Author Topic: There is no short term "anabolic window".  (Read 2182 times)

Diesel656

  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 100
  • Forum Rep: +17/-3
There is no short term "anabolic window".
« on: March 08, 2013, 07:49:52 PM »
A little background. I am well educated in this field and a long term athlete who while working at GNC has tried basically every supplement under the sun.

Now then, on to the point. The idea of a super critical post-workout window where a specific blend of macronutrients should be consumed made sense to me for a while - one needs to fuel the repairs of what has just been broken. There needs to be an influx of nutrients, namely protein, in order to repair damaged muscle tissue. Then I began hearing that raising insulin levels can in fact increase the rate of muscle protein synthesis. In addition, muscle glycogen stores would be more quickly restored. All of this would help a person avoid the dreaded catabolic meltdown (that some seem to believe, as I did, this can happen within an hour of walking out of the gym).

Then I went so school for nutrition science. With digestion rates and the slow and steady assimilation of nutrients in the human body, hours will go by after eating before the stream of amino acids and glucose stops. With the multiple meals a day we eat, chances are you are still experiencing nutrient uptake at the gym and quite possibly even after. Don't get me wrong, I love me some BCAAs but that has more to do with me liking the flavor - they are just a drop in the bucket at most.

So you finished your routine, you speed past the bathroom because you forgot your whey hydrolysate shake mixed with dextrose and maltodextrin at home. Assuming you had eaten in the last three to four hours, you would have nearly wet yourself for nothing. The carbohydrates will do next to nothing as far as muscle growth/repair (refer to studies at the bottom) and as far as waxy maize or fractionated barley and all that, it has never increased my insulin response more than dextrose. I know this because I am type 1 diabetic and have tested blood sugars (which would otherwise trigger a release of insulin) at similar intervals after ingesting all these 'super carbs' without noting a real difference. Beyond this, there is no super short term spike in insulin. Once released in a healthy person, it is often broken down after an hour of circulation. As for hydrolysates, what a waste of money. I certainly am not saying skip a post workout meal all together or even a whey shake as the interval between meals may be growing to the point where catabolism may start taking place, but it sure as hell doesn't begin as quickly as many people think.

Beyond this, the so-called "anabolic window" is critical during the entire period which muscle tissue needs repair. Your muscle tissue undergoes repairs for days and is constantly in need of materials such as amino acids to make said repairs. Glycogen stores need to be refilled and again this is not at all critical immediately post workout or even during (this is obviously different for endurance athletes). You can slam down the highest quality shakes in the world and eat the cleanest meals possible for an entire day and make no gains at all if the day after doesn't provide continued supplies of nutrients and calories.

Here is another post with some incredibly insightful studies borrowed from a user on another forum named 'alan aragon'.

Quote
Hierarchy of Importance

When speaking of nutrition for improving body composition or training performance, it's crucial to realize there's an underlying hierarchy of importance. At the top of the hierarchy is total amount of the macronutrients by the end of the day. Distantly below that is the precise timing of those nutrients. With very few exceptions, athletes and active individuals eat multiple times per day. Thus, the majority of their day is spent in the postprandial (fed) rather than a post-absorptive (fasted) state. The vast majority of nutrient timing studies have been done on overnight-fasted subjects put through glycogen depletion protocols, which obviously limits the applicability of the outcomes. Pre-exercise (and/or during-exercise) nutrient intake often has a lingering carry-over effect into the post-exercise period. Throughout the day, there's a constant overlap of meal digestion & nutrient absorption. For this reason, the effectiveness of nutrient timing does not require a high degree of precision.

The Primary Laws of Nutrient Timing
The First Law of Nutrient Timing is: hitting your daily macronutrient targets is FAR more important than nutrient timing.
The Second Law of Nutrient Timing is: hitting your daily macronutrient targets is FAR more important than nutrient timing.

NOTE: Please do not misinterpret the above to mean that timing is irrelevant. On the contrary, it's very relevant. Timing just happens to have MUCH LESS impact on results than hitting your macro totals for the day. This doesn't diminish the fact that people need to individualize their meal timing so that it maximizes their training performance (& does not hinder it). The latter manipulations vary widely, because people have different training protocols, goals, and tolerances. For example, some people experience their best training performance in an immediately fed state, while others do best in a semi-fasted or fasted state. Endurance athletes who neglect carbohydrate timing will not optimize their training capacity. Strength/power athletes with minimal endurance demands have much   
less of a concern for this. There's no way to 'universalize' a nutrient timing prescription that applies to everyone & all types of athletes. But to reiterate, macro totals for the day overshadow timing in     terms of importance, especially for bodybuilding. If macro totals for the day are not hit, the most precisely neurotic timing of meals is all for poo.

