated for 8+ hours after your protein shake your body is not in the best state to utilize all of ingested food and protein for initiating growth and repair. Over the course of the year we estimate a lot of gains are being lost due to bad protein powder choices.
What do we recommend as the best post workout protein powder?
Now that we are through the list, you might be wondering what protein powders are on the market that digest fast, are of maximum purity, maximum digestion, maximum amino acid absorption and that maximize muscle protein synthesis.
We recommend G.O.A.T.ein – the first protein to be max dosed in the 4 pillars of a perfect post workout protein.
If you want to take your G.O.A.T.ein to the max, you can simply add 5 grams of creatine monohydrate to it following your workout.
A high quality WPI paired with 5 grams of creatine is our recommendation if you are trying to bulk up and gain strength, but don’t limit yourself to this magical combination only when you are bulking. Even when you are shredding you can use this combination to maintain your strength and to prevent muscle loss.
That’s it for this article. Let me know if you have any questions or comments down below – and make sure to follow the SuperHuman You youtube channel where we post more great content on a regular basis.
SOURCES USED IN ARTICLE:
Whey protein and the most anabolic amino acids: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0955286303000305
Cross flow microfiltration:
Maximizing muscle protein synthesis:
Muscle protein synthesis definition and in response to exercise:
How is protein digested?
Amino Acid Absorption:
I’m Troy and I’m the creator of SuperHuman You and Co-Founder of Alpha Lion.
I created SuperHuman You to give you access to the most cutting edge information so you can reach your body goals as fast as humanly possible.
I’ve been obsessed with training since 2005 when I attended IMG Academy and got to train alongside NBA, NFL and Olympic Gold Medal winning athletes.
Now I’m on a mission to transform as many lives as possible and I’m so excited you found us!
I’ve been fortunate enough to train alongside and pick the brain of some of the best pro athletes, bodybuilders and trainers in the world – and this site represents over 15+ years of insights from the world’s best.
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