If you’re going to do the work in the gym, why not make the most of it by optimizing your nutrition? After all, the workout is just ONE piece of the puzzle! Whether your goal is peak performance for your upcoming half-marathon, obstacle course or even just peak performance in your workout, nutrient timing is something that you need to understand to get the most bang for your workout-buck!
What is Nutrient Timing?
Nutrient Timing refers to the nutrients you provide your body and when you take them. According to the ACSM position statement on “nutrition and performance”, what you eat and when you eat it can significantly affect how your body responds to exercise. The nutrient timing of food and supplements can be broken down into three distinct phases: pre-workout, mid-workout, and post-workout. Each one is important and sets the stage for the next phase. Missing out on proper nutrient delivery during these periods could be hindering your progress; and while different training goals may require different nutrient timing strategies, the importance of these three phases remains the same.
Note: At the end of this article you’ll see Rob’s Jet Set Body Picks for pre/during/post workout supplements. Our Jet Set Body athletes use our new performance system to fuel their workouts and events. Our recommended product line is all natural and truly based on science. If you would like more information on the products we specifically recommend for our athletes, please email firstname.lastname@example.org
The pre-workout period is a critical time to prime the body with readily available energy to support blood flow, and enhancing focus. Success in the gym depends heavily on how much oxygen is delivered to muscles and how much waste is removed from them. To provide muscles with oxygen requires an adequate blood supply. However, when you exercise intensely or for long periods of time, the supply of oxygen-rich blood can’t keep up with demand. Ultimately, a lack of oxygen and a buildup of waste results in fatigue, exhaustion, and subpar athletic performance. Therefore, the fix is to use a pre-workout that doesn’t just boost your energy for workout, only to make you crash. The best supplements will increase blood flow, increase nitric oxide production and increase muscle water absorption.
According to elite athlete coaches, it is vital to the body to receive fast-acting fuel in the mid-workout phase to continue to perform at peak levels. Endurance athletes need an easily digestible carbohydrate source (like the goo-packs). In contrast, power athletes require smaller doses of high-energy carbohydrates to maintain optimal energy levels. Regardless of the type of activity, every athlete needs excellent hydration during training to support top performance. One great source of electrolyte replacement is coconut water, however that is not always convenient. There are many electrolyte replacement drinks on the market, just use caution when choosing as many have processed sugar and food dyes which can wreck havoc on your digestive system.
The post-workout phase offers the best time to rebuild muscle and make the most performance gains. The goal is to stimulate muscle synthesis, prevent muscle loss, and speed exercise recovery. Both endurance and power athletes will need to rebuild and support muscle protein synthesis by using a high-quality source of protein, to help in rebuilding damaged tissue. Arguably the world’s best strength coach, who has trained hundreds Olympic athletes, Charles Poliquin, agrees that the best protein to consume is undenatured protein. Undenatured protein is the easiest for your body to absorb and hasn’t been damaged by high heat. This refers to both meats (by not over cooking them) and for supplemental proteins. Undenatured protein supplements aren’t common (however we do use one we love).
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Rob’s Jet Set Body Picks
Pre-Workout: For strength training workouts he uses a pre-workout that increases blood flow and water absorption. For endurance or HIIT training, he adds one more component that will increase nitric oxide production.
Mid-Workout: During most workouts, Rob uses an all natural electrolyte replacement drink to stay hydrated. If he is doing a longer workout (such as marathon training or obstacle course training), we use a mid-workout fuel that is a combination of agave, apples,molasses and branch-chain-amino-acids to halt the breakdown of muscle during the workout.
Post-Workout: Post workout is the best time to absorb nutrients, your cells are craving the nutrition! This is when Rob takes his branch-chain-amino-acids, greens, vitamins and of course, his undenatured protein shake to begin the recovery process.