Nutrient Timing and Protein/Supplement Choices
I had a request to write a blog on when I eat my food, if I take pre and post workout and what type of protein powder I choose. So, I am writing a blog on it for you all, not only telling you what I personally do, but also what science says breaking it down.
It’s no secret, I try to eat as clean as possible most of the time, I meal prep all my meals, and I work out, A LOT! So, keep in mind I have to be strict for my health, my recovery, and my job. With that said, my own personal weight loss and transformation of what I want to do with my body is extremely hard because of all the workouts I do. Those workouts, for me, actually negate one another if I don’t have the proper downtime in between workouts. So not only is what you eat and when you eat important for you but when you work out is equally as important. This is one of the reasons why our group class schedule keeps your classes alternating so your body gets the recovery you need to make progress.
Now, let’s get to the important part-what is nutrient timing?
Nutrient timing simply means eating specific nutrients (such as protein or carbs)… in specific amounts… at specific times (such as before, during, or after exercise) (Precision Nutrition).
- Typically, your POST WORKOUT meals are higher in carbohydrates, especially faster-digesting starchy carbs (such as potatoes or rice) or sweeter carbs (such as fruit).
- Your anytime meals are lower in carbs, focusing more on lean protein plus healthy fats and high-fiber vegetables.The science behind this shows that this strategic placement of carbs could help hard-exercising people perform better while getting leaner, stronger, and healthier. (Precision Nutrition).
The basic idea is that after exercise, especially within the first 30-45 minutesor so, our bodies are greedy for nutrients. In theory, movement — especially intense movement, such as weight training or sprint intervals — turns our bodies into nutrient-processing powerhouses.
During this time our muscles suck in glucose hungrily, either oxidizing it as fuel or more readily storing it as glycogen (instead of fat). And post-workout protein consumption cranks up protein synthesis which helps restore the muscle rebuild phase. You will routinely find me drinking a whey protein shake after my workouts or eating ground turkey with wild rice.
In fact, one study even showed that waiting longer than 45 minutes after exercise for a meal would significantly diminish the benefits of training, and who wants that??? (Precision Nutrition).
Some ideas of what to eat and when to eat it
When: Pre-Exercise.The pre-exercise meal should include carbohydrate and protein (approximately 50 g carbs and 14 g protein) 11/2–2 hours before training (Kleiner 2001). You might try a pita pocket with hummus or a bagel with cream cheese and some dried fruit or a peanut butter on sliced bread, a banana and a protein shake are some examples. I eat a slice of sourdough with peanut butter. A pre workout sports drink just before the workout can help provide the extra stamina required to “push” you as well.
When: During Activity.The amount of carbohydrate to consume during resistance training has not been defined; however, drinking 600–1,200 ml of a 6%–8% carbohydrate sports drink per hour can be beneficial (Wildman & Miller 2004). I will routinely drink BCAA’s during my heavy weight training workouts giving me the carbohydrates my body needs but also the protein chain my muscles need.
When: Post exercise.Immediately following a workout, carbohydrates and protein need to be consumed to replenish depleted carbohydrate stores and help with muscle repair. Glycogen needs to be replenished, and carbohydrate combined with protein is the most effective choice.
*You will routinely find me eating ground turkey with wild rice after a workout or I will have Jarrow brand whey protein powder mixed with water or almond milk.
Some areas to keep in mind as you watch what you are eating and trying to be successful with nutrient timing.
- How much are you eating?
Eat until satisfied, instead of stuffed.
- How you are eating?
Eat slowly and mindfully, without distraction.
- Why are you eating?
Hungry, bored, stressed, following peer pressure, social cues, triggered by hyper-rewarding foods?
- What are you eating?
Minimally processed proteins, veggies, fruits, healthy starches, and healthy fats.
- Are you doing #1 to #4 properly, consistently?
Shoot for 80 percent consistency with these items before moving on
And only thenconsider…
- When are you eating?
Now you can consider breakfast, late-night, during your workout, etc.
As you can see, nutrient timing makes the list, but it’s at the bottom. Timing your nutrients can help, but only if you have the other — and much more important — aspects of your eating in order first!!
To Recap & Break It down :
Once you feel like you have your eating under control and you are ready to take your workouts to the next level, focusing on nutrient timing will maximize your workout efforts. You cannot, I will repeat you cannot out exercise a bad diet. So, if you are not ready to clean up any bad eating habits, then nutrient timing won’t be necessary at this stage of your workouts. This is only to be done, if you have specific goals you want to achieve with your workouts.
If so, then:
- consuming a carbohydrate/protein snack an hour to workouts
- Drinking a sports drink of BCAA’s during your workout
- Consuming a high protein/medium carbohydrate within 30-60 minutes post workout
- Eating low carb and healthy proteins and fats for the remainder of the hours during the day
- Getting enough sleep
Following these simple nutrient timing tricks will fuel your workouts and your muscles to gain all you need out of your workouts.
*I personally use Jarrow protein powder always. I usually stick with the chocolate flavor and will sometimes add powdered peanut butter to it and mix with either water or almond milk. Whey protein will give you the highest amino acid chain because of the whey isolate, but not everyone can tolerate it. Same with soy, not everyone can take soy products. With protein powders, mainly you do what your stomach will tolerate. Trying to remember that vegan proteins can be as affective for the muscle recovery for your muscles to repair and rebuild using plants products, you just want it to be a good blend to get the full spectrum you need to make a complete amino acid chain your body can use. The only reason to change out or rotate your protein powders between pea, rice, or whey would be to help your body to be exposed to different nutrients since they are all different. I choose to do this in my variety of fruits and vegetables I eat.
I love “C4” pre-workout but will only take pre-workout when I race, or workout with very high intensity before 11:00 am. The bit of caffeine in any pre-workout will keep me awake at night.
I don’t have a brand of BCAA’s that I am attached to. They are all pretty sweet tasting to me, and I really dilute them.
Because I workout so early in the morning (teaching at 5:30 am) I routinely have my snack and my breakfast switched.
5:00 am-snack-coffee, 1 sliced sourdough with peanut butter
5:30 am-pre workout or BCAA’s depending on my workout
6:45 am-breakfast-3 eggs, ½ cup fruit, coffee with collagen protein added
11:00 am lunch-meal prep either ground turkey with wild rice , or chicken stir-fry or one can of plain tuna with 9 wheat thin crackers and lettuce
2:00 pm snack-either rice cake and peanut butter, or piece of fruit
5:00 or 6:00 pm Jarrow whey protein shake
6:00-8:00 pm (depending on my workday) dinner-meal prep either a stir-fry of chicken or shrimp, or chicken curry
No food after dinner
That pretty much sums up my daily eating routine.
Hope that helps!!!!