Tuesday's Question: The Mythical Metabolic Window

21 February 2012, Comments 0

It’s another Tuesday and it’s questions time once again.Thank you very much to everyone who sent in their questions and I hope that I was able to answer them properly. Remember, if you have any questions you can reach me at cscallanta@gmail.com or tweet me at twitter.com/chappycallanta or at facebook at facebook.com/chappycallanta or facebook.com/360fitnessclub (just make sure to tag me if you do it over the 360 wall). My wife, Bituin, asked me some hard-hitting running questions also and you can find it in her blog here :)


“Is the ‘window’ for eating true? Can you eat a lot after exercising?”

This week, I wanted to focus on one question since it is commonly asked. It was most recently asked by Bituin’s officemate’s boyfriend, Carlo, over valentine’s dinner. The context of the question though may be different since his main activity has been jogging (with the goal of losing a little weight) and he was asking if the window really did exist even for joggers.

Some background on this window. There is a theory that states that there is a 30-45 minute window after exercise wherein your muscles are most receptive to nutrients. This is brought about by increased vasodilation (widening of blood vessels) of the working or worked muscles that is sustained after an exercise bout. This is why you will commonly see gym goers with a post-workout shake. This is commonly found in people who do resistance training but the window may also apply to runners. That’s also why you want to hydrate right after running or any activity, the fluid ideally goes straight to the blood stream and to the thirsty muscles. Of course this is when what  it is you exactly take becomes a bigger issue.

If the window really does exist, a big misconception is that you can eat anything within that window. In fact this is the time when you should be careful what your body absorbs for recovery and building purposes. The simple fact is that it is hard for the body to absorb whole foods quickly to take advantage of the window. This is the science and the reasoning behind sports drinks and protein shakes. A good shake will give you fast acting carbohydrates and protein that will go straight to the muscles so it can recover faster and begin the rebuilding phase of exercise (remember, when you work out or do any physical activity, you’re literally breaking down the body, that’s why recovery is very important).

The same applies if you want to lose weight. You want to recover faster so that you can workout again right?  Some dieters have the nasty habit of eating their cheat meals after every workout. This is counterproductive! It’s like emptying the tank of your car and replacing it with sludge rather than fuel. Not only will you get bigger, you’ll also feel sluggish and your progress will be slower.

So does the window really exist? Experts are in the middle when it comes to this phenomenon. Some studies suggest that there is no significant difference between eating right after a meal and eating up to 3 hours after. Yet, you will still see people taking their post-workout shakes. I, myself, am one of those people.

Some studies also recommend that you should take your fast-acting carbs and protein before your workout. This makes sense since the body does need the fuel to exercise. I say, have a pre and post workout shake if you’re serious about improving your conditioning. Just follow the proper nutritional guidelines.

If the window does exist, and that’s up to debate, and you plan to use it, use it wisely. As Ido Portal once said, “Why will I stuff my body with trash?


0 responses on “Tuesday’s Question: The Mythical Metabolic Window

  1. great insights here. gives me all the more reason to buy whey protein!

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