FACT 0R MYTH:
This one has been around a long time.
The theory is that there is a so called “Anabolic Window” of about one hour after your workout where consuming a certain amount of protein maximizes your strength or muscle gains from your workout. Supposedly, it’s a period of time after your training session when your body is particularly primed to accept food and shuttle it towards lean mass- Protein being the primary nutrient necessary for muscle synthesis.
In other words, in the world of “Bro-science, if you don’t down a large protein shake within one hour your work out was wasted.
The Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition performed a meta-study of 23 previous studies on the subject found no support for the one hour “anabolic window”.
Total protein intake certainly mattered. It alone seemed to cause most of the differences in results. But this review indicates that if the anabolic window does exist for protein intake, it may persist as long as four to six hours after training. But it may last as long as 24 hours. And, like many things in fitness, “your results may vary.”
That being said, in my opinion there are other reasons to “refuel” within hours of your workout. Unless you happen to be following the “Half-Assery” workout other nutrients are going to be somewhat depleted. Glycogen (Carbs), mainly.
And consuming carbs immediately following your workout is definitely a good move.
Unless you refuel within a few hours of your workout your energy level is likely to drop, fatigue sets in, and you may generally feel like crap the rest of the day. If you will be having a regular meal with 1 to 4 hours you may be fine. If not, a little protein and slow digesting carbs couldn’t hurt.
The one hour anabolic window-MYTH