For the technically inclined:
Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?
http://www.jissn.com/content/10/1/5
Same paper in PDF: http://www.jissn.com/content/pdf/1550-2783-10-5.pdf

Lastly, I am not saying supplements aren't helpful. I use them plenty and they make my life a little easier and a lot more fun. I just think it's ridiculous that so many lose sight of the fact that supplements are just that - supplements. I remember just recently reading someone say something to this effect: 'I used to worry about the nutrient timings and micromanage every feeding interval but it was when I put that energy into lifting and just making sure I hit my macros that the gains came".

cjm502

  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 957
  • Forum Rep: +70/-23
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2013, 07:51:27 PM »
People will always think they need their post workout shake for gains
Got Stuff?

Diesel656

  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 100
  • Forum Rep: +17/-3
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2013, 07:56:30 PM »
You're probably right. Maybe I will give a person or two a different perspective, at the very least. Or ease someone's anxiety when they forget their shake...  ::)

cjm502

  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 957
  • Forum Rep: +70/-23
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2013, 08:01:30 PM »
You're probably right. Maybe I will give a person or two a different perspective, at the very least. Or ease someone's anxiety when they forget their shake...  ::)
Haha I used to freak when I didnt get my shake within minutes of finishing my workout, but +rep for posting this. Something the noobs need to take their time to read!
Got Stuff?

Diesel656

  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 100
  • Forum Rep: +17/-3
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2013, 08:02:27 PM »
You're probably right. Maybe I will give a person or two a different perspective, at the very least. Or ease someone's anxiety when they forget their shake...  ::)
Haha I used to freak when I didnt get my shake within minutes of finishing my workout

You wasted your workout BRO!

WarMachine

  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 2357
  • Forum Rep: +246/-72
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2013, 08:12:00 PM »
Good stuff Diesel  ;D. There is a guy at my gym who literally consumes three pixie stix candies after his workout obsessed with the idea of post workout insulin spikes.  He should read this ;)
Any human can train with iron, but it takes a machine to destroy the iron

You don't need to be an ABSOLUTE FREAK in order to be strong, you need to work ABSOLUTELY FREAKING hard to become strong

sdunlimited

  • Expert Reviewer
  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 1547
  • Forum Rep: +244/-5
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2013, 09:11:54 PM »
@Diesel - thanks for sharing this.  I love this stuff!  The cynic in me however, forces me to question pretty much everything  ;)

While I don't doubt the evidence and believe that consistent/effective nutrient intake over the X number of hours post exercise is more important than the timing, I'm curious about a few things:

- Didn't the whole 'anabolic window' also emerge from various scientific studies?
- I think it's neat that you've been able to test insulin levels yourself post workout to actually see if there's an impact on insulin.  Just to insure I've got it right - you're saying that you've experienced NO impact to insulin post workout regardless of nutrient intake?
- I understand the amount of time it takes the body to digest and use nutrients after a meal/drink/etc however, empirically, there's been a number of times where I know for a FACT that some thing made their way through my system pretty darn fast!  I'll spare details and I imagine my body didn't really get a whole heck of a lot of nutrition out of whatever I ate, but the speed is rather astonishing nonetheless.  Therefore, I'm curious if that nutrient disbursement after a meal is a hard and fast thing - any input?
- Do you have any input, ideas, theories or data regarding how hormones are impacted and/or are affected by the various methods of meal timing/etc?  I know there's quite a number of studies cited in Rob Faigin's "Natural Hormonal Enhancement" book that seem to confirm the 'anabolic window'.  I don't have it in front of me at the moment but if this conversation continues (I hope it gets in depth because this is great stuff!) I can certainly pull it out and link to the studies

A big part of me views this along the lines of the whole debate about eggs being good for you one minute, bad the next, etc.  Over the past who knows how many decades the studies seem to go back and forth year after year based on one study or another, influenced by one interest or another. 

