Nutrition Timing Can Produce Serious Results
Wednesday | January 25, 2017
By Richard Harrison, iGenFIT
Nutrition is one of those love hate relationships for many people. You love how you look when you follow through with it, but you hate how much time and effort it can require to perfect. It can also become quite the task when you start counting macros or calories, or other forms of dieting. This adds an entirely new level of time-consumption.
Whether you’re a fitness addict, or just a general health lover, nutritional timing plays a key role in the physical and emotional well-being of your body. It can affect your levels of energy, body image, even your mental sharpness.
This post is going to cover a few quick tips on timing the main nutritional groups:Calories,protein, carbohydrates, and fats.
Daily Caloric Intake
The amount of calories you consume each day depends on a number of variables including your age, weight, activity level, and goal. The easiest way that I’ve found to determine the number of calories as well as the 3 main nutrient groups (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) is to use an app called Fitocracy Macros. It’s a free app that lets you setup a profile based on these variables, Then each day you log in it asks if it’s a training day, or a rest day. Depending upon what you choose it will display a pie chart showing you how many grams of each nutrient you should take in. It’s very quick and simple to use.
Protein: Protein intake is very important. Your protein intake will not vary on training days or rest days. It will vary based on your goal. If you are looking to build muscle or increase strength, you will increase your protein intake. If you are looking to maintain or lose fat, you will take in the same amount. In order to maintain your weight, you should consume 1g. of protein for each lb. or weight. If you weigh 200 lbs., you will need to take in 200g per day of protein. If you are looking to increase strength or hypertrophy you will want to take in 1.2-1.5+g. per lb. of body weight.
Some foods that have a higher concentration of protein per unit volume include: beef, salmon, peanut butter, chicken, turkey, spinach, tuna, peas, and nuts.
Protein powder in its many different forms, is a good way to supplement the protein needed to maintain or even increase your intake. In general we do not get enough protein from our food intake because it would require us eating much more food which in turn adds calories, carbs, and fats. There are many different types of protein powders (whey, whey isolate, casein, egg, plant, soy, etc.).
In general, the two most common, are whey protein and casein. I recommend using both, especially for hypertrophy and strength goals. If your budget allows, I recommend replacing regular whey protein powder with whey isolate. Whey isolate is the purest and most readily metabolized protein you can buy. Whey and whey isolate are great for supplementing protein during the day as they are a faster protein and are therefore made readily available for your body to continue recovery while you are up and about.
I recommend using casein, just before going to sleep. Casein is a slow protein and takes a while for your body to metabolize. While you are sleeping for 6-8 hours, your body isn’t getting the protein it needs for your muscles to recover. With casein, it sits in your digestive system throughout the night, providing your body the protein it needs for your muscles to recover fully. If you do not take casein before bed, your body goes into a fasting state. In this case, you will want to have a nutritious, simple carbohydrate first thing in the morning, so your body can use it for energy instead of turning to your muscles for energy.
Our favorite brand for any protein is Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard. They tend to have a high quality protein and maintain higher standards for their supplements and their purity.
Note: Whey and whey isolate are derivatives of lactose. If you are lactose intolerant there are other types of protein that may be better for you. Whey generally provides you with the most grams of protein by volume. The next closest that I have found is a bio-engineered beef protein called Carnivor. Whole Foods stores have some very good plant-based and vegan proteins.
Carbohydrates: On training days, you generally want to take in more carbohydrates, than resting days, because your body needs the carbohydrates for energy during your training. If your goal is weight loss, you still want to take in more carbohydrates than resting days, but this will be lower than your current intake. For carbohydrates, you want to stick to foods that are complex carbohydrates, such as whole grains, for a most of your day. If you aren’t taking casein before sleep, you will want to start your day off with a simple carbohydrate like oranges, other fruits, or honey. After your first meal you want to switch back to complex carbs. It’s not a good idea to eat complex carbs later than 1 hours before your training session. Immediately before and after your workout, within 30 minutes, you will again want to consume simple carbohydrates. 2-3 hours after your workout you will switch back to complex carbohydrates for the remainder of the day. These carbs include white rice, oranges, honey, pixy sticks, white bread, etc.)
Good Fats: Fat is not something that you want to avoid. In fact, your body actually needs it to survive.
Fun Fact: If you do not consume fat, or try to avoid it, you are actually hurting your fat loss goals. Your body will start to store more fat because it thinks you are starving it.
Your intake of fats should be lower on training days, because your body is getting the extra energy and calories from the carbohydrates. In order to maintain your calories you will want to drop the fats as a trade off for more energy during training sessions. Some examples of good fats include olive oil, coconut oil, avocado, fish oil (capsules), flaxseed, nuts (try to avoid cashews), and peanut butter (natural/no sugar). There are plenty more out there, but these are common household staples for many people.
Carbohydrates: On rest days, you want to decrease your carbohydrate intake because you are not physically exerting your body. It is also best to consume complex carbohydrates so your body has higher levels of energy stores. With simple carbs on rest days, instead of burning off the carbohydrates as energy for your muscles, your body will begin storing it as fat because it has been metabolized quickly and isn’t needed.
Good Fats: On rest days, you want to increase your good fat intake. This is to maintain your daily caloric intake. However, an additional benefit of increasing your fat intake, is that your muscles and joints need fat to recover. Fat helps repair muscle tissue and joints, so it’s better to increase its intake on rest days.
As most people are probably familiar with, a cheat meal is a meal that does not fit within your daily caloric intake. It’s a meal that you can eat as much of whatever it is that you want without question. However, a cheat meal is also only one meal. Cheat meal is not an entire day full of cheat foods. During this program, it is recommended that you try to stick to your daily caloric intake except for one meal per week. If you want real results, it is going to require 21 days of discipline and dedication.
1-2 hours before training session you should try to take in some light carbohydrates, such as whole-wheat toast with sliced bananas. This will allow you time to metabolize the food for an energy boost.
If you are going to take a pre-workout supplement, this should be taken 20-30 minutes. Natural alternatives to supplements for a pre-workout include honey, oranges, and caffeine pills. You can combine caffeine pills with honey or oranges for a greater boost in energy.
Much of nutrition boils down to your goal, and your caloric intake. A general rule for caloric intake is, if you want to lose overall weight, either its fat or not, you should decrease your daily caloric intake. If you want to gain mass, you should increase your daily intake.
The goal of gaining muscle and losing weight will be different from losing weight no matter what. One will allow you to keep the muscle you have built up, and the other will cause you to lose both muscle and fat. It depends upon how your calories are spread out. In order to keep muscle and lose fat, keep your protein intake constant and cut out the carbs or fats depending upon whether you are training or not.
The easiest way to keep muscle is to provide it the proper amount of protein to sustain itself. Once it runs out of protein to continue building it will turn to your muscles first as a source of protein and energy and then to your carbs and fats. If you do not have enough carbs and fats in your diet, it has nothing but your muscle to take from. Instead of losing weight you will actually cause your body to eat away at the muscle in order to maintain weight. You will essentially lose your muscle mass and increase in fat storage.
Never go without fat. It is a vital part of bodily functioning. Eating fat will actually increase the likelihood of burning it. If your body isn’t getting fats, it will believe that it is starving itself and turn to muscles for energy and nutrients.
For more personalized nutrition, you can check out our Lifestyle Training Programs which will be released in mid-February, 2017.
Check back in tomorrow for our post on:
How an appropriate and goal-oriented pace can maximize your results and minimize the amount of time you need to spend in the gym.