After you have been working out, your muscles need to recover. Recovery is the process of replenishing muscle glycogen. The more efficient you are at recovery, the harder you are able to work during your next session and as such, you will see better results. It is critical to feed your muscles with carbohydrates, as explained later.
Immediately after a workout, your muscles are most receptive to producing new glycogen in the first couple hours afterwards. Blood flow to muscle is increased, which makes muscles absorb glucose quickly.
Muscle cells are also incredibly sensitive to the effects of insulin during this time, which promotes glycogen synthesis. What does this all mean? This means that it is most efficient for you to take in carbohydrates immediately after your workout, along with protein (the building blocks of muscle). You can think of carbohydrates as the energy needed to put those blocks into place.
If you are attempting to put on muscle I recommend a consumption of 1 to 1.5 grams of carbohydrates per kilogram of bodyweight immediately after your workout. If you are attempting to lose fat, consume .5 to 1 gram per kilogram. You should try to have a meal or a shake with a 3-to-1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein as soon as possible.
For carbohydrates, I recommend using honey as it is a high-glycemic carbohydrate, easily absorbed by your muscles. Combined with protein powder in a shake, it is an effective post-workout recovery meal. Studies have shown that honey combined with a protein supplement may boost post-workout recovery and help prevent drops in blood sugar levels after exercise.
In fact, honey even out performs maltodextrin, another commonly used post-workout carbohydrate in shakes. If you are unable to eat a meal at this time, it is best to drink something like a sports drink containing glucose, sucrose, all high on the glycemic index. These drinks may contain fructose, which should be avoided if possible.
Be sure to continue taking in about 50 grams of carbohydrates every two to three hours afterwards. Remember that foods high on the glycemic index provide a fast, short burst of energy, while foods lower on it provide a longer, constant stream of energy.
It is important to consume a mixture of both of these types of food in order to maintain your blood sugar level. Foods high on the glycemic index may produce a fast, undesirable surge of blood sugar. Your body responds by producing too much insulin to remove the sugar, and your blood sugar level will drop. This will result in dizziness or general weakness.