I know I'll continue to have my post workout drink because I'm usually pretty darn hungry!  Those pixie stix don't fill me up as much as I'd like  ;D
Currently running my Log of 2014 – Feat. A Continuous Array of Products, Growth and Results in the Journal's forum

chefneilde

  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 3015
  • Forum Rep: +477/-68
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2013, 09:40:57 PM »
bump
If fish oil and squats won't cure it, you’re probably going to die
Sometimes the light is shining on me, other times I can barely see.
Everyday is Independence Day

Diesel656

  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 100
  • Forum Rep: +17/-3
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2013, 11:07:46 PM »
Thanks War! Haha, those sticks remind me of a bunch of little kids running in circles with sugar highs.

sdunlimited, I will try to answer your questions the best I can bud. If you need me to expand on some throw em back in here or just PM me.

-It did, yes. But my understanding is that much of the research involving the finite window was under fasting circumstances or with athletes nearing or completely glycogen depleted. This reduction is glycogen signals all sorts of   changes in different pathways including the recently popular one, mTOR. In this weaker state, the effects of not taking something post work out would certainly be more detrimental. Furthermore, quite of bit of the studies supporting the post workout protocols and maximizing on an anabolic window are of course funded by the supplement companies. Not saying there is anything wrong with this, studies are expensive. I am however saying I feel as though the studies with sponsors who stand something less to gain carry a little more weight in my mind. There are so many variables an intelligent scientist can manipulate, for example the glycogen depletion or utilizing over-trained athletes.
-Well, technically I have to administer my own insulin as I don't create any myself. But to clarify, I can tell a difference in how quickly a certain carb raises my blood sugar in the classical glycemic index sense. This being, refined sugar will spike it more quickly than say, a banana. But as far as all these pricey, extremely quick digesting carbs working more efficiently than basic refined sugar or dextrose? I haven't seen a marked difference. Certainly not for the price.
-Certainly nutrient assimilation will vary based on a huge amount of variable such as the ratio of fats, carbs and protein, the amount eaten, the amount of fiber and so on. These factors will actually determine the rate of gastric emptying quite a bit. Gastric emptying being when the food actually leaves your stomach. As far as when it exits the body, that's a whole different thing. Hell, eat too many spicy wings and you can shorten that trip quite a bit. Here is one great thing I will certainly acknowledge, whey leave the stomach very quickly. There is no debate about that, just whether or not it is often that necessary as theoretically there will still be some flow of amino acids from a prior meal. I certainly see the value in getting a quick boost of amino concentration in the morning with some whey as you were in a truly fasted state overnight.
-I'm not too familiar with this, bud. I know that when the body is in a fasted state it releases plenty of different hormones than it would if one is processing food. How this affects anabolic hormones directly, I am not sure.

I agree with you about the egg thing. It's just a different perspective and in my mind it just makes more sense. In my head, eggs make sense. Animals live off others' eggs. Having to drink a powder immediately after a lift even though my diet is nearly perfect and I eat every few hours doesn't really fit right in my head though I do understand shakes can help us all hit those macros. Myself included.

And as for the eggs, some interesting new studies out there. Huge epidemiological studies followed people who ate over two eggs a day for years and their cholesterol was fine so now they say some people are just hyper responders to dietary cholesterol. They are also saying that even though they have LDL, the lipoproteins are large relative to other LDLs, so it is not as much a concern. Next there will be four types of lipoproteins instead of two. It never ends...
« Last Edit: March 08, 2013, 11:10:18 PM by Diesel656 »

lava135

  • Expert Reviewer, Acolyte of the Temple of Hulk
  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 4398
  • Forum Rep: +670/-41
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2013, 04:27:10 AM »
aaaaahhhhhh pixiiiieeeee stiiiiixxxxxxxxx............. 
"Luck is the last dying chance of those that wish to believe that winning can happen by accident.  Sweat, on the other hand, are for those who know it's a choice."  Author Unknown

"You can't re-rack life."  Dom Mazetti

sdunlimited

  • Expert Reviewer
  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 1547
  • Forum Rep: +244/-5
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 05:17:49 AM »
Diesel - thanks for the detailed reply - much appreciated! 

Something I completely agree with but can't really point definitively to any research proving it, is that there has GOT to be plenty of amino acids flowing through our bodies from prior meals while training.  It's just one of those things that seems to make sense when thinking about it reasonably.  I guess something that could affect that however, is that while training we are purposefully creating a glycogen depleted state to some extent as well as initiating catabolic conditions.  Whether training 'instantly' cannibalizes those flowing aminos I'm not certain but I swear I feel a meaningful difference when I have BCAA's during a workout.  Something more than placebo effect. 

