Meal timing, commonly known as nutrient timing, involves eating food at strategic times to achieve specific outcomes.
Supposedly, meal timing is essential for fat loss, muscle growth, and sports performance. Professional bodybuilders and athletes have used Meal or nutrient timing for more than 50 years.
Dr. John Ivy, one of the world’s leading researchers in carbohydrate timing, has published numerous studies showing the potential benefits.
The Anabolic Window
The anabolic window seems to be the most commonly referred to aspect of nutrient timing. An anabolic window is also known as the window of opportunity, and it’s based on the idea that our body is in the perfect condition for proper nutrient absorption. This window is within 15 to 60 minutes after exercising.
The anabolic window theory is based on two fundamental principles:
1: Protein Intake: When we work out, it breaks down protein. Post-workout protein will help repair and initiate growth by stimulating MPS or muscle protein synthesis.
2: Carbohydrate Replenishment: After we workout, an immediate supply of carbohydrates helps maximize our body’s glycogen stores, helping improve performance and recovery.
- Nutrient timing might play an essential role in pre-workout nutrition. This is especially so if you want to maximize your performance, health goals, or improve body composition.
- There is no evidence that supports the best approach for nutrient timing breakfast. Breakfast should reflect our dietary goals and preferences.
- Cutting carbohydrates at night isn’t the best tip for weight loss. Carbs help promote sleep; however, there isn’t enough research on this topic yet.
Meal frequency is another nutrient timing idea. It was once believed (sometimes still is) that the best approach to eating involves dividing your daily food intake into smaller meals eaten more frequently.
However, some researchers suggest that we're golden as long as we consume the right foods in proper portions. Meal frequency works, but it’s not necessary as it’s a matter of personal preference. Keep in mind that what works well for one may not work at all for another.
Meal or nutrient timing is a relatively complex subject that would require a book to cover everything exhaustively.
While meal timing can be beneficial for some, it can add layers of unnecessary complexity for others.
In the end, meal timing IS beneficial, but it tends to be more of a headache for those simply trying to lose a bit of extra weight. There are various things to consider when it comes to getting in shape.
What we eat, how we eat, how often we eat, and how much physical activity we regularly get all play a role in our fitness goals. For those interested in meal timing, we suggest speaking to a professional nutritionist to ensure you do it right. If you have health issues, you’ll want to talk to your primary physician to ensure that meal timing is right for your body.
Sometimes the best approach to losing weight and getting in shape