The Anabolic Window?
I'm sure you've heard about the "anabolic window" very often. And in case you haven't... The "anabolic window", according to your everyday gym bro, is the concept of a confined window of opportunity immediately post workout in which you MUST consume a protein shake. This window of opportunity is said to be restricted to within 30 minutes after training.
This is a very convenient myth for supplement companies, since its essentially the main factor that drives the sales of protein supplements. Because you are so restricted to a small time frame immediately after training, that you wont have time to cook a solid meal and get that protein in before the 30 minutes are up. But, conveniently, protein supplements exist. And its why you'll see the bros at the gym always carrying around a shaker cup and chugging down protein after their 20 sets of biceps curls. They don't want to lose that window of opportunity!
But what does the science really say about the anabolic window?
“It has been hypothesized that protein ingestion in the immediate post-exercise period is the most critical nutrient timing strategy for stimulating MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis), and on a chronic basis, optimizing muscular adaptations. In the face of this common presumption, the comparison of protein timed immediately pre- versus post-exercise has both theoretical and practical importance due to individual variations in the availability and/or convenience of protein dosing relative to training. In the present study, the presence of a narrow “anabolic window of opportunity” was not demonstrated as reflected buy the fact that PRE-SUPP group showed similar changes in body composition and strength to those who consumed protein immediately post-exercise. Across the range of measures, there were no meaningful results consistently attributable to pre- versus post-exercise protein ingestion. The implications of these findings are that the trainee is free to choose, based on individual factors (i.e., preference, tolerance, convenience, and availability), whether to consume protein immediately pre- or post-exercise.”
Pre- versus post-exercise protein intake has similar effects on muscular adaptations Brad Jon Schoenfeld 1, Alan Aragon2, Colin Wilborn3, Stacie L. Urbina3, Sara E. Hayward3, James Krieger4
Published January 3, 2017 PubMed 28070459