By timing your nutritional intake you can fire up your metabolism, regulate your hormones and energy levels whilst gaining an edge in your workout performance.
There are many hormones stimulated in your body when busting a move at the gym. The main catabolic hormones are epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol and glucagon. These help disperse nutrients to produce energy and deliver the nutrients cells need.
Anabolic hormones on the other hand support muscle growth, repair muscle tissue, control the bodies response to inflammations and help regulate your metabolism. These hormones include insulin, testosterone, IGF-I and growth hormone.
Elevating hormones such as insulin allows your body to respond much more effectively to carbohydrate intake, when timed correctly. allowing your body to function much more efficiently.
Carbohydrates that are absorbed slowly help control your insulin response. This is why eating low GI carbs is important in not getting that 3.30pm snack attack. Swapping white rice and potatoes for brown rice and sweet potato are a good alternative. Refined carbohydrates elevate blood triglyceride levels as well as bad cholesterol which in turn leads to insulin resistance.This slows your metabolism and hinders the way your body responds to carbohydrates, affecting how your body digests and stores fat.
There are three main phases in nutrient timing. These include;
1) The energy phase (pre and post workout)
2) The anabolic phase (45 minutes after a workout)
3) The growth phase (rest of the day)
The energy phase is when you’re completing your actual workout. Glycogen is what is fuelling your body during exercise. When your body is low in glycogen stores, your muscles start to fatigue and your performance to complete high intensity exercise is affected. Lots of athletes will fuel their muscle with high carbohydrate drinks like Gatorade during this phase but for the common gym workout, this isn’t really necessary. A good alternative is a branched amino acid BCAA formula in water to replenish your body.
Straight after your workout in the anabolic phase, your body handles carbohydrates much more effectively. This is when you’ll want to replenish your muscle with carbs and protein to stop your body from any more muscle damage. Consuming carbs during the post-workout period, also known as the “anabolic window” of around forty-five minutes post workout, allows you to replace muscle glycogen and branched amino acids (BCAAs), aiding muscle recovery and strengthening your immune system. This is when you can have your protein shake. Make sure your protein powder contains no artificial fillers and sweeteners and is at least 90 per cent protein per 100 grams.
When your body enters the growth phase, this is when muscles start to repair, grow and strengthen. This is why overtraining is a bad idea, as you don’t give your body enough time to recover, giving you the results you want.