How To Properly Recover After Your Post-Workout Meal (According To Science)

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There's nothing better than coming home from the gym after a long, torturous workout. You grab your post-workout protein, plop down on the couch, and take pride in another day that you've escaped the Dad Bod most of your college buddies are rocking. We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but if that's your post-workout routine, like it is for so many of us, it's got some major, borderline dangerous flaws.

Health and fitness is an ever-changing field. A popular diet and exercise trend this week may turn out to cause cancer next week! We hate to be grim, but it's the truth. The information that can't be denied however, is the advice coming straight from science. Empirical data is really the only system of research that's reliable — for the most part, anyway.

That being said, Dutch researchers recently conducted a study to see what can reduce the amount of essential amino acids available to muscle tissue in the "anabolic window" following a post-workout protein fuel.

For those of you unaware, the anabolic window is defined in Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition as:

"The metabolic window is a term used in strength training to describe the 30-minute (give or take, dependent on the individual) period after exercise during which nutrition can shift the body from a catabolic state to an anabolic one. Specifically, it is during this period that the intake of protein and carbohydrates can aid in the increase of muscle mass."

In laymen's terms, what should you be doing after a workout to ensure all the of the physical hell you put yourself through is actually working? The study seems really complicated, but ultimately the result is pretty darn simple: Don't lay down after you consume your post-workout protein.

So, how did they land on that conclusion? According to BodyBuilding.Com:

"At the end of the study, the researchers concluded that the men who reclined after the meal had significantly lower concentrations of EEAs in their bloodstreams than the participants in upright positions. This is important to strength trainers because in that post-workout anabolic window, muscle's ability to repair and grow depends on how much of the right nutrients it receives."

To reiterate once more for good measure, do not recline following your post-workout protein. Do not pass go, do not collect 200 dollars. Remain upright until the anabolic window has closed — it's only 30 minutes-or-so, you'll live!

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