Protein-carbohydrate window after training - should I close it?

Protein-carbohydrate window - a short period of time that occurs after intensive training and is characterized by high assimilation of nutrients by the body. It is believed that all food eaten at this time is spent on restoring energy reserves and the growth of muscle fibers.

Protein-carbohydrate window after training - should I close it?

Scientists still argue about the duration of this period. Some argue that the anabolic window is "open" for 30-45 minutes, while others insist on a minimum of 3-4 hours.

Physical activity is a trigger that triggers biochemical and hormonal reactions in our body.

For example, during intensive training, the production of the anabolic hormone somatotropin (CMT) and the catabolic hormone adrenaline and cortisol, which destroy muscle tissue, occur. To preserve muscle from decay, you need to close the carbohydrate window immediately after training. The nutrients obtained during this period will cause a sharp release of insulin, which suppresses adrenaline and cortisol.

Nutritionist, sports nutritionist

The closure of the carbohydrate window is typical for endurance sports and power sports. With active training, the glycogen supply is consumed in 40 minutes, so it needs to be restored.

When the goal is to build muscle, you must also restore the supply of glycogen and amino acids.

During intense physical exertion there is an increased consumption of energy reserves. This is another reason to eat right after the training. In the body, energy is restored by storing glycogen in the muscles and liver. It is believed that the sooner an athlete begins to make up for losses, the faster he will be physically ready for the next lesson.

This is important for professional athletes practicing four times a week or more.

Closing the "window" during weight gain

The most important for the bodybuilder is a balanced power system than single snacks. It is important to supply the body with all the necessary trace elements daily. When the diet is properly designed and distributed, some departures from the requirement of compulsory nutrition after training are allowed. You can calmly move dinner (or lunch) for an hour or more.

In this case, the body will not be left without nutrients for recovery.

Unprofessional bodybuilders are engaged, as a rule, within 1-1.5 hours. Training on average consists of 6 exercises of 4 sets each. The duration of the approach is approximately 30 seconds.

Multiply the number of approaches by their duration: 6x4x430 = 720 seconds or 12 minutes. It turns out the average visitor to the fitness room is engaged in a total of no more than 15 minutes . The rest of the time is allocated to rest, folding shells, picking up the bar, etc.

An example shows that the actual time of a lesson does not equal its real duration.In 12 minutes, the athlete simply does not have time to use up glycogen reserves from the muscles and liver.

This means that there is no need to consume carbohydrates immediately after training. You can calmly take a shower, get dressed, drive home, cook a full lunch or dinner. Recommended composition and serving size: 80-100 g of carbohydrates, 25-30 g of protein, 10-15 g of fat, 80 g of fiber.

Professional athletes do much longer and more intensively than amateurs, therefore they are advised to close the “window” in the first half hour after the end of the strength training. It is advisable to take "simple" carbohydrates, which the body quickly splits and directs to restore energy.

In this case, you should not worry about the formation of subcutaneous fat. The metabolism of a professional bodybuilder is able to process large volumes of carbohydrate foods.

Note that the serving size for the pros may exceed the normal rate. Studies were conducted in which trained athletes with many years of experience were given 700-800 g of sugar after intense training. Their metabolism has coped with so many carbohydrates.

Of course, we do not recommend eating pure sugar after class.

It is best to close the "window": honey, jams, sweet fruits, oatmeal, yogurts, gainers, energy bars.

Nutritionist, sports nutritionist

The volume of nutrients for each individual. Based on this calculation:

  • On the development of endurance. Carbohydrate intake - 30% of the total daily requirement in the form of carbohydrate drinks immediately (the first 20 minutes) after exercise.

    This contributes to the rapid restoration of glycogen content in the muscles.

  • On the development of muscle strength. Proteins - 20% of the total daily intake, carbohydrates - 20% of the daily requirement.
  • On the development of muscle mass. The distribution of the daily protein intake by meals should be uniform with a spread of 15%.

    After training - 20-25% of carbohydrates from the daily requirement.

We drink water without restrictions - at any time, at home, at work and in training.

In addition to “fast” carbohydrates, professional bodybuilders use protein products directly in the locker room. This helps to “boost” muscle synthesis, accelerate the healing of damaged fibers. Outside the house, protein shakes made from pure whey isolate are convenient.

For example, a high-quality snack after heavy loads will be 300 ml of protein shake, apple and banana. Some athletes take chicken breasts or egg whites with them in boxes.

