Two Common Nutrition and Fitness Myths Debunked

Myth #1:  I have to consume protein after working out.

A common misconception is that you must consume protein as soon as you’re done with a workout, to take advantage of the “anabolic window.” The anabolic window is the time after training where your muscles are repairing and recovering. While consuming protein during the anabolic window does help optimize muscle growth, there’s a misconception that this window only lasts 30 minutes. 

According to Kathryn Langbehn, an LWell Registered Dietitian Nutritionist, “Needing protein right after a workout is more of an exaggeration than a myth.” While there is nothing wrong with consuming protein immediately after training (if that’s what works best for you), it’s not vital for muscle gain. 

Recovery depends on many factors that will vary for each person (e.g., age, hormones, diet, training routine, etc.). Your anabolic window highly depends on the amount of protein you’re eating over the course of the day. The higher your protein intake throughout the day, the longer the anabolic window will be. 

Myth #2: I’ll burn more calories by doing cardio. 

Many people believe that you’ll burn the most calories by doing cardio, but this isn’t exactly true. It is possible to burn just as many calories from weight training and HIIT (high intensity interval training) as you can from aerobic “cardio” exercise. Langbehn states, “Exercise that consumes more oxygen burns more calories.” A huge benefit of lifting weights and doing HIIT is that they increase your EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption). EPOC is when your body continues to burn calories after you’ve stopped working out. The more intense your workout is, the higher your EPOC will be. 

This article was adapted from the LWell Program of Excellence “Debunking Common Health & Nutrition Myths” recorded live on 4/20/21.

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