Post-Workout Nutrition: The Protein Shake

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Most people focus all of their attention on the “work” of working out. Unfortunately, this is where the attention stops and the biggest training mistake is made. You see, it’s not until you leave the gym that the muscles begin to recover and get stronger. The crucial recovery time that follows the workout is often a factor overlooked and underrated in training. It is also one of the main causes of stagnant workouts and mediocre gains. 

The good news is that there’s a surefire way to improve recovery, boost energy levels and accelerate muscle growth. It’s as simple as making a high-carbohydrate, protein-rich shake immediately after you exercise.

The Science Behind the Shake

There are a lot of things that are complicated, endlessly debated, and hypothesized about training, but this is one thing that virtually all experts agree on. It’s even backed by solid university studies. If you are training hard, and trying to improve strength and performance, you need to feed your body protein and carbohydrates within an hour after your workout.

Scientific data shows that right after exercise, your body needs nutrients, and it needs them bad. It stands to reason the most important time to feed the body is right after you’ve expended a significant amount of fuel. When you workout, your body burns up amino acids, glycogen, glucose, and enhances the breakdown of a whole bunch of substrates. 

Insulin, your body’s super-anabolic “storage” hormone, is also highly sensitive immediately after you train. Insulin’s main function is to transport amino acids, glucose and other nutrients into various cells of your body – including fat and muscle cells. These nutrients literally can’t get into the cells without insulin “unlocking” the door first. 

The trick lies in feeding your body protein and carbs as soon as you get done training, while insulin is highly sensitive and your muscles are very “receptive” as well. You see, your muscles are in somewhat of a starvation state at this time. They are like a dry sponge, waiting to suck up all the nutrients they lost during the workout. 

During this one hour post-workout window of opportunity, insulin will favor shuttling protein and carbs into your muscles cells, as opposed to fat cells. So in this instance, timing is everything!

What About Whole Foods?

You now hopefully understand the importance of post-workout nutrition, but what should you eat? First of all, a whole food meal is inferior to a nutritional shake at this time. This is because whole foods are digested much more slowly and require quite a bit of water for digestion. Rather than rehydrating the system, such as with a shake, a whole food meal may draw water out of the system. A good idea would be to have a balanced whole food meal 1-2 hours after your post-workout shake, which should be consumed within 10 minutes to an hour after the workout. 

How to Make Your Shake

A quick and economical shake for after your workout would consist of 1-3 scoops of protein powder mixed with 16 –20 ounces of fruit juice or fruit and water. Whey protein is your best choice for post-workout because it is the fastest digesting of all the proteins. Limit the fat in your post-workout shake to under 5 grams. Fat takes much longer to digest than protein and carbs and will limit the punch of the post-workout shake.

So, if you are working out hard, trying to improve your performance or build your body, you must feed it right after you train. You are virtually guaranteed to see a difference.

Bench Press: Understanding the Path

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The Play: Bench Press – Understanding the Bar Path

The Purpose: Improve your bench press max reps

Pre-Snap Read: The path is broken out into to sections:

  • The Basement: Doing as many reps as you can on one breath
  • Singles: Then you do small sections, single after single

Performance: Perform as many reps as you can on one breath, breathe, then continue with triples, doubles, and singles, focusing on your breathing pattern with each rep. Be sure to pull the bar down, not just let it fall to your chest. Do not rush reps. Be patient.

Post-Drill Analysis: Did you reach the number you expected? Create a plan and practice to continue to improve.

What to Eat Before a Sports Game for Kids

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Youth athletes might not be concerned about game day nutrition, but parents and coaches should be. Not only do kids need optimal nutrition for fueling and recovery, but also to meet energy demands and maturation for growing athletes.

Working muscles need carbohydrates for fuel, moderate amounts of protein, small amounts of fat, and plenty of fluids. 

Below are some basic guidelines on what to eat before a sports game for kids:


The timing of the meal will be dependent on the meal size. Meal size will depend on how recently an athlete has eaten. Full-sized meals should be eaten 2-3 hours prior sports activities. If the athlete has already had 1 or 2 full meals earlier in the day, they may prefer a slightly lighter snack. This can be eaten closer to the game, within the hour timeframe. 

