Sports Nutrition Timing
Nutrient timing is a crucial factor in sports nutrition. To maximize energy levels and enhance recovery, it's important to fuel your body before, during, and after exercise at the right times.
Timing nutrient intake strategically is vital for athletes. Consuming a balanced meal or snack containing carbohydrates and proteins before exercise provides the necessary energy and nutrients to sustain performance. Post-workout or post-competition nutrition, within the recovery window, helps replenish glycogen stores, repair damaged muscles, and kick-start the recovery process.
By fueling your body with the right nutrients at the right times, you can optimize your energy levels, enhance recovery, and achieve your athletic goals.
What to Eat before Training
Consuming a balanced meal or snack that includes carbohydrates and proteins about 1-4 hours before exercise can provide a readily available energy source.
3 to 4 hours before training
- fresh fruit
- whole wheat bread, bagels
- whole wheat pasta with tomato sauce
- baked potatoes
- toast/bread with a bit of peanut butter, or cheese
2 to 3 hours before training
- fresh fruits
- whole wheat bread, bagels, pasta
1 hour or less before training
- fresh fruit such as apples, watermelon, peaches, grapes, or oranges
- energy bars
- up to 1 1/2 cups of a sports drink.
What to Drink during Training
During prolonged exercise, consuming easily digestible carbohydrates in the form of sports drinks, energy gels, or bars can help maintain energy levels.
- Isotonic Drinks with Electrolytes and Vitamins
- Protein Drinks
Whey protein acts as a protective measure, reducing muscle breakdown during prolonged exercise.
What to Eat after Training
After exercise, focusing on replenishing glycogen stores and providing adequate protein for muscle repair is essential. Including a post-workout snack or meal with a combination of carbohydrates and proteins within 30-60 minutes of exercise can help kickstart the recovery process.
- Fruit, Veggies, Yogurt
- High quality protein shake to rebuild muscles
If you don't want to eat a full meal late in the evening, drink a health shake with protein.
Blend yogurt, fruit and protein powder with ice for a tasty light meal. Pair the shake with whole grain crackers or a piece of fruit.
- Consuming a balanced meal or snack containing carbohydrates and proteins before and after exercise supports glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery (Aragon & Schoenfeld, 2013).
- Studies have shown that post-exercise carbohydrate and protein ingestion improves muscle glycogen synthesis and enhances recovery compared to carbohydrates alone (Ivy et al., 2002).
- Nutrient timing revisited: Is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10(1), 5. Aragon, A. A., & Schoenfeld, B. J. (2013).