10 Apr Nutritional Timing: Does it Matter?
If you even remotely enjoy any kind of physical activity, then you’re probably aware of the importance of good nutrition.
After all, you are what you eat, and your body can go only as far as what you consume on a day-to-day basis.
While having a balanced nutrition should be an active part of any exercise program, what often isn’t stressed on enough is nutritional timing.
Why is timing your nutrient intake important?
What happens when you don’t time your nutrition right?
The Importance of Nutritional Timing
When working with, say, a personal trainer, we’re always told what to eat and how much of it to eat.
But rarely are we brought up to speed on the importance of timing that nutrition.
Our body is a wonderful maze of chemical reactions.
In a way, it’s like a high-performance engine – and when that ‘engine’ is fed the right kind of ‘oil’ at the right time, it performs exactly as intended.
It would probably be a cliché to use the term “well-oiled machine” at this point, but it couldn’t be more apt, to be honest – timing nutrient delivery can not only have amazing effects on your exercise performance but also help in other areas of life in a major way – such as work productivity, stress levels, intimacy, relationships, etc.
The key thing to remember is that your body is primed to absorb nutrients a lot better at certain times of the day.
For instance, if you wake up first thing in the morning and leave for work with nothing but a cup of coffee, then you’re not doing yourself justice.
You’re going to get a nice sugar + caffeine kick in the morning, your insulin will rise and then fall dramatically – leaving you tired around noon.
To overcome this phenomenon, you will probably go for a second cup of coffee and have something that’s sweet or salty to curb your cravings for the time being.
On the other hand, if you wake up and have a glass of water first thing in the morning and follow it up with a hearty (not heavy) breakfast of, say, oatmeal and berries along with an egg or two and some bran toast, then you’re all set.
Now you have a steady stream of energy, and enough protein and complex carbohydrates in your system to actually keep your metabolism chugging away efficiently.
You’ll have plenty of energy to spare and will feel active throughout the day.
Try doing the same around noon or around lunch time, and you won’t reap the same benefits – unless you’re following some kind of intermittent fasting routine.
Nutritional Timing – Your Secret Weapon
We can apply the same scenario to post-workout nutrition.
After a gruelling one-hour weight training session, if you wait more than an hour or a few hours to have your meal, you’ll likely burn up more muscle than necessary.
However, if you ingest your meal within 30-45 minutes of your workout, your body is going to rapidly soak up that nutrition to kick start the repair process.
Since we’re on the subject, try having a chocolate bar with a protein shake post-workout versus the same right before bed.
In case of the latter, it’s guaranteed that you’ll gain more weight than anything else.
Timing your nutrition matters big time, and we’ve barely scratched the surface here.