How long should l wait until l eat something after a workout?
The industry would have you believe the following:
You should eat anywhere from 30 – 40% of your total daily calorie allowance should be consumed pre and post working out.
You should eat 1-2 hours before your workout and eat a mix of protein and carbs
You must make sure you eat within 30 – 90mins after finishing your workout for the full benefit, again make sure it is a mix of protein and carbs
The long held reasons behind this are that:
· It replenishes glycogen stores in the body
· It allows for protein synthesis to happen
· It decreases protein breakdown
In other words:
· To refuel your body’s energy stores
· To encourage muscle repair and growth
· To prevent the breakdown of muscle and aid the increase in muscle size and/or quality
However, new research shows you do not need post workout nutrition unless you haven’t eaten before you workout.
A study published by Alan Aragon and Brad Schoenfeld shows that the post-workout meal is only truly important if a pre-workout meal had not eaten, but if a pre-workout meal had been eaten then the importance of the post-workout meal was largely diminished.
The study goes on to show that unless you are planning on training a second time later in the day (and therefore needed to restore glycogen stores more immediately) or had not eaten a pre-workout meal, then as long as daily caloric needs were met across the 24-hour day period there is no particular benefit gained from having a post-workout meal. (click to tweet this)
To sum up, a post-workout meal isn’t bad for you and there is certainly no harm in having one so don’t abandoning it completely just yet. This is especially true if you are training multiple times a day or did not have any pre-workout nutrition. In these circumstances the post-workout meal is actually very important for you.
Personally, in my experience even if you do eat before you train most people are hungry after an intense training session, so why not keep the post workout meal for the time being.
If you decide not to eat a post-workout meal then remember to meet your daily calories needs in full and you’ll be good to go.
Ultimately, when it comes to muscle gain or fat loss meal/nutrient timing is nowhere near as important as total calorie intake, correct macronutrient ratios and progressive training. That should be your focus, don’t sweat the small stuff.
I hope this helps.