When do You Eat for Optimal Fitness Nutrition?
Fitness Nutrition is a hot topic for fitness instructors these days in relation to strength and conditioning and reaching your true potential. Is it really that important when you eat or can you continue as you always have and still be successful in your fitness nutrition goals?
The Key To Success
Regardless if you are a bodybuilder who is preparing for a competition, an endurance athlete training for an event or the average individual looking to change their body composition, fitness nutrition timing can be the key to successfully reaching your desired goal.
So where do you start? For the average person, who is looking to change their body composition or simply improve their overall health, begin by focusing on food quality and quantity. Next, eliminate nutrient deficiencies and eat specifically for your body type.
Infofit’s Fitness Nutrition Certificate Program founder Dr. Cory Holly of the Cory Holly Institute says “Both timing of nutrition and quality of food consumed represent two variables in the dimension of health, fitness nutrition and athletic performance.”
Pre Exercise Meal
Before exercise, consume a meal consisting of lean protein, carbohydrates and some healthy fat. The protein will help to maintain or help you increase your lean muscle size where as the carbohydrates will help preserve muscle and liver glycogen, fuel your training, and will also stimulate the release of insulin which will prevent the breakdown of protein. A serving of healthy fat in your fitness nutrition pre-workout meal will aid in slowing digestion to maintain blood glucose and insulin. It will also provide important vitamins necessary in everyone’s diet.
Nutrient Timing for Athletes
Regarding the importance of nutrient timing for athletes, Dr. Holly says, “As the demands of athletic performance become greater and comparable to the elite and Olympic athlete, any and every variable you can possibly imagine becomes larger than life. In the 100 m event, hundreds of seconds make or break the outcome at the finish line.”
Post Workout Nutrition
Post workout nutrition, as part of your fitness nutrition plan, is meant to enhance your recovery, help you refuel for your next workout, and repair muscle.
Athlete’s Window of Opportunity
Consuming a post workout shake immediately following your workout will begin the healing process. Dr. Holly states “After training, a biochemical window opens up called the Athlete’s Window of Opportunity, it’s an opportunity for infection (due to depletion and exhaustion), and/or an opportunity for optimum repletion to enhance recovery and replenish. We are only as strong as our weakest link.” He goes on to say “Immediately after my workouts, meaning in the locker room, I add 250ml of water to 50-75g of whey protein isolate, 10g L-Glutamine and 5g D-Ribose, shake it up with water in a shaker cup, then take it down the hatch. I’ve been doing this for 20+ years.”
Failing to eat within a two-hour window following training can slow recovery. If your fitness nutrition pre-training meal was a small one or you ate it several hours before training, then it’s probably more important for you to get that post-workout meal into your system pretty quickly. Probably within an hour.
After your post workout shake here is an example of what a meal of whole foods should look like using your hand size to estimate portions.
Men Should Eat a Meal Consisting of:
- 2 palms of protein
- 2 cupped handfuls of carbs
- 2 fists of vegetables
- 2 thumbs of fats
- low-calorie beverage or H2O
Women Should Eat a Similar Meal Consisting of:
- 1 palm of protein
- 1 cupped handfuls of carbs
- 1 fist of vegetables
- 1 thumb of fats
- low-calorie beverage or H2O
You are probably thinking that there is too much here for you to remember and perhaps implement into your own daily routine. Those individuals who are really successful at mastering their fitness nutrition program and eating to make changes in their performance or body composition do so by changing one aspect at a time. Once they have that new habit down pat, they then begin to include a second new habit into their daily routine. Dr. Holly states “The best approach for a domesticated human athlete is to be as organized and as rational as possible.”
Improve Your Fitness Nutrition
Give these simple tips a try and improve your fitness nutrition habits today.
This article is crafted by Lisa Gervais, BCRPA SFL, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, Sports Nutrition Educated
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