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A friend, who is one of our planet's elite athletes, explained to me that it is best to eat immediately after exercising.

He said that there is a short window after exercising where the body can use the calories and nutrients most efficiently.

Assuming he is correct, how long is this window, and what are the benefits of eating right after exercising?

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What your friend is referring to is commonly called the "Golden hour" or the "Golden Window". It is also dependent on the type of exercise that you are doing.

Many studies have shown that for endurance exercisers that have a need to replace glycogen in both muscles and body storage, that sooner is better, as the body is primed to deliver glycogen to the muscles when it is ingested soon after the workout is finished. A 3:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio has also been identified as being ideal, which corresponds with the profile of chocolate milk. This window used to be thought of as 1-2 hours, but that has been changed to 15-30 minutes as being the best.

This was extrapolated by the supplement industry to blanketly include all exercise as needing refueling immediately after the workout, however this has not been borne out in studies as being more efficient. It can help recover some of the muscle glycogen, but the repair and results are not affected.

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The premise for this notion is based upon glycogen depletion. Replenishing glycogen allows the body to recover better and start working on muscle repair, however, You would need to work out for a few hours to consider that your glycogen might have been depleted. Assuming your friend is an athlete like you claim he probably trains for hours at a time and therefore does benefit from refueling. For most people there is no need to eat right away. Supplement companies will try to convince you otherwise the same way cereal companies will try to convince you breakfast is the most important meal of the day

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You can have immediately after exercising, but you should workout hard for some hours, so that you lose more calories before you eat.

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