In lieu of our recent surveying, we journey, once again, back to our Paleo f(x) gleanings. This week we address the age-old question about strategies concerning post-workout nutrition. If you’ve perused any fitness magazines, you’re sure to have been bombarded with volumes of ‘thought’ on the subject. Skip breakfast. Eat this. Do that. Dissenting opinions flow copiously ad nauseam. And, as many situations crassly display, misinformation often reigns king. Lucky for us, Dr. Andy Galpin provided – your favorite and mine – relevant points of scientifically supported advice. To grossly summate his resume, Dr. Galpin is a professor at Cal State Fullerton, physiologist, former Nationally competitive Weightlifter and a member of the Barbell Shrugged team. He also trains a number of UFC athletes. Most interesting of all, he was a part of the first team to render a singular muscular fiber in glorious 3D. Geeks, celebrate with me!Before delving into the science-y stuff, it’s important to define what we’re discussing. Theoretically, the ‘post-exercise anabolic window’ is the notion that one has a diminishing period of time [following exercise] to consume X amount of protein, carbs, etc. Again, in theory, only during this window, can one capitalize upon or cannibalize, for lack of better term, their freshly completed work. Surely, most of you are familiar with ill-concieved [from my vantage] buzz words like, ‘gainz’, ’shredicated’, and the sort. These ideas, in general, have sparked a behavioral revolution in a number of gym-goers…guzzling their pre-workout energy drinks. Then, chasing their training with post-workout shakes. Sound familiar? But, is it all for nothing?
Does the anabolic window exist?
Conditionally, yes. And, according to Andy, conditionally – no. What?! Can such a calorie conundrum exist? Like almost everything, the truth lies in the degree of our application. As it turns out, the nutritional strategies we follow more adversely dictate the importance of feeding post-workout. Dr. Galpin, in a simplistic manner, boiled his research down into two truths. If training while fasted, the anabolic window should be managed with a serious sense of urgency. Contrastingly, if training occurs during a fed state, the window should be viewed with much less concern. Even more interesting, from my perspective, were his conclusions about the particulars of post-workout nutrition. He says, ‘the sooner you ingest carbohydrates, the better…and ingesting protein won’t hurt either.’ Yep, the name of the physique-progressing game is spelled with a CHO (carbohydrate).
Do I really care?
Let’s hope so. Remember, ‘shredicated gainz’? Whether we admit it or not, hypertrophy – the increase of lean, muscular tissue – is a prevailing theme. Want real strength increases? Hypertrophy. Looking for a leaner overall physique? Hypertrophy, too! After a healthier composition and general well-being? Hypertrophy to the rescue. As a general rule for our experimental purposes, exercise – strength AND conditioning – remains the control (see: constant). It’s the nutritional tweaking that elicits a coveted result.
Okay. So, how much is enough?
Dr. Galpin offered a few standards from which to begin our experimentations. In general, he doesn’t recommend fasted training simply because our ability to produce, and reproduce, high-level performance is [generally-speaking] tied to the amount of glycogen available for use. When fasted, those stores are considerably lower. And, unless we’re ketogenic (a disputable topic for a wholly different post), are better suited leaning (pun, intended) on carbohydrates for energy. His macronutrient recommendations for pre/intra/post-training are as follows (note: these parameters apply to those pursuing most every fitness-related goal):
- Everyone should consume .5 – 1.5g per kilogram of bodyweight in carbohydrates
- fruit is not a favorable source due to the type of sugar it contains (fructose is slowly metabolized by our liver)
- glucose is the preferred carbohydrate and there are countless options – yams, rice, potatoes, honey, etc…anyone seen my post workout rice bowls lately? He suggested 3Fuel(if there’s enoug h interest, we will look into carrying this stuff).
- Drinking vs chewing seems to be preferred method of consumption – it’s simply more simple
- Everyone should consume .4 – .75g per kilogram of bodyweight in protein (whey protein preferred)
- Everyone should drink 1-2 liters of water
- Those seeking weight loss should maintain the same habits, but err towards the lower suggested ranges
- focus feeding around training times and slightly lower calories during other parts of the day
And there you have it. A a rubric, a template, a place from which to begin you nutritional tinkering. How simple…protein, carbs and water (fat is essential at all other meals). Remember, these are numbers to be consumed before, during and after your training – NOT, to be confused with cumulative, daily requirements. In the future, we’ll dig even deeper. For now, let’s all take the time to digest Dr. Galpin’s well prepared advice.