Maximize Your Performance With Nutrient Timing
If you’re an athlete, performing at your best will likely require you to be more precise in your meal planning than simply eating when you’re hungry. Taking in specific nutrients at specific times supports the energy, alertness, and recovery you need to stay in peak form.
For instance, an athlete who has to wake up early for a morning training session should eat a larger dinner the night before and plan for a post-workout breakfast that’s high in protein and carbohydrates.
For someone exercising right after work, it’s important to eat something for lunch that is lower in fat and won’t weigh you down.
If you’re eating lunch more than a few hours before you get to the gym, also remember to have a pre-workout source of carbohydrates to fuel your training.
The Average Exerciser
While nutrient timing is essential for athletes when meal planning, it can also be highly beneficial for the average exerciser as well.
Thinking about food as fuel for your body can allow you to free yourself from the temptation of giving into impulse cravings by reminding yourself of your goals and schedule.
Hungry at 3:00 pm and see chocolate chip cookies in the break room? If you’re planning to do cardio at 5:00 pm, you don’t want to eat such a high-fat, low-protein snack beforehand. A whole grain granola bar or a non-fat Greek yogurt will serve as much better fuel for the body.
And going to a last-minute happy hour the night before a big workout becomes less appealing when you think about how groggy you might feel the next morning. Instead, it would be better to wait for a night when you can sleep in the next day to indulge in a drink or two.
Take Home Message
Be deliberate with your dietary choices and the timing of eating certain foods, particularly in relation to your workouts. Nutrient timing is a topic that I commonly discuss in my nutrition seminars and with individual clients, especially with athletes whose performance can hinge on their pre-, intra-, and post-workout food choices.
If you have questions about how to time your meals and snacks for your workouts or everyday life, please leave me a comment or e-mail me!