Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?Have you heard of whey protein anabolic window anabolic window? Bro-science traditionally estimates it lasts somewhere between thirty minutes and two hours after your workout. A recent study from the Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition examined this phenomenon. Researchers reviewed 23 previous studies on protein intake and timing. What they found may wihdow you.
Is the Anabolic Window a Myth? | Breaking Muscle
This might as well be carved in stone at the exit of every gym in the world. The race to gulp down a protein shake within one hour of training is a worldwide phenomenon. Have you ever questioned whether it makes a real difference in your strength and size? The concept of nutrient timing has been around for ages, but it was largely popularized in by Dr. The book cited numerous studies showing that, by consuming the correct quantities of protein and carbohydrate immediately post-workout, an athlete could significantly improve strength, size, performance, and recovery.
The studies also showed that delaying nutrient intake could have adverse effects. The problem that we run into with nutrient timing research is that much of it is done using endurance athletes performing power tests on recumbent bikes. Functional fitness athletes move large loads, fast. So it is important to only consider research that looks at nutrient timing for study participants who are following a resistance training protocol.
The other issue with much of the research that looks at the effects of nutrient timing is that it looks only at the short-term effects of the supplement protocol. Recently, more studies have been conducted that look at the effects of nutrient timing on study participants following a week periodized program, which is where we can draw the most practical insights.
Some studies have shown protein consumed immediately post-workout is more effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis and hypertrophy than delaying by even a few hours. The issue is that some of these studies are difficult to apply to an experienced strength athlete because:.
Studies have shown the availability of amino acids after resistance exercise has a greater effect on maximizing muscle protein synthesis than carbohydrates or placebo alone. This, however, does not mean that the amino acids have to be consumed immediately after exercise.
Due to digestion rates, a meal consumed hours before a training session can still provide the amino acids necessary to initiate post-workout muscle protein synthesis.
The consumption of whey protein, carbohydrates, or even a mixed meal after a workout has been shown to elevate insulin levels well above baseline. It is shown to decrease muscle protein breakdown by up to half! This is a very good reason to consume a protein shake and eat a meal post-workout.
Insulin levels would stay elevated after training even if you consumed the shake before or during your training session, giving you enough time to get home and eat a whole food meal. Some studies show amino acids and carbohydrate consumed prior to exercise do a better job of inducing an anabolic response in muscle than the same supplement consumed after exercise. One study showed that 20g of whey protein delivered pre-workout increased amino acid uptake by the muscles during and up to 3 hours after the training session.
In a very recent, and beautifully designed study, Brad Schoenfeld and colleagues showed that supplementation of 25g of protein with 1g of carbohydrate before resistance training had the same effect on muscle thickness, body composition AND maximal strength.
The study was one of the first to look at whether the acute effects of nutrient timing were significant over the course of a week weight training cycle.
The study compared the effect of a roughly 34g carbohydrate, 32g whey protein, and 5. The group who consumed the supplement immediately before and after their workout gained significantly more lean mass and strength, while also losing body fat. As you have probably gathered, the jury is still out about whether or not consuming a shake within one hour AFTER training actually provides any real advantages when it comes to muscle strength, size, and performance.
Based on the research that is relevant to strength athletes, it is apparent that consuming protein and carbohydrates around your training session will lead to positive adaptations in the long run. If a protein shake immediately post-workout is already a part of your routine, there is no reason to stop. It is certainly not hurting you. One lesson you can take away from this research is not to neglect your pre-workout nutrition just because the post-workout window has been put on a pedestal.
There is plenty of evidence that sandwiching your workout with protein, carbohydrate, and even creatine is worth your while. Ivy, John, and Robert Portman. Basic Health Publications, Aragon, Alan, and Brad Schoenfeld. This article is an op-ed. Claims, assertions, opinions, and quotes have been sourced exclusively by the author. Thursday, April 19, Powerlifter Cailer Woolam Pulls a Strong Powerlifter Cyprian Thompson Jr. Squats kg lb for a PR…. The Untold History of the Back Squat.
Should You Keep a Training Journal? Their Pros and Cons. Protein delayed, No gains are made. The main goals of nutrient timing, are to: Decrease muscle protein breakdown.
Increase muscle protein synthesis. Replenish glycogen stored carbohydrate. Switch from catabolic to anabolic hormone mix usually via insulin. The Problem With Nutrient Timing Research The problem that we run into with nutrient timing research is that much of it is done using endurance athletes performing power tests on recumbent bikes. The issue is that some of these studies are difficult to apply to an experienced strength athlete because: The control group consumed less protein throughout the day than the experimental group.
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