This article from bodybuilding.com sums up conventional wisdom for PWO meal.
1. Higher carb meal better because higher insulin will drive nutrients into cells and re-filling glycogen.
2. Also include protein to help re-build muscles.
3. Low fat because fat slows digestion. The faster the digestion, the better the recovery.
4. Because, and this is key point from this perspective, "after exercise, the muscles are depleted and require an abundance of protein and carbohydrate. In addition, during this time, the muscles are biochemically primed for nutrient uptake. This phenomenon is commonly known as the window of opportunity. Over the course of the recovery period, this window gradually closes and by failing to eat immediately after exercise, you diminish your chances of promoting full recovery."
This is really the gist of the matter. If you accept this assumption, then yes it would make sense to have something like whey protein and banana (easy to digest high protein/carb no fat meal) as soon as possible after workout; or if more strictly primal (no dairy/no processed) something like chicken breast/tuna and squash/tuber with no added fat.
However, from an evolutionary/paleo perspective I am wondering about this. Is it really true that eating a regular meal 4-5 hours later the muscle cells won't recover as well as eating just 30 minutes after exercise? Do the cells not recognize that they are in need of repair and so don't make use of the protein as well as they would if getting nutrients earlier?
Also, is faster necessarily better? Is this more anti-fat propaganda in disguise? What about slow and steady digestion of protein, made possible by additional of fat in the meal? Is the fast protein hit of a whey/banana shake superior to the slow yet steadier and therefore longer duration supply of nutrients from a steak, eggs and potato meal? Does this make any difference, calories being equal? Also, if most of the muscle recovery takes place through sleep and over the next 24-48 hours, why does the immediate 1-3 hours matter?
asked byTigerJ (783)
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on January 21, 2011
at 06:57 PM
Glycogen-depleted states are actually highly anabolic with increased insulin sensitivity for over 48 hours post workout. Carb-fed post-workout leads to a normal insulin sensitivity within 3 hours. Carbs or protein blunt the 30-minute spike of growth hormone post workout.
So, I personally take some protein (~25 g) in water pre/mid workout if I haven't had protein in the previous couple hours. Then I try to have a nice big low-carb meal within 45 minutes post-workout. For high-intensity workouts like lifting, it is important to replenish some glycogen with carbs at some point before your next workout, so I try to do that the night before, or morning of if I plan to work out in the evening.
Some cites: Allberg-Henriksson, H., S. H. Constable, D. A. Young, and J. 0. Holloszy, Glucose Transport Into Rat Skeletal Muscle: Interaction Between Exercise And Insulin, J. Appz. Physiol. 65: 909- 913,1988. Cartee Gregory D. et al., Prolonged increase in insulin-stimulated glucose transport in muscle after exercise, Am. J. Physiol. 256 (Endocrinol. Metab. 19): E494-E499, 1989
on January 21, 2011
at 04:28 PM
Part of it depends on your goals. If you want to gain mass, it would make more sense to get lots of protein and carbs down the piehole. If you want to lean out, it would make sense to train fasted and ride that wave for a brief amount of time afterwards. You should also eat WHOLE FOOD if possible when trying to lean out. Shakes (remember, anything blended is processed) is not a great option for leaning out. If you want carbs, try yams/sweet potato/fruit along with your protein, which should come from an animal source. And you should have to chew it (remember, kids, chewing has some neurological effects which influence satiety and digestion).
It also depends on what type of training you are up to. If you're doing intense, brief exercise (say two rounds of Tabatas), you are most likely not depleting your glycogen stores, so you wouldn't have to take a huge megadose of carbs post-workout along with your protein. Unfortunately, there is no one-size-fits-all approach in regards to PWO nutrition, although the aforementioned rules (which are all from the Robb Wolf playbook as I understand them) seem to make sense.
As far as the fat goes, I have also asked that question and never gotten a great answer. Again, I think it depends on what your goals are. If you are trying to gain mass, you want your PWO meal to push a lot of protein and carbs into the system, so adding fat (thus slowing digestion) may be counter-productive. However, if you are trying to lean out, some fat would slow digestion and decrease your insulin response and mitigate some of the satiety issues some people face after training. Any other ideas???
on January 21, 2011
at 04:09 PM
I work out in a fasted state and then remain fasted for at least 90 minutes after working out. I believe the science supports this regimen.
J Appl Physiol (December 31, 2009). doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.01106.2009
Energy deficit after exercise augments lipid mobilization but does not contribute to the exercise-induced increase in insulin sensitivity
Sean Alec Newsom1, Simon Schenk2, Kristin Marie Thomas1, Matthew P. Harber3, Nicolas D. Knuth1, Naila Goldenberg1, and Jeffrey F. Horowitz1*
The content of meals consumed after exercise can impact metabolic responses for hours and even days after the exercise session.
The purpose of this study was to compare the effect of low dietary carbohydrate (CHO) vs. low energy intake in meals after exercise on insulin sensitivity and lipid metabolism the next day. Nine healthy men participated in 4 randomized trials. During the control trial (CON) subjects remained sedentary. During the other 3 trials, subjects exercised (65%VO2peak; cycle ergometer and treadmill exercise) until they expended ~800 kcal.
Dietary intake during CON and one exercise trial (BAL) was designed to provide sufficient energy and carbohydrate to maintain nutrient balance. In contrast, the diets after the other 2 exercise trials were low in either CHO (LOW-CHO) or energy (LOW-EN). The morning after exercise we obtained a muscle biopsy, assessed insulin sensitivity (Si; IVGTT) and measured lipid kinetics (isotope tracers). Although subjects were in energy balance during bothLOW-CHO and CON, the lower muscle glycogen concentration during LOW-CHO vs. CON (402??29 vs. 540??33 mmol/kg dw, P<0.01) coincided with a significant increase in Si (5.2??0.7 vs. 3.8??0.7 (mU/L)-1.min-1; P<0.05). Conversely, despite ingesting several hundred fewer kcals after exercise during LOW-EN compared with BAL, this energy deficit did not affect Si the next day (4.9??0.9, and 5.0??0.8 (mU/L)-1.min-1).
Maintaining an energy deficit after exercise had the most potent effect on lipid metabolism, as measured by a higher plasma triacylglycerolconcentration, and increased plasma fatty acid mobilization and oxidation compared with when in nutrient balance. Carbohydrate deficit after exercise, but not energy deficit, contributed to the insulin sensitizing effects of acute aerobic exercise. Whereas maintaining an energy deficit after exercise augmented lipid mobilization.
And then you have the LeanGains approach to it as seen here: http://www.leangains.com/2010/05/fasted-training-boosts-endurance-and.html
on July 13, 2016
at 09:40 AM
As your post workout feeding should be designed to promote the most rapid delivery of carbohydrates and protein to your depleted muscles, fats should be avoided during this time. Finally, another important factor to consider is the timing of this meal.