How important is nutrient timing?

Frequent snacks vs intermittent fasting? A combination of both? It’s tough to pick when the most important thing for a healthy lifestyle is balance – a combination of exercise, nutrition and sleep.

Pre-exercise

Nutrient timing is important before exercising. It’s important to fuel yourself well before you exercise. That supports both performance and recovery. In the hours before a workout you should be eating with purpose, targeting sustained energy for increased performance and hydration.

Protein

  • Protein is great before exercise as it helps to build and maintain muscle, helping to improve both performance and body composition.
  • It can also reduce or prevent muscle damage – helping to improve recovery time.
  • Protein boosts the ability of your body to produce muscle as it fuels your blood with amino acids – taking them to where your body needs them.

Carbohydrates 

  • They will fuel your training, especially helping keep up energy during high intensity sessions.
  • It preserves the glycogen in both your muscle and liver by signalling to your brain that you are well fed. This helps to increase both muscle retention and growth.

It doesn’t have to be complicated! You can achieve a good nutrient timing pattern by having a normal meal in the hours before exercise, or a snack just before your session. If it is in advance by 2-3 hours, have a mixed meal and a low-calorie beverage (such as water).

Post-exercise

Movement consumes a lot of nutrients. Post-exercise, your muscles require glucose to use it as fuel or as an energy store. Studies have found that you have a couple of hours (both before and after your training) to get benefits from nutrient timing. Still, data suggests that the total amount of protein and carbohydrate you eat over the course of your day is the most important variable.

We’re unique – to find what is best for you, try a few different nutrient timing options until finding the balance that really keeps you going!

Jess

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