Nutrient Timing for Optimal Performance
Let’s avoid calling this a diet. Think of the body as a vehicle and what you eat, is fuel. When preparing for a race, you’d want to have high octane fuel in the tank, right? But during a commute, you might just want to keep your engine running as calm and smoothly as possible.
Once we start thinking about our body differently – meaning we have the ability to manipulate our hormones and the ways we use our energy systems – we can prime our bodies for performance and achieve the results we want. Higher performance -> greater results.
Phases of Nutrient Timing
- Pre-Wod (before your pump)
- Post-Wod (prime pump phase)
- Social Media-ing (aka the rest of the day)
Simply put, 1-2 hours before exercise, consume 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein.
Exercise requires energy. Energy comes from glycogen. Glycogen is derived from carbohydrates. Once glycogen is gone, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol is a catabolic (bad for muscles) hormone, so we don’t want it in our system for long. To get rid of it, ingest carbs. More importantly, reduced glycogen results in reduced force production and muscle weakness.
Side note on cortisol – it’s pretty shisty. In its response to stress and low blood glucose it steals amino acids (protein from muscles) and sends them to the liver to make new glucose (glucagon). While glucagon breaks down fat and increases blood glucose levels we prefer to derive our glucose from the foods we consume. Hence why nutrient timing is so important. Don’t let the gainz thief steal your muscles well deserved amino acids.
So, before exercise, consume like 32g of carbs and 8g protein adjusting, of course, for your body weight.
Post-Wod (do this one thing to recover better)
45 minutes after exercise, consume 3:1 carbs to protein.
During this 45 minutes, our levels of insulin sensitivity are super freaking high. Our body’s hormones are trying their best to repair the damage you just inflicted on them and decrease inflammation (aka the muscle joint pump that you can’t see in the mirror so you don’t really know if it exists until you bend over and feel sharp pains everywhere and realize your joints hurt all the time because you don’t stretch or mobilize, because again, you can’t see “flexibility” in the reflection of car windows as you leave the gym with your amazing arm pump).
Anyways, 45 minutes after exercise, our muscle cell membranes are super permeable to glucose uptake because of our increase levels of insulin sensitivity. Consume carbs because they help with protein synthesis too!
Social Media Time (aka the rest of your life)
Consume a 1:5 carb to protein ratio with a decent amount of healthy fat (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated). If you don’t know what that is, click this link.
This is technically when your muscles will be growing, strength will be solidifying and fat will be slowly melting off like the ice caps in the Arctic (or my knee caps on the turf).
During this time, we want to do our best to maintain insulin sensitivity. Don’t let your stupid body get used to carbs so when you do give it carbs, it responds favorably ie. increases insulin! And insulin, we already know from this post, is an anabolic hormone that enhances glucose uptake for muscle contractions.
So there ya have it. Eat to perform and perform better. Perform better and achieve better results. Achieve your results and your goals become realities. Your body is a vehicle – don’t put sugar in the gas tank.
For more information, see detailed research here.