Are There Nutrition & Supplement Windows?

We’ve all heard about the post-workout “anabolic window”.  Are There Nutrition & Supplement Windows? No doubt you’ve heard about other windows of opportunity for bodybuilders. In this article, we will answer the question: Are There Nutrition & Supplement Windows? We’ll also look at the 5% Nutrition supplements that apply and give you information you can use today. 

Exactly How Many “Windows” Are There?

The idea of “windows” really refers to the planning of meals and supplements in the hours around your workouts. With that simple definition in mind, here’s how it looks.


This does not just refer to the obvious 5% pre-workout. It also refers to your pre-workout meal. Serious 5%ers will follow Rich’s advice and have at least 1 meal a couple of hours before their workout. This meal (or meals) should consist of fast-digesting carbs and a protein source. Of course, you’ll want to drink your favorite 5% Nutrition pre-workout about 30 minutes before you train.


Is an intra-workout necessary? The answer is yes, especially if you train for more than an hour, like Rich did. Some sources believe that after an hour in the gym, cortisol levels rise and the body dips into muscle protein for energy.(1) 

However, there are a couple of things that can offset this. First, eat enough carbs in your pre-workout meal (or meals). Think 50% of your total daily carbohydrate intake in the hours around your workout. 

Second, do what Rich did - mix up All Day You May (try delicious Maui Twist flavor!) and sip it while you train. Whether you mix it up normally or turn it into a Slushie like Rich, this makes a ton of sense. All Day You May stands alone as the most innovative amino acid powder on the market, and it begins with its leucine-heavy BCAA complex. This legendary powder will help you stay in an anabolic environment even when you train. 


So where did the idea of a nutrition & supplement “window” come from? The original concept of an “anabolic window” referred to a couple of hours right after your workout. It was believed that this was the ideal time to ingest your macronutrients. The thinking was that the muscles would soak up these macros like a sponge. 

Recent research has suggested that the idea of a post-workout window may not really be a thing. The thinking is that if you’re eating consistently throughout the day, it shouldn’t matter when you eat or drink a shake after your workout, you’ll have macronutrients available. However, most likely, the last meal you had was an hour or 2 before your workout. Now let’s assume you take a while to get to the gym, and you workout for an hour or 2. You’ve probably killed at least 3 hours, maybe 4. Do you want to wait another 1-2 hours before you drink a shake or eat a meal?(2)

Wouldn’t it make sense to do what Rich did and have your post-workout shake once you’ve ended your workout? Why not - it’s not like it’s going to hurt anything. Drink your shake, and then you can eat when you get hungry. 

Here’s An Example Nutrition/Supplement Window Schedule

Pre-Workout Meal

This meal should consist of simple carbs such as sweet potatoes, white rice, instant oatmeal, or rice cakes. Protein sources can be egg whites, Greek yogurt, or cottage cheese. Alternatively, you can also have 1-2 servings of Real Carbs, add in some oatmeal, and mix in Shake Time. True, Rich added in egg whites, but a real food powder like Shake Time was not available then. No doubt if it had been, he’d use it. 

5% Pre-Workout

Of course, 5% offers several pre-workouts to fit your needs. From the stim-free Full As F*ck  (try Maui Twist flavor!) to the full bore 5150 or Kill It RTD, there’s a Pre for everybody.

5% Intra-Workout

Mix up All Day You May as either a drink in cold water or a partially frozen Slushie. Feel free to mix in Core Creatine Monohydrate

5% Post-Workout

You can wait for an hour or so, or you can do what Rich did and have a Real Carbs shake with a protein source immediately after your last set. Fast forward to right now and 5% has Real Carbs + Protein. Or, use Real Carbs or Real Carbs Rice, and Shake Time. 

Post-Workout Meal

About an hour to an hour and a half later, sit down to the lean protein source of your choice, and high to medium glycemic carbs. For example, 6-8 oz chicken or lean beef with ¾ cup of rice. 


Are There Nutrition & Supplement Windows? Indeed, some meals and supplements may not have to be consumed within a specific timeframe, there’s no reason not to. Eat your pre and post-workout meals, and drink your pre, intra, and post-workout shakes. Rich did, and if it was good enough for him, it should be good enough for you!


  1. Daly, W., Seegers, C., Timmerman, S., & Hackney, A. C. (2004). PEAK CORTISOL RESPONSE TO EXHAUSTING EXERCISE: EFFECT OF BLOOD SAMPLING SCHEDULE. Medicina Sportiva (Krakow, Poland: English ed.), 8(1), 17–20.
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