Posted on July 30, 2020 by Caitlyn Miller
Meal timing is one of those topics where you will always hear varied opinions. Some experts say that, “Yes! If you are not eating at the right time then you will not make any gains” and then you have other experts say, “No. Meal timing does nothing to your body and the way it processes the food”. I like to be somewhere in the middle with those responses. In certain situations, meal timing does matter, however, it does not matter all the time. Keep reading to learn more!
Table Of Contents
- Anabolic Window
- Does this all matter?
The anabolic window is described as the body’s timing for nutrient absorption, which is usually 15-60 minutes after exercise. This idea is based off of carb replenishment and protein intake.
-Carb replenishment: This principle states immediately ingesting carbs after a workout helps improve recovery, performance, and maximizes glycogen storage.
-Protein intake: This principle states that immediately ingesting protein after a workout helps repair and stimulate muscle growth due to protein synthesis.
None of these principles or ideas are completely incorrect, however, there is more to the story.
Glycogen is replenished faster within 30-60 minutes after working out, however, this is not a big deal unless you are training numerous times a day. If you are training once a day, then you will have time to replenish glycogen at any other meal. Therefore, this theory is accurate, however, it does not apply to everyone’s current training situation.
Muscle protein synthesis is important when it comes to recovery and growth. However, you do not need to ingest protein immediately after you workout, like some will try to tell you. As long as you meet your total protein intake for the day, then your muscles with grow and recovery properly. Again, this rule applies to the majority.
The one piece of information that I will agree on when it comes to meal timing is right before a workout. It helps to eat an easy digestible meal 60-150 minutes before a workout. This will help improve your performance and body composition. Another common myth is, you can’t eat so many hours before you to bed. Not eating before you go to bed will not help you lose weight faster and it will not make you gain weight. The only way you can lose weight/prevent from gaining weight is to remain in a calorie deficit, timing does not matter. Specifically eating carbs before you go to bed may help you sleep better. Carbohydrates release a neurotransmitter called serotonin, which helps you regulate your sleep.
Does This All Matter?
To summarize this answer, nutrient timing does not matter in majority of situations. If you are an elite athlete, then you may benefit from paying attention to the food you eat before and after you workout. However, for the majority, the ONLY meal timing that may make a difference in your training is your pre workout meal. This meal can help improve your performance and give you some much needed energy. The big goal here is consistency, food quality, and calorie intake. If you follow these three concepts, you will meet your goals. In the future, if you become an elite athlete, then it may be beneficial to pay more attention to meal timing before and after a workout.
What are your thoughts on meal timing?