I have received this question so many times lately. I don't know what's in the water but apparenly post workout meals are.
I always feel I have to give this little disclaimer so I'll go ahead and do that. Everything that I share on my blog is going to be my opinion. If you know the world of health and nutrition, you are going to know that everyone is going to be opinionated on something. My husband laughs at me because he says that I'm anal about everything but also very chill. It's a weird combo but here you will find valuable information and also my opinion.
My opinion is that I think about things practically. Everyone argues over this anabolic window and whether you should eat within this magical hour after your workouts. For this situation's example, let's say that this is true. You can maximize your muscle recovery by hitting nutrition correctly in this anabolic window. What are the percentages that this is going to affect things? I honestly don't think that it's going to make that big of a difference in the long scheme of things so I just eat after workouts because I'm hungry. I don't do some special carb/protein percentages (EXCEPT after my long runs I do), and I just aim to eat more carb than anything else.
However, here is the actual good information that is not me blowing hot air.
You want to eat a simple carb source before your workout so that you can access that glucose right now to be able to get energy immediately for that workout. You also want to combine that with a quick acting protein (such as egg white albumin aka egg whites). Simple enough right? I aim to have an egg white, fat free cheese on white bread many times about 30 minutes before. This should be 30 minutes to one hour before your workout. I don't take pre-workout. Many do and if that's what you need to get you "hype" then that's cool but I just am weird about putting all those powders into my body every day so I just stay far away. I just use my food as fuel.
After a workout, the storage of glucose which is glycogen needs to be replaced, and the best way to do this is in the form of a simple carbohydrate source again. You combine this with a fast acting protein (egg whites or whey isolate) and BOOM!!! ANABOLIC WINDOW AND INSTANT GAINS!!! That's what they want you to think at least. This is the reason that "everyone" drinks a protein shake post workout. There is nothing magical about the powders in protein. It is simply a fast acting protein and a fast acting carbohydrate source to replace your glycogen but there are many other foods that can do this as well. If you would like to know more information about protein powders, reference this where my husband discusses this.
All jokes aside, research does show that you have been muscle recovery and building if you stick to this form of nutrition post workout. There are many different people that will give you exact numbers to follow and that's great however my belief is that it is so variable on the workout that you did, the person that you are, and your metabolism.
Many argue this anabolic window lasts for one hour. Some studies show that this anabolic window lasts up to 2 hours, and some believe that it doesn't matter at all. But really, can we just be practical and just eat SOMETHING post workout that's not peanut butter. K? K.
You don't want to have this whole nutritious complex carbohydrate meal normally post workout because sometimes it can take your body up to 2 hours to properly digest this, and you want to get that food to those muscles ASAP!!
I wanted to keep this simple and to the point but give y'all a better idea of how to supplement nutrition before and after your workouts but also wanted to state that this is specifically for lifting sessions and the way to optimal "gains" because running nutrition is an entirely different animal.
With love and anabolic windows,