What should I have in my post workout shake to build muscle?

What should I have in my post workout shake to build muscle?C

If you read my article "three simple nutrition tips for maximum muscle" then you will know that the post workout window is absolutely crucial if you are looking to add new muscle to your body.

In this article I'm going to give you the basic requirements of a post workout shake as well as extra ingredients you can include to create an even more potent and effective when building muscle and recovery is a priority.

What are we looking to achieve with a post workout shake?

In the post workout window we are looking to immediately halt the breakdown of muscle tissue caused by weight training (catabolism) and start the recovery and repair process. The quickest and best way to do this is with a large insulin spike caused by simple carbohydrates which at most other times of the day we want to avoid due to their link to fat gain. But at this magic time just post workout our bodies metabolism is flying and the carbs we consume now are almost 100% going to be used for recovery and to build muscle so if there is a time when we want some simple sugars, now is a great time.
Best bet: Dextrose. 
Alternative: Ripe Banana's 

Along with a large hit of post workout simple carbohydrates we want some easily digestable protein packed with amino acids which can piggyback on to the rapidly absorbing carbs and directly in to the muscles where the amino acids can start the repair process in the muscle.
Best bet: Whey protein or a protein blend (see article: What is the best protein for you) 

This basic combination of simple carbohydrates and a high quality protein source at a ratio of 2:1 in your post workout shake will help you build muscle, recover, and get stronger all in an easy to consume and portable form! So if you are unsure of what to consume in your post workout shake to build muscle then fast absorbing carbs and a protein source will be a great start!

But what if you really want to take your post workout shake to the next level to fully maximise your muscle building potential? Below are a few optional extra's you can include in your post workout shake to increase your bodies ability to build muscle. 

For extra gains (optional)

I am a big believer that supplementation can seriously aid your muscle building progress and recovery times! And it is for this reason that I recommend that three of my favourite supplements are included to create the perfect post workout shake if looking for optimal muscle building potential. I'm not going to bore you with too much science but these three supplements when added to your post workout shake can give you the extra edge.


Leucine is one of the Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA's) with strong scientific links as an anabolic potentiator in combination with other amino acids. It is present in whey protein but increasing your leucine with these other ingredients is going to increase your insulin spike= More growth.


Creatine is a naturally occuring acid which is involved in the supply of energy, specifically adenosine triphosphate (ATP) to the muscle's. When supplemented creatine has a wide range of benefits associated with overall health not just training (but more on that another time.) When using creatine in relation to training the benefits include:

  • Increased strength (especially initial explosive strength)
  • Increased cell volumisation meaning better nutrient absorption.
  • Increased protein synthesis

All of these things are good for building muscle and therefore creatine is a welcome inclusion in any post workout shake.


Glutamine is a fantastic and cheap amino acid which is produced in the body and is infact the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue and like creatine glutamine has loads of general health benefits on top of its muscle building benefits which include:

  • When we exercise glutamine is depleated and muscle wasting can occur (not good!) Supplementing with this amino acid will reduce the recovery time and start the rebuilding process immediately which makes it a useful in the quest to build muscle!
  • Naturally increases human growth hormone levels (HGH)
  • Directly hydrates and aids in the repair of damaged tissue's (your muscles!)

These three supplements are proven muscle builders and when combined with fast acting carbs and a quality protein source create the ideal post workout shake to create an environment in your body to build muscle.

Check out my perfect post workout shake recipe and start getting the most out the essential post workout window!