The focus for the next few weeks of posts will be on the importance of recovery after exercise. Each week we’ll explore another aspect of why it’s a very important part of exercising, how it’s important, what you should be doing and when you should be doing it. I welcome you to ask questions in the comments or contact us for more information. Enjoy!
A key component of maximizing your efforts in the gym is what you begin to do the moment your workout is complete. When the workout ends the recovery portion of your workout begins. The most important first step in this recovery phase is nutrition. The moment your done exercising the “window of opportunity” begins. This window is also known as the anabolic window. You may be familiar with the term anabolic and most likely associate it with steroids. However, the term anabolic is a process in the body that exists separately from steroids and should be viewed as such. Anabolism is the process of forming proteins from amino acids. Let’s discuss the goal of the anabolic window and the benefits of ingesting protein.
The Anabolic Window
The goal of the anabolic window is to increase the rate at which protein synthesis exceeds protein degradation, or catabolism. If you think of this scenario as the balance of positive and negative, the positive or anabolic state must be greater than the negative or catabolic state for muscle growth.
The importance of immediately eating during this window is that the expedient ingestion of nutrients after the cessation of exercise is required to help ensure the transition of net muscle protein balance from negative to positive (1).
How does eating protein post workout work? Following consumption, proteins are digested into their constituent amino acids, which provide the building blocks of skeletal muscle (2).
It can be simply stated as, “Just remain positive.”
Benefits of Nutrient Ingestion
There is a whole host of benefits for eating protein after a workout. Most of these benefits are a results of performing appropriate resistance training followed by eating appropriately during your anabolic window of opportunity.
1) Improved muscle adaptations – These include the increase of muscle size, changes in muscle fiber size and type and structural and architectural changes at the cellular level (3).
2) Improved performance – Increases in strength, power and endurance.
3) Improved Function – Enhanced neuromuscular signals (3).
4) Improved Recovery – The body is left in an anabolic muscle building state instead of a muscle degrading catabolic state.
5) Increased muscle mass -The preservation of or increase in lean mass is important for older adults who risk obesity or age onset sarcopenia and other age-related diseases (1).
So remember, when your done your workout you are really just beginning. The first step in your recovery should always be to eat a healthy, balance and nutritious meal. You need to recover with the same intensity as your workout.
The next blog post in this series will focus on the different types of protein, recommended amounts and more current research.
1) Dudgeon, W.D. et al. (2007). EFFECT OF WHEY PROTEIN IN CONJUNCTION WITH A CALORIC-RESTRICTED DIET AND RESISTANCE TRAINING. Journal of Strength & Conditioning. 31:5, 1353-1361.
2) Sharp, M.H. et al. (2017). The Effects of Beef, Chicken, or Whey Protein Post-Workout on Body Composition and Muscle Performance . Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research. Published Ahead of Print.
3) Baechle, T.R. & Earle, R.W. “Essentials of Strength Training & Conditioning: Third Edition.” Champaign: Human Kinetics; Pp. 94-103.