you need to get your calories in, but allow me to explain why taking your meal (high in carbs, proteins optional* ) ASAP after your workout will help you recover more quickly: Insulin.
Insulin is the body’s ultimate recovery mediator and the time clock that controls how long the recovery window stays open. Insulin levels peak 30-45 minutes after exercise and then fall dramatically. By peaking your blood-sugar levels after a workout insulin levels rise and activate multiple metabolic pathways that will increase quality and speed of muscle recovery:
Insulin replenishes depleted glycogen stores post workout by transporting sugar into the muscle and by activating the enzymes responsible for converting the sugars into glycogen. It also increases the transport of amino acids (lego bricks of protein) into the muscles where it can be used for rebuilding and repair. Thirdly, there are two switches causing protein synthesis; amino acid levels in the blood, and, take a wild guess, insulin.
Insulin inhibits protein breakdown. After a workout, higher breakdown rates of protein cause increased muscle soreness and slows overall recovery. By inhibiting protein breakdown, insulin mediates a faster recovery.
So, by consuming your carbs ASAP post workout you prolong your insulin peak resulting in faster muscle recovery.
*This is where I will surely hit a nerf:
« No proteins in your post workout meal, stopped reading there. »
First of all, I’m talking about muscle recovery. There seems to be no scientific evidence that the rate of recovery of muscle glycogen stores is related to the ergogenic effect of protein supplement. Yes, studies have consistently demonstrated the acute benefits of protein supplementation on post-exercise muscle anabolism, but, to date, acute changes in post-exercise protein synthesis and anabolic intracellular signaling have not resulted in measureable reductions in muscle damage and enhanced recovery of muscle function. Adding protein to your post-workout meal certainly has its benefits, as shown countless times, but when carbs are delivered in optimal rates proteins provide no further ergogenic effect