Nutritionist, sports nutritionist

Aerobic sports athletes are better off restoring glycogen due to carbohydrate-containing foods or drinks. Anaerobic athletes - due to protein-carbohydrate (a protein for mesomorphs and endomorphs, a gainer is more suitable for ectomorphs).

About aerobic and anaerobic loads and body types, read in separate materials on the website.

Closing the "window" during weight loss and drying

Athletes seeking to lose weight, exercise and eat on other principles. Their main goal is to create a calorie deficit that will contribute to the burning of subcutaneous fat. It follows that the diet of such athletes should be low-carb. After intense cardio training, their “window” remains open to extend the period of deficiency of energy reserves and force the body to spend subcutaneous fat.

Losing weight after classes is recommended to drink a glass of clean water and calmly go home.

The first meal should take place no earlier than 2 hours after arrival from the fitness room. In this case, any carbohydrates should be avoided.

It is better to use greens, vegetables, lean meat, a small amount of vegetable oil for weight loss and muscle recovery. Example menu: 150 g of green salad seasoned with olive oil, 150 g of chicken fillet or red fish.

Drying is a diet and training regimen, which allows to minimize the fat layer and preserve lean muscle mass.

Used by professional bodybuilders in preparation for competitions. It assumes a low-carb diet and an increase in cardiac loads. The main tasks are to maintain metabolism at a high level, to reduce the calorie content of the diet. This is achieved by refusing carbohydrates and a fractional menu (7-8 times a day).

Nutritionist, sports nutritionist

When drying and working on fat burning, the carbohydrate window does not need to be closed.

At any meal, insulin is released - an antagonist of somatotropin. The level of SMT decreases - the results worsen, because SMT gives 80% fat burning within an hour after training.

Being on the “dryer”, the athlete begins to eat almost the same protein and fiber (vegetables, fruits, greens). From fats, only vegetable oils are left in small quantities. Under such conditions, closing a carbohydrate window can harm the weight loss process .

At the training itself, the athlete usually takes BCAA. Immediately after - a protein shake (whey, egg, beef). After 1.5-2 hours, it is allowed to eat a vegetable salad with a minimum amount of oil, without salt.

Nutritionist, sports nutritionist

Another "trick" of our body is that if the level of PVT ( subcutaneous adipose tissue) is more than 15%, then insulin does not replenish glycogen stores in muscle tissue, but stores in adipose tissue.

If you do not belong to athletes with low RVT, then everything eaten within an hour after training will be used against you. It is better to wait this very hour (you can drink water without adding BCAA or aminoxylot), and then take the proper meal.

Closing the evening "window"

In the diet of bodybuilders there is a second protein window that closes before bedtime. Snack is used after weight training to gain mass.The bottom line is that one of the conditions for muscle growth is the constant presence of amino acids in the blood.

But since the athlete sleeps at night, there is a "hungry" gap of several hours. At this time, the concentration of protein compounds in the body decreases and muscle growth theoretically slows down.

Casein protein is recommended to nourish your muscles while you relax. The cocktail slowly breaks down over several hours, gradually increasing the pool of amino acids. The only problem is a possible bowel upset.

If you feel unwell after taking casein, then use natural products for a snack. For example, low-fat cottage cheese with kefir or red fish steak without a side dish and butter.

Protein-carbohydrate window after training - should I close it? Download. ..


There is no consensus among scientists, athletes and trainers about the benefits of closing an anabolic window. Many question the need for a post-workout snack and classify the issue as myths.

The first thing the opponents refer to is the difference in the types of figures of athletes , which, as a rule, is not taken into account. Mesomorphs and endomorphs are not recommended to consume carbohydrate foods immediately after training, but ectomorphs (they are also called “hardgainers”), on the contrary, carbohydrate loading will help in weight gain.

Another subject of controversy is the harm of the insulin response .

At the beginning, we said that the body responds to the intake of carbohydrates by a sharp increase in the production of insulin, which inhibits the work of adrenaline and cortisol.

There is an opinion that insulin blocks not only catabolic hormones, but also somatotropin, which is responsible for the growth and preservation of muscles. Therefore, many scientists believe that closing the carbohydrate window prevents muscle development.

The third controversial moment is the time of the favorable period for the consumption of carbohydrates . The last 30 years, it was believed that it is 30-45 minutes.

But the results of modern research have shown that the window can expand up to several hours, which depreciates the immediate snack after loads.

In addition, scientists say that glycogen replenishment continues throughout the day. So, it makes no sense to load the digestive system immediately after class.

So close or not close? Indeed, even professional bodybuilders at different stages of their careers adhere to polar points of view on this issue. Each athlete makes a decision independently - experimenting and observing the results.



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