Insulin and After-Workout Meals

Hi. I’m trying to get to the bottom of the post work out meal. For years I’ve operated on the principle that you shouldn’t eat for about 30 minutes after your workout ended, because you don’t want insulin in your system when your body is still going work. This is because of the idea that insulin prevents fat from being burned and leads to catabolic effects on your muscles.

However, now I’m hearing you should eat as soon as you possibly can, in a 4:1 carb to protein ratio to try and create an insulin spike. Supposedly because it helps get glycogen restocked faster and helps get protein in faster.

So now I am confused. I need some help in figuring out what to do. My situation is doing powerlifting type of exercises and trying to build fast-twitch type muscle fiber. I am also a type 1 diabetic who doesn’t produce much insulin naturally, and control when I give most of the insulin. I’d appreciate any advice.

The diabetic aspect of things would make it more complex. However, from a non-diabetic standpoint…

After working out your body is likely to be in a catabolic state. While it will burn fat during this period it will also be catabolizing muscles to some degree.

The idea is that an insulin spike mixed with readily available (fast absorbed) proteins will cause anabolic activity to begin. Thus, muscle catabolism is countered and the recovery process begins.

If I recall, the concern about adding fat is minimal during the post workout phase because the muscles are primed to grab the carbohydrates instead of letting them circulate and be converted to fat for storage.

There are some really good post workout nutrition articles on the site though that will give you the full details instead of just my (vague) recollection of them. The idea is that anabolic activity and recovery is much more valuable than the residual fat burning.