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Best Post-Workout Shake For Maximum Muscle Gain

Best Post-Workout Shake For Maximum Muscle Gain
Jennifer Blow
Writer and expert6 years ago
View Jennifer Blow's profile

Add these ingredients to your post-workout shake to get the most out of your workouts.

To get the most out of your workouts, you need to properly fuel your body, and that means having the right post-workout nutrition, especially in your post-workout shake. Most people think all they need is protein powder after their workout, but there are lots of other supplements to take advantage of to power through your workouts, reduce your recovery time and maximise your gains.

Scroll to find out the best ingredients to put in your post-workout shake.

Click to jump straight to the nutritionals.


Your body requires specific nutrients after a workout for optimum muscle growth, like protein, high GI carbohydrates and specific amino acids. Click on each ingredient to find out why you should take them your post-workout shake:

What is it?

Maltodextrin is a high glycaemic index (GI) carbohydrate, usually in powder form to add to your shakes.

What does it do?

It's used to aid muscle recovery and replete muscle glycogen stores by athletes and those looking to pack on some muscle. The best time to consume high GI carbohydrates like maltodextrin is directly after your workout in a post-workout shake.

What is it?

L-Leucine is an essential amino acid, which means it can’t be made by the human body and therefore must be consumed through the diet or from dietary supplements. It’s a branched-chain amino acid (BCAA) which, along with isoleucine and valine, makes up more than a third of muscle protein.

What does it do?

Leucine is the most investigated BCAA due to its important role in protein metabolism, exercise recovery, glucose homeostasis and insulin action1. For more than 35 years, research has shown that leucine reduces muscle breakdown1, and is believed to be most effective at supplementation of 15g or more per day.

What is it?

HMB, or Beta-Hydroxy Beta-Methylbutyrate, is a metabolite of the branched-chain amino acid leucine.

What does it do?

Research has shown that HMB may be an effective performance aid for athletes and those engaging in regular exercise, by reducing delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) and muscle damage, while increasing lean body mass, strength, peak onset of blood lactate accumulation and VO2 max1.

What is it?

Protein consumption is crucial for anyone looking to increase muscle mass, as it's necessary to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (i.e. growth). Whey protein is a fast-absorbing milk-based protein – ideal for directly after a workout.

What does it do?

Research shows protein supplementation is important in increasing gains in fat-free mass and strength with resistance training2. It's recommended to consume approximately 1.6g protein (including from dietary sources) per kg of bodyweight per day.

Bananas are another high GI carbohydrate used to aid muscle recovery and replete muscle glycogen stores after a workout. They're also packed with potassium – an electrolyte which is proposed to reduce delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS)3.

  • 200ml skimmed milk or water


1. Simply place all ingredients in a blender and process until smooth.

2. Consume within 1 hour of your workout for maximum benefits.

Enjoy this post-workout shake recipe? Check out more fitness recipes and articles.

  1. Wilson, G. J., Wilson, J. M., & Manninen, A. H. (2008). Effects of beta-hydroxy-beta-methylbutyrate (HMB) on exercise performance and body composition across varying levels of age, sex, and training experience: A review. Nutrition & Metabolism, 5(1), 1.
  2. Morton, R. W., Murphy, K. T., McKellar, S. R., Schoenfeld, B. J., Henselmans, M., Helms, E., ... & Phillips, S. M. (2018). A systematic review, meta-analysis and meta-regression of the effect of protein supplementation on resistance training-induced gains in muscle mass and strength in healthy adults. Br J Sports Med, bjsports-2017.
  3. Connolly, D. A., Sayers, S. E., & McHugh, M. P. (2003). Treatment and prevention of delayed onset muscle soreness. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research17(1), 197-208.


Nutritional info per serving:

Total Fat1g
Total Carbohydrates71g
Jennifer Blow
Writer and expert
View Jennifer Blow's profile

Jennifer Blow is our UKVRN Registered Associate Nutritionist – the UK’s register of competent and qualified nutrition professionals. She has a Bachelor’s of Science in Nutritional Science and a Master’s of Science by Research in Nutrition, and now specialises in the use of sports supplements for health and fitness, underpinned by evidence-based research.

Jennifer has been quoted or mentioned as a nutritionist in major online publications including Vogue, Elle, and Grazia, for her expertise in nutritional science for exercise and healthy living.

Her experience spans from working with the NHS on dietary intervention trials, to specific scientific research into omega-3 fatty acid supplementation and also the effect of fast foods on health, which she has presented at the annual Nutrition Society Conference. Jennifer is involved in many continuing professional development events to ensure her practise remains at the highest level. Find out more about Jennifer’s experience here.

In her spare time, Jennifer loves hill walking and cycling, and in her posts you’ll see that she loves proving healthy eating doesn’t mean a lifetime of hunger.