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BLOG: Post-Workout Nutrition
OCTOBER 24, 2019 BY HAYDEN LETTS LEAVE A COMMENT(EDIT)
If you have ever been to a gym, then you’ve more than likely heard someone mention the “anabolic window” or say something along the lines of, “you have to drink your protein shake as soon as you finish your training session.”
But what exactly is the anabolic window, and why is it important?
The anabolic window refers to the 30 minutes that immediately follows your training session. The widely-discussed theory behind the anabolic window is the sooner you consume protein after your workout, the quicker you will build muscle tissue. The big question is whether or not there is any scientific research to validate this theory.
Following physical activity, a variety of hormones are elevated to help the body adapt to the stress it has undergone. Depending on the type of physical activity performed, these hormones could include testosterone, human growth hormone, and IGF-1. These are some of the main hormones involved in tissue growth and repair.
Multiple studies show that these hormones are at their highest elevations for 15-30 minutes after training. This supports the idea that consuming your protein shake immediately after your training session is more beneficial than waiting until later in the day.
So, what should you consume post-workout?
Everyone knows that protein is important following a training session, but carbohydrates are just as important for recovery and growth.
Protein is required for new muscle tissue growth. The amino acids that make up a single protein molecule are the building blocks for all muscle tissue. Carbohydrate consumption after training is responsible for replenishing muscle glycogen, which is the fuel your muscles use for exercise. Carbohydrates can also stimulate some of those anabolic hormones that are responsible for tissue growth, thus increasing one’s potential for recovery and muscle-building after a training session.
Research shows that consuming protein or protein and carbohydrates together, immediately after training, has a significant increase on muscle mass compared to consuming these nutrients 1-2 hours after training.
General recommendations for protein and carbohydrate consumption following training are 25-30 grams of protein and 30-100 grams of carbohydrates. This of course can vary depending on the type of physical activity performed.
Although it is generally dispelled as “bro science”, the anabolic window is in fact a scientifically-backed theory that athletes should be taking advantage of if they are serious about maximizing their training and recovery.
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