Post Workout: The Holy Grail of Performance Nutrition?

Break out the shakers. It’s that prized “window,” as they call it. You’ve just finished working out and you’ve got T-minus forty minutes until you must eat or watch your fitness be completely erased. Right?


It seems that nutrient timing is it’s own field of study in the world of sports nutrition, yet this concept of post workout nutrition still seems to be as up in the air as the rest of the theories in the world of nutrition. Nonetheless, a common understanding is that there is a window of opportunity that last thirty minutes to an hour after training, where cells are open and in desperate need of fuel to replenish the toll of training.

ENTER: Powdered nutrition, shakers, and recovery shakes.

Yet, other subject matter experts claim there may be a growth hormone stimulus to be taken advantage of by ignoring the post workout window. Fasting post workout would go against virtually millions of suggestions to eat within 40 minutes (or so) of training. However, the research in the pro-growth hormone camp states that fasting and/or consuming little to no carbohydrates after training can allow athletes to enjoy a fat burning spike in growth hormone for up to two hours.

Raff ready to front squat.

Raff ready to front squat.

The opposite camp, the post workout fueling side of the argument, supports hitting both protein and carbohydrate intake immediately after training. Dr. John Ivy at the University of Texas found an optimal recovery ratio of 4:1 (carbohydrates:protein) in cyclists. They, of course, were looking to recover as quickly as possible to race the next day. That’s a different strategy for a different goal.

Confused yet? Well, if you’ve read anything I’ve written on the topic of nutrition and performance, you didn’t really think I’d finish this whole blog without telling you to “tinker,” did you?

Before you go making yourself the ultimate lab rat, consider two things:

1. What your goals are, and

2. Your insulin and leptin sensitivity.

**Everything is skewed if your hormones are jacked up

Tinker on and share your experiences in the comments. What’s worked for you? What markers have you used to come to your conclusions?


Logan Gelbrich


Tuesday’s Workout:

Complete 5 rounds for time of:
8 Shoulder to Overhead (135/95)
16 Squats
200m Run