Eating After the Workout - Is the Clock Running!?
We receive a couple common questions here at TrAk and one that pops up the most is what
should someone eat right after a workout, is there a specific time limit that they HAVE to eat
between, and if they don’t eat within this limit, is their workout pointless... The conversation
starts something like this:
“So… I read an article that said everything I did at the gym is basically wasted if I don’t eat
protein within the next 30 mins, is that true?”.
Our long answer;
Yes, you should get some protein and carbs back in your system; BUT don’t feel the pressure of
30 mins. The average person has about 2 hours to get that into your system to take the most
advantage of your workout. The 30 min “anabolic window” or “muscle building window” is
something you see more commonly in body builders. So, our next question back will be… Do
you want to be a body builder? – If so, then trying your best to eat right after your workout
might be ideal. For active parents who are trying to balance careers, relationships, kiddos, want
to move and feel like their best selves… The 30 minutes window is not necessary.
There is information OVERLOAD all over the internet and articles that aren’t clear about who
specifically they are writing to. Everything is based on the individual and their personal goal. We
say it all the time, if you want to look like a football player, you have to eat like a football
player… If not, don’t. These articles discussing the 30-minute window, is meant for a body
builder whose goal is to get as big as possible to lift as much as possible. Not the everyday
The extra stress (on top of everything else in life) of needing to eat within 30 minutes or your
workout was wasted, can lead to a snowball effect and can make you speed up and make rash
decisions after leaving the gym. You run out of the gym worried about getting to work, getting
the kiddos ready, or evening plans… You go and grab a “protein packed” smoothie. Little do you
know; this protein packed smoothie is 810 calories (Robeks). Now, with the rushed smoothie
just to get protein and carbs back into your system, you have already eaten more than half of
your calories for the entire day.
Rushed choices all are less than ideal because you “needed to” get that protein in. When the
truth is you have the time and should take it. It can be as simple as going home and taking a 15-
minute shower and cooking some lean protein and nutrient dense carbs.
If you are more pressed for time because you work out in the morning and head straight to
work, pack ahead or drink a protein shake, (yes with just water… I promise you will survive the
taste just like you with cough medicine as a kid) and a piece of toast or a bagel, to get through
to the next meal.
Long story short… The window is not necessary for the everyday person. Don’t think too much
and don’t get discouraged thinking you completely wasted your workout if you didn’t eat within
a certain amount of time.