There are two age-old questions that have plagued fitness enthusiasts since the dawn of time. Is it better to add carbs to my protein shake before, during, or after my workout to maximize their effect on recovery? And how many carbs should I take? Several studies have shown that taking carbs before AND right after your workout can decrease muscle damage and promote muscle growth.
A study published recently in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness, tells us that finding the perfect blend of carbs to protein may be easier than we thought.
In the study, 28 males were assigned to one of four groups. Three groups were given a supplement containing carbs and protein in differing ratios (2:1, 3:1, and 4:1) and the fourth group received a placebo with their protein shakes. Each group drank one shake before and every 15 minutes during a bout of full-body resistance training.
Although markers of muscle damage were elevated with training in all four groups, those who received carb-enriched protein shakes had far less exercise-induced muscle damage 24 hours after training.
Interestingly, in this study, there was no difference in varying the ratio of carbs to protein on muscle damage. Meaning: Drink both protein and carbs before, during, and after your workouts to improve recovery and adaptation.