“The ‘anabolism window’ implies that delaying protein intake by one hour or more after exercise will reduce or, worse still, prevent muscle anabolism [growth] during recovery,” explains Oliver Wizard, a protein metabolism researcher and senior lecturer at the University of Stirling in Scotland.
But here’s the thing: Research also shows that you don’t have to cram all that protein in immediately after your workout. “High-quality and short-term muscle biopsy studies report similar muscle anabolism after consuming an essential amino acid mix one, two or even three hours post-exercise,” Ward says, citing 2014 research from his team, published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism, as well as previous 2000 research from the University of Texas published in the Journal of Applied Physiology.
If there’s any benefit to getting protein within a half hour and 45 minutes of your workout as opposed to a few hours later, and I’m not convinced there is, it would be very narrow,” says Brad Schoenberg, a certified strength and conditioning specialist and board member for the National Strength and Conditioning Association, who has studied protein timing in exercises. “As long as you hit daily protein intake, you can build muscle.”
For a 180-pound adult, regardless of sex, that works out to eating 33 to 45 grams of protein four times per day.
A previous 2015 review published in Applied Physiology, Nutrition, and Metabolism concluded that most adults need to eat 25 to 35 grams of protein at every meal for optimal muscle health. Lean meats, fish, eggs, dairy, legumes, and soy are all rich in protein and can help exercisers hit their protein goals at every meal.
They either consumed 20 grams every three hours, 10 grams of protein every one-and-a-half hours or 40 grams of protein every six hours. It turned out that the men who consumed 20 grams of protein every three hours following their workouts had significantly higher rates of muscle protein synthesis.
To their surprise, Norwegian researchers found that in some coronary heart disease patients — those of normal weight — weight loss actually increased the risk for death.
lowering body mass index by more than 0.10 in a year was associated with a 30 percent increase in the risk for death, but only in those of normal weight at the start. Weight gain was not associated with mortality.
The lead author, Trina Humboldt, a research fellow at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology, said that this is an observational study and it is possible that people who lost weight were sicker than others, which might explain their increased mortality.
Still, she said, “Being active has large effects, and doing even a little bit is better than doing nothing. Weight loss is beneficial for overweight people, but exercise is even better.”