How Does Nutrient Timing Matter?


Does Nutrient Timing Matter?

Hello All!!!

Ever heard of nutrient timing? It refers to eating foods at strategic times in order to achieve some outcomes. It is considered essential for the growth of muscles, fat loss and sports performance. You must already be doing it when you rush for a meal post workout. Apart from being popular, the research done in this area is not quite convincing.

Here is what you need to know about nutrient timing!

Nutrient timing has been used for more than 50 years by professional bodybuilders and athletes. Studies have been done and nutrient timing has been promoted as the key for fat loss, muscle gain and for improvement in performance. However, the studies in this regard are rendered insufficient.

nutrient timing plate

The anabolic window

The ‘anabolic window’ is based on the idea that the body absorbs nutrients best 15 to 60 minutes post exercise. Many fitness enthusiasts and professionals consider this as an important fact even though research isn’t adequate.

Principles of the theory:

Carb replenishment

Post workout, an immediate supply of carbs helps in maximizing glycogen stores, that help in improving performance as well as recovery.

Protein intake

Working out tends to break down protein. That is why protein after a workout help in repairing and initiating growth by stimulating MPS or muscle protein synthesis.

The principles to a certain extent are correct. However, human metabolism and nutrition cannot be written in black and white. Studies reveal that most people do not need to replenish carb or protein stores immediately after a workout.

Nutrient timing before a workout

woman_clock_lose weight

Something more important than the anabolic window is a pre-workout window. Based on your goals , the right timing for taking specific supplements can help aid your performance. For instance, performance enhancing supplements such as caffeine should be taken at the right time to have the right effect. The same applies to food. A balanced and east to digest meal consumed 60 to 150 minutes prior to a workout can improve your performance, especially when you have not eaten for many hours. On the other hand, if you want to lose fat, you need to train with less food so that you can burn fat, improve insulin sensitivity and provide other important benefits.

Hydration is also essential. It is essential to drink 300 to 450 ml of water and electrolytes prior to your workout. Also, vitamins may affect your workout performance and may reduce benefits of training. So, avoid taking them close to your workout.

Breakfast nutrient timing

The latest findings say that it does not matter if you eat your breakfast or not. What really matters is what you eat for breakfast. It is recommended that you have a low carb, high fat breakfast that helps in improving energy levels, brain function, burning of fat and at the same time keeps you full. However, these observations are not supported by research. Some studies say that protein based breakfast has a lot of benefits to offer. Ultimately, your breakfast should be made with your dietary preferences and goals in mind.

Night nutrient timing

A popular myth is that you should cut down carb intake at night in order to lose weight. The truth is that cutting carbs reduces calorie intake thus creating a calorie deficit and enabling weight loss. For this timing does not matter! On the contrary, carbs at night can help promote better sleep and relaxation. However, more research is needed to confirm this.

The bottom line – Does nutrient timing matter?

It may work for elite athletes but nutrient timing does not seem significant for those who want to lose weight, improve health or gain muscle.

Hope you found this post useful!

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