Myth 5 You must consume protein immediately after a workout
Forget to consume 30 grams of protein immediately following your last set of curls? Well, you can say goodbye to your gains! It sounds like a joke, but I can’t even begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard that thought expressed in the gym.
The so-called “anabolic window” is a period of time after your training when your body is most primed to accept nutrients—specifically carbs and protein—and deliver them to your muscles to help with repair and recovery. While it was once thought this window was only open for 30-60 minutes post-workout, we now know that it exists for a much longer period of time. In fact, it extends several hours after you finish your training session.
When it comes to packing on muscle mass, it appears protein timing isn’t as important as once thought. What seems to be more crucial is the amount of protein you’re consuming throughout the day. Regular doses of around 30 grams of protein are usually sufficient to support the growth and recovery of your muscles. Although post-workout nutrition is important—it’s a great time to maximize muscle growth when protein synthesis is at its highest—your focus should be on the bigger daily picture, not just 30 minutes post-workout.
“Nutrient timing has evolved to be inclusive of the total 24-hour day and respecting timely, adequate protein—which would include the post-workout period,” says Wildman. “Clearly, the hours immediately following a workout represent a time when MPS can be increased the most; however, the same loyalty should be shown to protein throughout the day as well”
If timing your shake immediately post-workout helps you do it consistently, then do it! But there’s definitely no need to count the minutes.