Anabolic Window: the Key to Fast Recovery

November 18, 2022

Most likely, you have already heard about the famous anabolic window. A nutritional concept linked to sports, the anabolic window refers to the period of time immediately after exercise, intrinsically related to post-training recovery.

If the Anabolic window is essential in all sports, it is even more so in cycling, triathlon, and running. These are endurance disciplines in which the physical and nutritional demands are at their highest.

If you are one of those who wake up in the morning with inhuman leg pain and go all day crawling around the office with physical and muscular fatigue, you may be interested in everything that follows.

Fortunately, more and more trainers are giving importance to recovery, but just as you have to know how to train, you also have to know how and when to recover.

The following article includes everything about the anabolic window so you can learn how to recover faster and better.

What is the anabolic window?

As we said, the anabolic window refers to the 30-45 minutes after sports practice. This time interval is scientifically considered to be the perfect time to begin to replenish your strength.

As soon as the exercise is over, the organism is still active, and the tissues and the different cells of the body are very receptive as far as nutrient absorption is concerned. For those who are more curious, we can say that the body finishes the anabolic process of catabolism to give way to anabolism.

You should know that everything you ingest in these first 45 minutes will condition your recovery and consequently your physical performance the next day.

To stop the catabolic process of destruction and promote muscle growth and regeneration (anabolism) the body requires an increase in blood insulin levels.

The anabolic window for recovery from cycling

For this, the most advisable is to ingest macronutrients, such as carbohydrates or proteins as quickly as possible after the activity. 

There are many foods rich in carbohydrates and proteins but among them, you should prioritize those that are quickly absorbed. 

45 minutes goes a long way

Whether you are a cyclist and have just participated in a cycling tour, or a runner and have just crossed the finish line of a half marathon, you must pay attention to the recovery process.

Many athletes start talking about what happened in the event with colleagues. "I've been doing well up to this point..." "I've been lacking training..." or "I didn't have a proper breakfast..." - it's great to exchange opinions, as long as it is constructive, but if you really want to recover, it won't do you much good to be talking about it for an hour.

Keep your concentration as an inveterate athlete, and take the opportunity to stretch your muscles and eat and drink what you have at hand.

Prioritize drinks with mineral salts and water. As for food, try to eat fruit, protein, and carbohydrates.

You will not be the first or the last person whose stomach is closed after an intense effort. Against this background, it is becoming increasingly common to see cyclists and runners enjoying a shake after an intense workout, race, or competition.

The anabolic window not only serves to recover faster but also significantly reduces the risk of injury due to muscle damage and accelerates the elimination of toxins in the blood.

Recovery shakes

Post-workout shakes are all the rage. It is quite common to see people drinking protein shakes in gyms and at different sporting events.

Undoubtedly the shakes bring benefits to the athlete's body, but we also have to say that too much of it can be harmful to the body. 

The massive and exaggerated intake of protein is a reality and more than one has presented health problems due to excessive consumption of this macronutrient.

The first thing you should be clear about is that the amount of carbohydrates must always be higher than the amount of protein. As a guideline, it is calculated that for each gram of protein you should consume 3 or 4 grams of carbohydrates.

If you are not in the hands of a professional nutritionist, you should learn to combine the shake with rice or pasta and meat or oily fish.

There are a number of commercial brands that offer sports shakes at a decent price. We all like to save a few bucks, but we recommend that you focus your attention on the nutritional composition of the shakes.

You must be aware of what you are giving to your body, and the decision should be conditioned by more than just the price and the picture of good muscles on the packaging.

No need to get obsessed with the anabolic window, and now you start gobbling pasta dishes and smoothies like crazy.

During the rest of the day, you must continue to make small intakes of carbohydrates, and if possible, these should be of a high glycemic index (potato, rice, watermelon...)

In short, everything adds up when you're a professional athlete, and the small details are becoming increasingly important. 

Remember the anabolic window when you finish the competition or training and look for alternatives to industrial pastries and chips.