DOES THE TIMING OF YOUR NUTRITIONAL INTAKE MATTER IN SUPPORTING YOUR FITNESS GOALS?
When it comes to when we eat, often for many people it comes from a place of hunger, or boredom, or a need for emotional comfort. However, when you are in alignment with your values, and optimising your health is of great importance to you, planning your meals in advance assists in not only maintaining healthy blood sugar levels, but also coping with physical and mental stress, as skipping meals can increase cortisol, and if done consistently for a period of time this can lead to anxiety, insomnia and ultimately hinder your workout performance.
While nutrient timing is not going to be as much of a priority for the everyday enthusiast looking to simply maintain a healthy lifestyle, as it will be to an elite athlete, it can still be beneficial, particularly if you are regularly doing resistance training and want to support your recovery and your next training sessions performance.
The macronutrient manipulated most commonly in nutrient timing is carbohydrates. If you usually train for an hour or less per session, it’s likely you won’t require a nutrient timing strategy for pre workout (unless you’re an athlete) as your muscle glycogen stores are likely full, so long as you have a consistent eating pattern.
Carbohydrates consumed post training can be supportive in recovery and replenishing depleted glycogen instead of being stored as fat. While 20-25 grams of protein consumed post training stimulates protein synthesis which is an important process for repair and recovery.
For fitness enthusiasts who are looking to support their training and improve performance, establishing sustainable nutrition and lifestyle habits while choosing to consume mostly nutrient dense wholefoods such as organic meat, fish, eggs, plain yoghurt, nuts, beans, antioxidant rich vegetables and fruit is a good practice to establish.
As mentioned earlier, post workout is the prime time to eat carbohydrates as the muscles are most sensitive to insulin, so the consumed carbs will be stored as energy and not fat.
For people who have trouble sleeping including dense carbohydrate foods such as sweet potato within the evening meal, can lower the stress hormone cortisol, and raise the relaxing neurotransmitter serotonin so you can achieve restful sleep, and if you are looking for peak performance, optimising your sleep is key.