The fitness industry has been in an uproar the past year about not only whether strict dieting is the best approach to health and fitness, but if it’s an approach that has any advantages or relevance at all. This is in large part thanks to a series of video logs put out by Dr. Layne Norton last year, in which he lambasted “fitness gurus” who preach about “clean eating” and overly-oppressive, dogmatic diets.
The videos were mainly geared toward those prepping for fitness competitions and some of the voodoo-type myths that persist in that particular area of nutrition. As a side note, and somewhat ironically, his own concepts of “metabolic damage” and “metabolic capacity” that were one of the main subjects of these videos have been argued to potentially fall into the very category he was criticizing, which can be read about in this article.
A few months after Dr. Norton’s video series came out, another game-changing event took place in the form of a retrospective analysis of a large collection of prior studies that had supported the idea of a narrow “window of opportunity” post-workout. Essentially during this “window,” an athlete could allegedly maximize muscle gain by ingesting fast-absorbing protein (like whey protein supplements) as quickly as possible following their workout.
After controlling for important variables, such as the total daily volume of protein ingested (something that hadn’t previously been equated in the test and control groups, nor had been compared between individual studies), it was shown that the statistically-significant results that had previously been attributed to this narrow window of opportunity were in fact, related to total protein intake rather than the immediacy of ingestion post workout. In other words, eating MORE protein in general each day is much more important when it comes to muscle gain than how quickly after your workout you eat that protein.