The Protein Myth: Why THIS Isn’t The Problem It’s Made Out To Be!

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Timing. Most things in life come down to doing the right things at the right time, right? If you are a regular gym goer or exerciser then no doubt you’ve either taken a protein supplement, or know somebody that has. Protein supplements, particularly protein shakes, have become a staple in the fitness and health industry as a means of delivering high levels of readily absorbed amino acids (the building blocks of muscle) straight to your muscle. The amino acids present in the protein can then support muscle fibre regeneration, recovery and growth.

Now when I speak of the ‘protein myth’ in the title, I don’t mention this in a negative way, because the myth I’m referring to is actually quite a useful little prompt and rule of thumb to abide by. However, this myth has got to such a point that people become obsessive with it, and there really is no need to be! The myth that I speak of is taking your protein within 30mins of exercise, more commonly referred to as the anabolic window!

Yes I am calling the so called ‘anabolic window’ a myth, which may seem a little sweeping at first because in fairness to the term, there is some truth in getting protein into the body as soon after exercise as possible, but… there is a but.

The theory is as follows. The prompt consumption of liquid form protein immediately after exercise is what’s needed in order to stop muscle catabolism (breakdown) and invoke muscle anabolism (growth). Getting protein in after exercise is key to performance, recovery and development, that’s true, but the time frame that many stick to is frankly no longer true. The 30min window of opportunity is overly restrictive, in fact the most recent research from the likes of Professor Luc van Loon, (2013) suggests the muscles will still repair and recover so long as adequate protein is consumed within 24hours!

Granted, the 30min window is a good time frame to aim for, it certainly will do no harm, but DO NOT become obsessed with it, and do not let people make you feel as though you’re not committed or getting the best out of your training because you don’t consume it right away. Get a good solid liquid source of protein in you within 1-2 hours exercise, followed by a protein dense meal in the evening and your muscle repair will be just fine.

Don’t always believe the hype.

Check out our range of rapidly absorbed, top quality protein shakes HERE!    

About the Author

Job Role Qualified Dietitian and Sports Nutritionist Qualifications BSc (Hons) Sports Science | BSc (Hons) Dietetics Tom has always participated in sport both recreationally and competitively which led to an unquenchable thirst for information on anything health, nutrition and fitness. After leaving school Tom went on to play for a football academy during which time he studied Sport and Exercise Science. From here he went on to study a BSc (Hons) Sport Science at UEA followed by his second BSc (Hons) degree, this time at the University of Hertfordshire studying Dietetics. Tom has worked in the fitness, educational and clinical nutrition industry starting out at David Lloyd Health and Leisure Clubs. He then went on to work as a Dietitian (RD) in the NHS, during which time he conducted clinics for healthy eating, weight loss and weight gain, as well as specialised consultations on Diabetes, IBS and Coeliac disease to name a few. He has vast amounts of experience at devising diet plans and supplement regimens, as well as working in the community with schools and competitive athletes. As Head Nutritionist and Supplement expert at Discount Supplements Tom is here to provide current and evidence based health and nutrition information to help you reach your health and fitness goals!
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