For great snack ideas, check out 8 Healthy Snacks for Athletes on the Go.


Pre-game hydration doesn’t begin a few hours before the event; it begins the minute the athlete wakes up. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during the day leading up to a game, especially in the two to three hours before game time. Water is essential for the proper circulation of nutrients in the body and as such, supports energy levels and strength.


Carbs are a key player in a pre-game meal. Carbs are the body’s main source of energy, but also digest faster than fat and protein, making them ideal before exercise. Stick to basic carb sources. Some ideas include toast or rice cakes with jelly, bananas, cereal, pasta, potatoes, etc. Choose a high-glycemic carb for fast digestion. You may want to avoid carbs rich in fiber as they may cause bloating and discomfort.


Active bodies need protein to support growth and build and repair hard working muscles. Young athletes should spread protein foods throughout the day, having some at each meal and with most snacks, such as eggs, yogurt, meat or protein shakes.


You want to focus on minimal fat intake directly before energy exertion. Fatty foods slow down the digestion of food, and as such, will not give athletes the energy they need to perform at their best.

Post-Game Nutrition

What an athlete eats after a sports game is just as important as what they eat before a game. Make sure your athlete properly refuels within an hour of competition. Again, carbs are a priority here to restore glycogen in the muscles and begin the muscle recovery process. With that in mind, the same high-glycemic carbs are best post game as well. Pairing a banana with a protein shake is a quick and easy staple to fall back on.


You don’t need to complicate things when planning what to eat before a sports game for kids. Follow these guidelines above to help your athletes perform at their peak in every game.

8 Healthy Snacks for Athletes on the Go

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Youth athletes are busier than ever. As a parent of a young athlete, so are you. From after school practices and games, to weekend tournaments and specialized sports performance training, you might find it difficult (or near impossible) to always have prepared healthy snacks for athletes, but nutritious foods to fuel their busy lifestyle are crucial to performance and adolescent growth.

When planning healthy snacks for your young athlete, some things to keep in mind are:

  • Keep it simple. Be sure the snacks are quality food with limited artificial ingredients and other pollution.
  • 40/40/20. As a general rule, think 40% protein, 40% carbs and 20% fat. This protein/carb/fat ratio will keep your athlete full and energized.

The following ideas are great healthy snacks for athletes on the go.

Protein Shake with Banana & Peanut Butter

Supercharge your athlete’s typical fruit smoothie with a scoop of chocolate protein – a delicious option that any young athlete is sure to love.

Protein Shake and PB&J Sandwich

The perfect pre- or post-game option. This healthy snack will fuel your athlete with fast-digesting carbs for quick energy and recovery.

Protein Bar

One of the simplest healthy snacks for athletes is a protein bar. Nowadays, you can find protein bars in every grocery and convenience store. Some brands we would suggest are Quest, One Bar and Think Thin. Be sure to read the ingredient label for high sugar content or high calorie. Choose something that has a fat count less than 10g, 20-30g carbs and 20-30g protein.

Hummus with Veggies & Pretzels

Sabra Hummus To Go packs with pretzels are a great snack for your athlete. Pair those with some veggies such as snap peas or broccoli for added micronutrients.

Greek Yogurt & Fruit

If you have that option of packing something that needs to keep cool, greek yogurt and fruit is another great option. Greek yogurt is higher in protein content than regular yogurt and contains important probiotic cultures for gut health.

Rice Crisps & Protein Shake

Want healthy snacks for athletes that are picky eaters? Quaker Rice Crips paired with a protein shake is a simple and flavorful option to satisfy even the pickiest eaters.

Trail Mix

Trail mix is a tried and true on-the-go option for athletes. When purchasing, try to stick with mixes that have all-natural ingredients with little to no added sugar. While your athlete may want the trail mix with M&Ms (we can’t blame them), see if you can persuade them to try the mixes with raisins and yogurt instead.

Apple & Peanut Butter with Protein Shake

Another healthy staple is apples and peanut butter. Supercharge this healthy snack with a protein shake.


Packing healthy snacks for athletes on the go doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Find a few options that your athlete loves and be sure to always have them on hand for those particularly busy days.