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 What Is The Metabolic Window

By Yann, published on 07/12/2018 Blog > Health and Fitness > Personal Training > How To Define The Body Post Workout?

Gaining muscle and weight loss has become a very popular goal for a great many people. As everyone gets more serious about their bodies, appearance and health, they try to learn more about fitness, bodybuilding programs, the anabolic window, protein shakes and food supplements. What we have understood, is that there are a great many topics which are essential to learning more about fitness. Especially when you want to achieve a goal as an aspiring athlete or person who regularly trains.

The fitness industry has seen tremendous benefits as gym memberships are bought by everyone, which has seen more gyms opening around the country. With many open for 24 hours a day to give serious people the time they need to work out whenever they want to. This is also reflected in online fitness communities with hashtags like #biceps, #muscle, #Fitspiration and #thinspiration filling the pages of social networks.

But while we are generally careful about what we eat generally and our workout routines on the path to trying to reach our goals. We do not always think about when we are eating and how this affects our bodies and our muscle mass. Eating at the right time is the priority, especially for bodybuilders, as it is the key to achieving faster muscle recovery and muscle gain.

Post workout nutrition is essential for building muscle and fat burning, this is called the anabolic window. Let’s learn more about it in more detail!

Food is important during the anabolic window The diet is one of the key elements fundamental in muscle mass gain. Photo Source: Unsplash

The Anabolic Window Opportunity

A key moment in your sports training is the anabolic window. No, it’s not a part of our lungs or a type of actual physical window. The anabolic window, also known as the metabolic window is the period of time post-workout when your workout session takes maximum effect. This is like a window of opportunity; as while your anabolic window is open you are able to do many things including:

  1. Build bigger and better muscles.
  2. Absorb high levels of protein and nutrients.
  3. and repair your body and muscles at a much faster rate.

In biochemistry, catabolism means the breaking down of something, and anabolism means the building up of something. We all want to have a faster metabolism because it means that our body will use the food as fuel and not store it as fat in the body. Our metabolism is made up of 2 functions which are catabolism, and anabolism.

What is Anabolism?

Some exercise science for you; is that anabolism is the process that constructs the tissues in the body, and many other things too. But for our interests, this is the key process that builds muscle.  It utilises proteins and amino acids to build and strengthen muscles and bones. This is why you always hear people talking about metabolism and the anabolic window. Because this process must be maximised if you hope to build muscle. The opportunity to support your growth comes post workout.

What Is Catabolism?

The catabolism is the process that breaks down the muscles and tissues in the body. Now while this may sound awful, especially if you are working hard to build muscle, it is an essential process too because we need this process to release energy. You will require this process when you are working out heavily in the gym especially if you didn’t eat before working out. Nutrition plays a crucial part then not just in supporting the anabolic process but also in limiting the catabolic process from starting. Simply put if you have eaten a good pre-workout meal your body won’t trigger catabolism for the energy needed for your workout but use the food from the pre-workout meal.

The anabolic window helps to build muscle Sport is an activity that everyone practices, whether beginner or Bodybuilder because we all want to improve our bodies. Photo Source: Unsplash

Why Is This Important?

After you have worked out, especially if you have had an intense workout to get muscle gains. Your body will likely switch to catabolism, and the muscles will begin to break down. At this essential stage post workout, you need to focus on replenishing your energy with a good source of protein. Protein will shift you back into the anabolic process so that your body begins building muscle again. It is critical at this time to take a moment to rehydrate and refuel your body.

With the help of protein and amino acids, a healthy diet and lots more protein, you will be able to give your muscles all they need to grow and rebuild. The best foods for your post workout meal is a whey protein shake or some kind of alternative protein shakes or smoothies. Sports nutritionists suggest that the reason for this is that protein shakes are easily digested by the body and the faster that you can replenish your body the faster that you will be able to switch to muscle building mode.

The sensitivity of our muscles is such that they are very receptive to what we ingest so right after a session of bodybuilding. It is, therefore, necessary to adopt a sports diet that helps with muscle gains and fat loss. Muscle growth, thus, involves knowing how to take advantage of the anabolic window.

How To Take Advantage Of The Anabolic Window

When you adopt a sports diet, the anabolic window will become important to you. Especially when gaining muscle is your real goal. The anabolic window hands you the keys and lets you participate in your own muscle development. But this is only true if you are consistent and adapt your diet support the recovery and replenishment of the muscle.

So although you will be exhausted after your intense workout, the 30 – 60 minutes after working out are some of the most important, and your motivation must not go down. We have to realise that the bodybuilding session is not finished entirely until the muscles have had the opportunity to replenish. The anabolic window is an integral part of your bodybuilding training, thankfully this type of practice often has only one goal: to gain muscle. So if you have other goals, this may not be quite as important for you. Although most athletes swear by the anabolic window, it is not the miracle solution and should be used with other things to maximise its benefits.

The benefits of a dumbbell session comes in the anabolic window The anabolic window is the key moment, which will become the anchor point of your bodybuilding training, Photo Source: Unsplash

What To Consume During The Anabolic Window

So we are often told that the body needs nutrients and protein within one hour after an intensive sports training session and more specifically a bodybuilding session. Obviously, you must say goodbye to all sweets, pastries, sugary drinks, alcohol or foods with refined sugars that. Then introduce proteins, vitamins, amino acids, fibre, nutrients within a balanced bodybuilder diet.

While drinking protein shakes, smoothies and adding protein powder to food can help build muscle. We do have to realise that there are lots of foods to add to the diet to ensure that your sports diet is balanced.

For Example,

  1. Chicken and turkey are low fat and lean white meats, they should be at the foundation of your diet if you are a bodybuilder. Because chicken and turkey give you a very high level of protein per fat count and of course they both have zero carbs. Eating these meats can help you to pack on some real muscle. These are both a favourite food of high-level athletes because Chicken is made up of about 48% protein and Turkey is made up of about 73% protein.
  2. Egg whites have zero fat and are almost all protein, these should take up a considerable part of your diet as they are one of the best forms of protein that you can get. This is why you see people drinking them after a workout, they are pure protein and fantastic muscle building food. On top of that, they also have vitamins and minerals, and the protein is easily absorbed by your body. Eggs are about 84% protein and are great for vegetarian bodybuilders.
  3. Beans cannot be ignored, they are powerful low-calorie sources of protein, and they are also reasonably low in fat. They are not the obvious source of protein but are delicious and full of protein and fibre. It is the high fibre that gives beans and legumes the real edge because they help with normal bowel function which is actually essential to muscle growth.

As without proper bowel function, you will not absorb the nutrients and more importantly the protein into your body. Kidney beans are 58% protein and have nearly 14 grams of fibre in just 1 cup. These are great for vegan bodybuilders.

After a workout, we can also opt for a handful of seeds, for energy and good fats. Almonds, hazelnuts, pumpkin seeds, and other nuts and seeds are right to bring to our body the nutrients it needs.

Let’s not forget that our body is alive and that we must support it and protect it as best we can so that it can function optimally. The anabolic window is, therefore, that moment when everything becomes possible for our muscle growth, just after a training session or workout. Our diet must adapt to balance what is possible, and we must be engaged to follow our fitness goals, all while being motivated to keep moving forward.


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