Perhaps, while it's marketed a little more severely to us so we don't 'waste a workout', the true benefit of a 'faster acting' nutrients (i.e. whey) is to insure that the flow of aminos/nutrients remains consistent.  Whether carbohydrate needs to be part of that or not, I'm not sure.  There is a study or two cited in "Natural Hormonal Enhancement" (I don't believe funded by a nutrition company) that points to protein alone being able to replenish glycogen stores post exercise.  It was essentially saying fast acting carbohydrate post workout was unnecessary.  Much of the book did however focus on the import of the "anabolic window".  I'll pull that book out later today and add to the discussion with more references later.  My foggy memory and personally feelings on stuff only carries so much weight! 

Regarding the studies supporting the "anabolic window" and glycogen depleted athletes, it makes me wonder:

Are their more benefits or a greater negative response to obliterating yourself in an all out training session while fasted and/or glycogen depleted and consuming carbs and protein (via the most expensive and current supplements, of course) ? 
Or, are the results not statistically different from eating consistently to insure a steady flow of nutrients under the same training conditions? 
Is one method more effective than another?

It kind of sounds like what's recommended with Intermittent Fasting to me.  Whether or not you can get to a truly glycogen depleted/fasted state within 16hrs or so, I'm not sure.  If I understand the protocol correctly, the ideal way to do it is to train fasted (with the exception of BCAA's) then gorge yourself on a big post workout meal.  I dabbled with it a little bit to see if I could make it through the fasting period but never really tried it in a practical manner.  Empirically, it seems that a lot of people like IF and get solid results from it.  I know Martin is always posting up various studies to back up his belief system however, much like the egg argument, I'm certain there's just as many studies 'proving' the opposite as well.

At the end of the day, I think all of us are just looking for the most efficient way to get into the ideal shape we're striving for.
Currently running my Log of 2014 – Feat. A Continuous Array of Products, Growth and Results in the Journal's forum

lava135

  • Expert Reviewer, Acolyte of the Temple of Hulk
  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 4398
  • Forum Rep: +670/-41
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2013, 05:49:26 AM »
I think at the end of the day most of us are being OCD on things that while true, provide a trivial difference when compared to a much more simple approach.  (myself included)  The body is an incredible machine and it will do its job, that's why so many different approaches, often at odds with each other, work.  Major lifts provide major benefits, end of story.
"Luck is the last dying chance of those that wish to believe that winning can happen by accident.  Sweat, on the other hand, are for those who know it's a choice."  Author Unknown

"You can't re-rack life."  Dom Mazetti

sdunlimited

  • Expert Reviewer
  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 1547
  • Forum Rep: +244/-5
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2013, 05:53:59 AM »
I think at the end of the day most of us are being OCD on things that while true, provide a trivial difference when compared to a much more simple approach.  (myself included)  The body is an incredible machine and it will do its job, that's why so many different approaches, often at odds with each other, work.  Major lifts provide major benefits, end of story.

Agreed - and pixie stix replenish carbs like nobody's business! ;D
Currently running my Log of 2014 – Feat. A Continuous Array of Products, Growth and Results in the Journal's forum

lava135

  • Expert Reviewer, Acolyte of the Temple of Hulk
  • Locker Roommates
  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 4398
  • Forum Rep: +670/-41
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2013, 05:55:10 AM »
Lulz  ;D
"Luck is the last dying chance of those that wish to believe that winning can happen by accident.  Sweat, on the other hand, are for those who know it's a choice."  Author Unknown

"You can't re-rack life."  Dom Mazetti

Diesel656

  • Senior Members
  • Posts: 100
  • Forum Rep: +17/-3
Re: There is no short term "anabolic window".
« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2013, 09:27:59 AM »

Are their more benefits or a greater negative response to obliterating yourself in an all out training session while fasted and/or glycogen depleted and consuming carbs and protein (via the most expensive and current supplements, of course) ? 


I certainly think it's harder on the body - glycogen is the primary source of fuel (and the only fuel the brain can use!) though I do appreciate the idea that more fat will be burned when insulin levels are low or non existent.

Lava and sdunlimited, I think you guys both have it. Whatever sits well with you and fits into your daily life while not costing an arm and a leg, stick with. When all the peices fall into place it's easier to focus on the gym and enjoying the benefits that brings outside of the gym. I have just found myself and see so many others get more caught up splitting hairs than actually enjoying themselves or even training properly. So with a shake or without just have some fun, lift hard and reap the benefits.