Does Eating After Your Workout Improve Results
After an intense workout, all that most of us can think about is eating some food. Some of us even start to become worried when we haven’t consumed a protein shake within 30 minutes of finishing.
Hell, I used to be one of those people, immediately coming home from the gym and straightaway mixing up a protein shake, worried that I would waste away if didn’t get one in time. But is this the case, does eating post-workout really matter or affect your results?
The one-hour eating window
Most bodybuilders understand the importance of eating post-workout if they want to maximise muscle gains. Consuming a healthy dose of protein and carbohydrates within 1 hour of your workout is a must. This is commonly thought when wanting your muscles to grow.
But…. is this true?
Does this 1-hour eating window actually exist or is it just something some guy in a gym came up with. Will you waste away and be weaker next time you go to the gym if you don’t eat during this window or is it all just Broscience?
Broscience or Actual Science
A lot of information on the internet now is tainted by personal preferences or promoting supplements. So how does the one hour window compare with real science?
ThIs feeding window is believed to come from the fact that post-workout your insulin levels spike. Insulin is a powerful hormone which helps the body to use glucose. With raised levels of insulin immediately after a workout, the body is primed to build new muscle.
Eating whilst insulin levels are high, the body will maximise the uptake of these nutrients for beneficial purposes such as building muscle, restoring energy stores and prevent muscle loss.
Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your perspective, this isn’t, in fact, bro science but is actual fact. Numerous studies have shown that consuming 20g of protein within 2 hours of a workout will indeed increase muscle growth. [See here] Studies also showed that there were strength increases as well, most likely owing to the additional muscle mass.
So The Window Does Exist?
Some studies have shown that the post-workout window does seem to exist. However, there are multiple problems with the studies themselves. I won’t go into depth about the actual problems as this doesn’t have anything to do with the actual window or science.
A few of the problems were the fact that more protein was being consumed by the test group opposed to the control group and we already know that protein aids in muscle growth. The Studies were also only performed on young or old subjects opposed to middle aged.
To top it all off there are several studies which in fact have found the opposite, proposing there is no “feeding window” and all that matters is consuming enough protein and calories.
What does this all mean then?
So after reading that I can understand that you could not really be sure whether you should or shouldn’t be eating post-workout. Well, the simple answer is: “It doesn’t matter!”
Having a post-workout meal or shake isn’t a bad thing, there are no drawbacks to getting a dose of protein after your workout. However, this doesn’t mean that your main drive immediately after the gym is to eat. I promise you won’t lose muscle if you wait a couple of hours before eating!
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