Scrap These 5 Post-Workout Nutrition Myths for a Healthier You
First, let’s put the spotlight on some of the words we used above: your body and overall health. A common problem for those who prioritize fitness is that you begin to focus too much on the muscles, or a particular muscle group, or perhaps a specific fat measurement – and you forget that all of them are individual parts of a integrated whole – the body.
Your body is more than just abs, glutes or flab. It’s a precious, amazing machine and it’s important that workout habits, as well as your pre- and post-workout diets are not solely geared to gain muscle mass. They should also support healthy bones, circulation, energy needs, holistic nutrition and so on.
Here are 5 common myths to reconsider for a healthier you:
- Eat for the anabolic window. Much emphasis is placed on that 30-minute to 2-hour window of post-exercise time called “the anabolic window.” Rumor has it that eating the right things during this time maximizes the effects of the workout. Actually, recent research tells us that protein binging during this period has very little effect on building lean muscle mass. Instead, eating an adequate amount of protein each day for up to six hours afterward your last rep is sufficient; your body will do the rest.
- Pair post-workout consumption with carbs. This myth encompasses the idea that your body needs both protein for muscle mass and carbs to restore depleted glycogen levels. If you workout once or even twice a day, and you consume an adequate amount of protein afterwards (about 20g-25g) there is no need to worry about glycogen stores. Your protein will do the trick. If you workout three or more times a day, adding carbs to the post-workout diet makes more sense.
- Raw protein is best. WRONG. Unlike some other nutrients, which can be cooked out of food, protein doesn’t “cook out” of meat. This myth was started in regards to the denaturing of protein powders via cooking – and it’s false there too. Your body derives the same amount of protein from foods whether or not the product is cooked, minus the risk of food poisoning (which is a serious risk).
- Body type & gender determine the amount of carbs required after a workout. This isn’t the case at all. In fact, consuming too many carbs spikes blood sugar levels, which taxes your pancreas, putting you at risk for Type 2 diabetes. Post-workout nutrition needs depend more on quantity and intensity of workouts, rather than body type or gender.
- Eating carbs at night makes you fat. It makes logical sense that eating carbs at night, and then going to sleep, means increased fat-gain due to lower metabolic rates. Actually, daytime resting metabolic rates aren’t very different from sleeping metabolic rates, and a recent study showed that individuals who consumed carbs later in the evening actually lost more weight than those who limited carbs to daytime consumption.
Always make sure to diligently research and vet any post-workout nutrition “rule” that comes your way. Don’t risk compromising physical well-being for the sake of nutritional mythology.