Is the protein ‘anabolic window’ really that important?
You may have heard about the ‘anabolic window’ or the 2 hours post workout where you HAVE to get in your protein otherwise your workout is wasted….
Research suggests that protein intake immediately post exercise is not as important as once thought (Aragon and Schoenfed, 2013). The sensitivity of the muscle lasts for up to 24hrs (Currell, 2015) so providing you have an adequate amount of protein over the course of the day, it should not make much of a difference. It’s still safe to assume though that to support growth and recovery you should consume protein when you can after training, but don’t feel the need to run to the changing room to grab your shake immediately after your workout!
But before worrying about this, remember your overall intake and types of food massively outweighs the importance of meal frequency. So finding a plan to suit your schedule is going to be more important. Once you begin to find some traction with your diet then you should consider increasing protein feedings.
What you need to focus on first
Eat the right amount of food - your total kcals
Eat the right types of food - your balance of carbohydrates, fats and protein (for more help with this then check out our macro workbook here).
Only then start worrying about timing :)
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Aragon, A. and Schoenfeld, B. (2013). Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), p.5.
Currell, K. (2016). Performance Nutrition. 1st ed. Crowood.