How Nutrient Timing May Enhance Your Training Performance

Nutrient timing is known by many to be a useful tool for enhancing workouts, training performance and weight loss goals.  Others think there is no point to the nutrient timing at all.  Let's take a look at what nutrient timing really is.  As you most probably know and as a health copywriter we spiel that nutrient timing is all about adding specific nutrients, in particular amounts, at specific times.  Without becoming overly obsessed with every meal you eat, try to create meals and snacks with a mixture of quality protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and an abundance of antioxidant-rich fruit and vegetables. Eating every three to four hours may help balance your blood sugar levels.  Balanced blood sugar levels really help with keeping your energy up throughout the day and especially during your workouts.  Some prefer snacking every two hours.  This is another good way of keeping your energy up.  Trial various approaches to see what works best for enhancing everyone's training performance.  Regardless of which approach you take, eating about 20 - 30 grams of quality protein with every meal is a good aim for healthy muscles.

Pre-Workout Nutrient Timing

A pre-exercise meal is to top up liver glycogen which depletes overnight during your sleep. Avoid eating any new foods, too much fibre or spices.  Avoid overeating.  To prevent ‘hitting the wall’ muscle glycogen stores must be topped up regularly during extended exercise. The amount of quality nutrition varies depending on duration, body weight, intensity, training status and goals.

Mid-Workout Snack Ideas

Enhance your workout with an easily digestible carbohydrate that enters the bloodstream quickly.  It helps to offset fatigue and sustain continued training.  Other nutrient-dense snacks you might like at different times during the day include.

  • Raw vegetable sticks with hummus

  • Seaweed or rice crackers with dips

  • Dips and spreads; avocado, hummus, tahini, yoghurt dip, cottage cheese, labne, nut butters, pesto

  • Dried fruit with some nuts and seeds (almonds, Brazil, cashews, walnuts, sunflower and pumpkin)

  • Fruit, ideally low fructose e.g. blueberries

  • Greek Style Yoghurt

  • Feta, sardines, tuna, rocket, tomato, avocado on crackers

  • Good quality energy bars

  • Whey protein smoothie

What To Eat Post-Workout

Whey protein is easily digested and has a high concentration of essential amino acids compared to other protein sources.  It is unrivalled for its ability to increase muscle mass in the post-workout period.  Try eating within an hour of your workout.  This will help build lean muscle and replenish your energy levels.

Don't Forget Hydration

Coconut water is a natural electrolyte perfect before, during or after a workout. Water with the juice of a lemon added helps alkalise the body.  Other ideas include.

  • Fresh squeezed vegetable and fruit juices – especially carrot, celery, spinach, beetroot, ginger

  • Water. 1.5 – 2 litres per day,

  • Limit intake of coffee and regular tea

  • Herbal teas such as peppermint, chamomile, rosehip, dandelion coffee, green tea,

Ditch The Sugar

Try removing refined sugar from your diet.  Refined sugar, due to its high fructose content has a damaging effect on our health and may also raise inflammatory levels within your body.  High inflammatory levels may increase aches and pains.  If weight loss is one of your goals, you might be interested in this article by Women's Health.

Raw Cacao Chia Seed Bliss Bar

Raw cacao chia seed bliss bar is an excellent recipe for keeping your energy up throughout the day and for balancing blood sugar levels.  I am always trying to sneak chia seeds into everything.

Afternoon snacks can be one of my weaknesses if I haven’t balanced my blood sugars throughout the day. An excellent energising breakfast and eating small amounts of quality protein throughout the day helps stabilise blood sugar levels.  Soaking nuts overnight activate the nutritional enzymes.

Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), which is a type of fat that behaves differently from other fats.  MCFA fats are great for weight loss and energy.  The healthy fats found in coconut oil are absorbed straight into the cell where they are immediately burned up as energy.  This makes them less likely to be stored as fat.  MFCA fats contain high levels of lauric acid, which help strengthen the immune system.  I love cooking with coconut oil.  It won’t turn into harmful trans-fats when heated at higher temps.

Ingredients

1 cup dates

2 cups cashew nuts

1 cup pecan

1/2 tsp matcha green tea

2 tbs coconut oils

5 tbs cacao

5 tbs chia seeds

1 cup goji berries

Method

Put all the ingredients into your food processor.  Whizz until it reaches the consistency you desire.  I like a chunky texture so I don't whizz for too long.

Press the mixture into a lined baking tray or roll into round balls to make bliss balls.

Put in the fridge for a few hours before eating.