The Top 10 Post Workout Nutrition Myths http://www.t-nation.com/readTopic.do?id=659666 4. Thereâ€™s a one-hour window of opportunity for protein synthesis following a workout.
You may be wondering: is this a myth because the real window is half an hour? Two or 3 hours? Maybe 6 hours? Sadly, in the past 2 weeks Iâ€™ve read different articles, all suggesting that the "window" is one of the above lengths of time.
Itâ€™s not surprising that with this type of inconsistency that this is probably the most pervasive myth in bodybuilding today! Worse yet, it stems directly from the scientific research itself. The most often cited research on the protein synthetic post workout window, used elderly subjects (Esmark et al., 2001) and cardio exercise findings (Levenhagen et al., 2001) to make their predictions. While this is a completely acceptable practice when these are the only data we have to go on, there are a couple noteworthy problems.
Elderly individuals digest and absorb protein differently than healthy adults. In fact, they digest and absorb whey protein in a similar manner as they do casein (Dangin et al., 2003); in other words they have slow digestion and absorption for whey. Elderly also benefit from having 80% of their daily protein consumed at a single sitting
(Arnal et al., 1999), in contrast to the benefits of our multiple feedings.
Additionally, the traditionally referenced Esmark et al. (2001), study showed that consuming the post workout meal just 2 hours after working out actually prevented
any improvements induced by the training! Figure that one out and you get a prize.
Secondly, with regards to cardioâ€¦well, letâ€™s just say that thereâ€™s an obvious difference between how our muscles respond to the two forms of exercise. Bear in mind that with regard to carbohydrate metabolism following a workout, there might not be much of a differenceâ€”we just donâ€™t know, but certainly the long-term protein metabolism differences can be seen.
So now what are we supposed to base our nutrition on? Enter the most underrated scientific paper in the last 5 years. Tipton and colleagues (2003) examined responsiveness of protein synthesis for a day after a workout, and found it to reflect a 24 hour enhanced level. Thatâ€™s right folks, a FULL DAY! This means that having a morning shake will have the same impact on muscle protein synthesis as one consumed following the workout!
These results shouldnâ€™t be too surprising because weâ€™ve known for over a decade that postworkout protein synthesis is jacked up for this long (MacDougall et al., 1995), but if youâ€™re discovering this for the first time, then itâ€™s pretty exciting!
Some research suggests that even 48 hours after the workout our protein synthesis levels can be elevated by ~33% (Phillips et al., 1997), giving us an even longer period during which we can maximize our muscle growth with protein drinks.
Strike one for the one hour post workout window.