OMG, I’m catabolic.

12 Feb OMG, I’m catabolic.

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“OMG, I’m going catabolic!”, he yelled when he realized he had forgotten his protein shaker, missed the bus and now had to wait 15 minutes before the next one arrived. And when the bus finally did come, 5 minutes into the trip it got a flat tyre, resulting in his usual 20 minute trip home now being 45 minutes!

‘omg fml. my gainz bro. wat a waste of a workout’, he typed on his phone to his friend.

‘wtf man :(‘ his friend replied.

Stressful day for this guy, that’s for sure.

But is there any actual merit in him feeling this way? And when he did finally get home, did he really need those 5+ meals for the rest of the day?


So you may have heard of the special anabolic window of opportunity following a workout where you’re required to ingest a certain amount of protein to refuel your muscles, put you on the path to Schwarzenegger status and keep you from shriveling up into a Sméagol.

smeagolBut the truth is, this is just the supplement companies’ favourite marketing pitch. And what actually is the truth will make you think twice next time you’re thinking of laying down your hard earned cash for some of that powder.


In regards to hypertrophy (i.e. gainz), if you’re consuming a well-balanced diet on a habitual basis (i.e. regularly eating well daily – y’know, protein, carbs, fats), then consuming a protein shake immediately post-training isn’t actually completely necessary [1-4].

For untrained individuals (i.e. people who have never trained before) however, there may be some method behind consuming a protein source after their workout. But most of the signs still point to no [5].

Even when adding in a carbohydrate source that has been said will stimulate and speed up the protein uptake into your “withering” muscles, it still isn’t necessary [6,7 & 12].

And! adding to this, there is no evidence that any supplement is actually even necessary for any sort of optimal muscle growth and/or strength gain [8].

Sorry, guys.



As a mixed meal (protein, carbs, fats) can remain in your system for over 3 hours before your body even starts absorbing it, this gives rise to the fact that if you’re consuming a meal 1-2 (or even less) hours before a workout, then it would still be in your system after that workout, and could actually be considered as a post workout meal [11].

There is even proof that the smallest amount of whey or EAA’s (essential amino acids) ingested pre-exercise can stimulate your muscular amino acid level uptake (transportation of nutrients into the muscle) for up to 3 hours [9-10].

This even furthers the fact that if you are someone that consumes a meal prior to training, regardless of the size, then an immediate protein shake following your resistance workout is again, unnecessary.

What seems to be the best bet at solidifying your gainz is actually your entire intake of protein [14].


For sedentary individuals, consuming as low as 0.6-0.8g of protein per kilogram of bodyweight (BW) is considered to be enough to keep them alive and functioning. For active individuals, some studies point to them needing more depending on how active they are and is around 1.2-1.8g/kg of BW.

Despite this, there are studies stating that no more than the suggested amount for sedentary individuals is indeed necessary for optimal muscle growth and/or strength gain [12, 13].

So by taking into account both of these suggested amounts, a good thing to do would be aim for around a 0.8-1.2g/kg of BW dose. And we could even keep it simple, round it off and set a target for 1g per kilo.


Listen, I’m not telling you to not drink a pre or post-workout protein shake. I’m just giving you the other side of the story that supplement companies/stores or that jacked up PT at you local gym aren’t telling you, so that the next time you forget your shaker, you don’t have a heart attack and break the sound barrier in your mum’s Barina trying to get home fast.

Any questions, drop ‘em below.

Click here for the references.

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Hayden Perno
Hayden Perno