It’s been a hot minute since we’ve talked about some mighty gym myths, so we hit the socials asking what some of the latest ones are that you’ve heard… and of course you came through strong. So let’s get to it. 

“Is the anabolic window a real thing?” @chel_bel25 on IG

There’s a lot of conflicting opinions on the anabolic window… notice we said “opinions,” and not “information,” there’s a difference. 

  1. So what even is the “anabolic window” Many people claim you should eat a post-workout meal during the “anabolic window.” This term refers to the short time after training when your muscles are repairing and recovering. It’s also called the metabolic window or protein window.
    • Allegedly, the anabolic window lasts 30 minutes. If you want maximum results, you should consume protein and carbs within this time frame. Eating a meal after these 30 minutes is supposedly less helpful.
    • Many people use this concept to practice precise nutrient timing. As it turns out, there’s little scientific proof to back the strategy
  2. If you’re trying to build muscle, we’ve told you before and we’re going o tell you again, that strength training is the best way to achieve that. As you know by now, weight training damages the muscles, which causes them to repair and grow. The result is stronger muscles. Muscle growth goes beyond the workout itself. It also relies on outside of the gym nutrition. Your muscles need enough protein and carbohydrates to effectively recover.
    • The anabolic window theory is based on your body’s anabolic response. Anabolism is when small molecules grow into bigger, complex molecules. These molecules form into new cells and tissues, including muscle. 
    • After strength training, your body is in an anabolic state. This involves a range of cellular processes that facilitate muscle repair and growth. These processes are fueled by protein and carbs.
  3. Here’s where the misinformation starts with the anabolic window. For whatever reason, and it was difficult to find out where this number came from, but folks who preach about the anabolic window say that it’s 30 minutes post workout. TL:DR: there is no science that backs that up. In fact, multiple studies prove that it the window isn’t that short, and this process isn’t as simple as the anabolic window theory would have you believe.
    • A 2017 study indicates that pre- or post-workout protein intake produce similar muscle adaptations. This suggests that pre-workout protein could suffice and immediate post-workout intake isn’t proven to be better or worse. It also proposes that the “window of opportunity” for protein is pretty wide.
    • A 2010 study examined the post-workout anabolic response that happens after protein intake. Researchers found that the response is mainly due to protein synthesis rather than protein breakdown. This would suggest that immediately eating to reduce muscle breakdown may not be necessary. 
    • Another study found that delaying post-workout CARB intake by 2 hours didn’t affect muscle glycogen resynthesis. The levels of glycogen remained the same 8 and 24 hours later, suggesting later carb intake may still be beneficial.
    • The only exception that we could find is if you are doing fasted workouts. An older study found fasted exercise to significantly increase post-training muscle breakdown. This would suggest that if you don’t eat before training, it’s important to eat right after.

Moral of the anabolic window story: eat when it makes the most sense to you. if it works for you to eat immediately after a workout, do, but it isn’t going to hinder your results if you can’t eat for a bit after a workout because the window for you to do so is larger than the 30 minute window we’ve been told. We usually suggest just to eat your next normal meal if you aren’t doing fasted workouts. There is also evidence that pre-workout protein can eliminate the need for immediate post-exercise protein consumption

“You get max gains with no rest days.” @headleyactual on IG

MAX OUT OR GET OUT LET’S GOOOOOO! Actually. Let’s don’t.

  1. Days off from the gym might be known as rest days, but really, they’re growth days. This is the time when our bodies have a chance to actually build muscle.
    • Strenuous workouts cause muscle breakdown, while rest allows our bodies to build it back up. If there are no growth days in your routine, continuous muscle breakdown may hinder your progress
  2. Growth days also are the time when our bodies replenish glycogen levels. Glycogen fuels activity. As we exercise, our glycogen gets depleted. When we don’t give our bodies enough time and nutritious food between workouts to replenish this fuel source, we start feeling fatigued and tend to underperform.
    • I’ve tagged an incredibly nerdy study about glycogen here.
  3. Growth days are also essential for mental health. When it comes to training, a good workout can boost endorphins, the “happy hormone,” and help us feel calmer in the moment. However, overtraining can lead to irritability, sleeplessness, diminished performance and decreased appetite, all of which contribute to mental exhaustion and fatigue.
    • Taking two to three days off from intense exercise each week while engaging in some form of active recovery will allow you to get your blood flowing to help facilitate muscle repair.
  4. If physical activity is already a part of your long-term emotional health strategy, try building in active rest for your growth days like yoga or a brisk walk… it will give your muscles time to repair and rebuild without overdoing it. 
    • Avoid pushing your body too hard on these days and instead focus on low-intensity movements that allow you to channel your energy without activating your nervous system.
  5. Signs you need a rest day
    • There are a number of signs to look out for when wondering if you should take a rest day:
      • Finding it hard to wake up
      • Irritability
      • Low motivation
      • Lack of concentration
      • Higher stress levels than usual
      • Having a hard time falling and staying asleep
      • Sustaining injuries 
    • While these are the telltale signs of someone needing a rest day, they’re also very similar to the symptoms most adults experience every week trying to juggle work, health, family and friends.



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