A lot of people ask me about the timing of their P90X recovery drink or protein shake. Some people have an almost religious belief that you need to drink it immediately after your workout, and take it into the gym with them, chugging it all down just as soon as they drop the barbell. Others believe you should have it in your system before you even workout, while others say that as long as you have it within forty minutes of your exercise, you’re fine. Which is right? The discussion on nutrient timing has become intense of late, with some people going as far as to say that it doesn’t actually matter what you eat, as long as you eat it at the right time (which is nonsense). So what’s the real deal? When should you drink your recovery formula?
There are almost too many variables involved with the research when it comes to nutrient timing an athletes, such as the time of day you work out, what you have eaten so far that day, and what form of nutrients were consumed. However, one thing that science has shown is that nutrient consumption around exercise is critical for maximum muscle hypertrophy and conditioning. One study found that whether nutrients were consumed 1 hour or 3 hours after training, the results ended up being the same. So those religious fanatics who start screaming with impatience immediately after finishing their sets, tearing open their bags to get at their P90X recovery formula need to chill out. Relax, dudes and dudettes. It doesn’t really matter.
All that matters is that there be nutrients in your system around the time you train, and since it takes hours for them to be picked up, whether you eat them before, during or after doesn’t affect your results. Just make sure you consume them, and the results will be there!
Well put article – I agree, I tend to have it after my workout as a “reward” because I really love the taste and and helps satisfy me after working out hard. It also helps reduce the insane cravings that I have after, your body is ready to eat pretty much anything at that point.