As nutritional methods such as Intermittent Fasting have grown in popularity we have seen an increasing number of people turning their attention to the subject of nutrient timing.
There are some who will argument that when you eat your food is more important than the actual amount you consume.
While there is some merit to this, it is important to consider the context.
The Relevance of Nutrient Timing
How relevant nutrient timing is to you will depend on your goals and your level of experience in exercise.
If your primary focus is on building as much muscle as possible while retaining your current levels of body fat then it is important to ensure that the bulk of your nutrition is centered on the periods before, during, and after your workouts.
This means eating a pre-workout meal with plenty of complex carbs, and some fat to slow digestion and thus ensure a steady supply of nutrients to keep your blood sugar levels stable.
This also means utilizing an intra-workout drink with liquid carbs and amino acids to keep your insulin levels high, cortisol levels low, and aid recovery overall.
In this example we would say that nutrient timing is important because we want to maximize the efficiency of our diet and training to get the greatest results from our efforts.
If, on the other hand, you are not particularly concerned with making progress in the gym and you simply want to lose weight then your primary focus should be on simply eating fewer calories throughout the day.
As it turns out, Intermittent Fasting and Carb Backloading can be effective ways of achieving this because you will typically be eating the majority of your calories later in the day, thereby going most of the day without actually consuming any calories at all.
Context is Important
If you are serious about making progress with your training then you should ensure you are doing your utmost to fuel your workouts and aid your recovery so that you can keep coming back bigger, stronger, faster, or whatever it is you’re hoping to achieve.
This is applicable regardless of whether you’re training for a bodybuilding competition, a triathlon, or a Tough Mudder event; the only factor that will change is the overall quantity of food you eat.
We can see that nutrient timing does play an important role in many aspects of exercise; however, it is less relevant to beginners of any pursuit because it is far easier to make progress in the early stages while the body is still primed for adaptation.
Our advice would be to look to the people who have excelled in your chosen activity so that you can emulate what they did in the early days.
Taking this more focused and contextual approach will enable you to determine what is going to really make a different, rather than simply jumping on the bandwagon of the latest fad diet!