The preferred type of post-workout nutrition is in liquid form since liquids are more easily absorbed than whole foods. The quicker the nutrients are absorbed post-workout, the better. In regards to quicker absorption rates, you may also want to go with whey protein since this a faster digesting protein than other proteins. Again, the sooner the better in regards to post-workout nutrition.
The most important time of the day to get your nutrition right may be during the post-workout period. Let’s think about it. You’ve just put yourself through a fairly intense workout. Energy stores are down. Cortisol levels are up. Protein breakdown is occurring. To counter these side effects from your workout you want to provide yourself with some nutrition that will: bring cortisol levels down, bring insulin levels up, increase protein synthesis, replace depleted energy stores, enhance recovery and preserve lean muscles mass. All of this can be accomplished through a post-workout shake consisting of protein and carbohydrates. Yes, I said carbohydrates. This is the time of the day where you may be the most insulin sensitive meaning that the carbs ingested are going to be directed to skeletal muscle tissue.
Another benefit to a potsworkout shake is that it can bring up your daily overall protein intake for those who are having a difficult time doing so. Remember, a healthy, active individual should be aiming for around 0.8-1.0g of protein per pound of bodyweight.