From the explosive moment in an Olympic lift to wrist flicks for double unders, timing is critical in the world of CrossFit. It may surprise you to know the same goes for how and when you fuel.
Nutrient timing is a planned alteration of macronutrient intake done to enhance workout performance, reduce body fat and promote overall health. Essentially, this boils down to making the most of what you eat and when you eat it to achieve your fitness goals.
Strategies for nutrient timing center around how the body handles and absorbs different types of food at different times during the day. For example, taking in a few grams of protein after your workout will help your muscles recover and rebuild. More on this in a minute…
When you exercise regularly, your body becomes primed for fat gain or fat loss just as it’s primed for muscle gain or muscle loss during specific times of the day. The wrong foods at the wrong times can sabotage your efforts in the gym; whereas the right foods at the right times will double-down on your efforts.
In addition to balancing your energy and promoting recovery, dialing in your nutrition timing can also help with regulating metabolism, hormones and overall body composition. Diving deeper, it may also help you take advantage of certain anabolic hormones, such as insulin.
So how do you figure out what to eat and when? Ultimately it’s about finding the right formula for your unique body, but there are some tried and true methods to get you started.
What should I have post-workout?
Our bodies respond really well to carbohydrates and protein right after a workout. Generally, whatever you can keep down within 30-min of a sweat session without upsetting your stomach is optimal.
I recommend aiming for 0.4 – 0.8 grams of carbohydrates per kg of your body weight and 0.2 – 0.4 grams of protein per kg of your body weight. For example, for a 165 lbs person (75 kg), I would aim for 30-60 grams of carbohydrates and 15-30 grams of protein immediately after a workout.
What does this actually look like in food?
Try not to overcomplicate this. A scoop of protein powder, such as Ascent, mixed with 10 oz of coconut water or almond milk will get the job done. I also like throwing a piece of fruit in the mix, such as a banana, apple or orange, for some nice clean carbs and extra nutrients.
Got it. Anything I should steer clear of post workout?
Yep! Try to avoid fatty foods right after your workout as they take the body more time to digest and the goal for post-workout fueling is to give it a quick boost following depletion.
If you’re interested in learning more about nutrient timing and how to factor it into your meal plans, let’s chat.