Nutrient Timing

Many people inquire about the secret to having more energy.

 A number of factors including: the amount of sleep, hydration, general health, medications, outlook on life, conditioning, rest days between training, types of food eaten and the timing of meals and snacks all are contributing factors to overall vitality.

Food will help alleviate a lack of energy, if the problem is food related. If tiredness is related to lack of sleep, eating will not give the additional energy. However, if too little food is eaten, too long a time exists between eating, or the timing of meals and snacks around practise or conditioning is less than optimum, strategic intake may provide more energy.

I recently read an article on “Nutrient timing” and would like to share some of the highlights for recovery, muscle building, immunity and injury prevention.

Enzymes and hormones that transport nutrients into the muscles are most active after exercise and provision of nutrients at this crucial time helps begin the reparative stage. Not only right after exercise, but also at intervals over the subsequent several hours, nutrition is important.  Limitations in the digestion of proteins mandate the importance of consumption throughout the day. Eating small amounts of protein such as poultry, lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, milk or yogurt with each meal or snack will help utilize the protein more effectively. Also, depending on the intensity and/or duration of the workout, the post exercise recovery time for stored carbohydrates (glycogen and glucose) and lost electrolytes and fluids may be more than a few hours.

Minimizing muscle breakdown that occurs during and after training, and maximizing repair, can be accomplished by nutrient timing. Carbohydrate stored in muscles provides energy for activities and protects against excessive tissue breakdown and their by-products which can lead to muscle soreness. These same carbohydrates help to initiate the hormonal changes necessary for repair. Consuming both protein and carbohydrate  after training aids in increasing size of muscle and this timing maximizes the body’s efficient usage.

Exercising when muscles are depleted of carbohydrates means there is competition for amino acids between the muscles and the immune cells necessary for protecting the body from disease processes. A lowered carbohydrate level also causes increase in stress hormones and other inflammatory molecules.  Carbohydrate consumption during endurance activities helps preserve immune function and prevent inflammation. Vitamins and minerals are also necessary to optimimize immune function so the quality of food consumed is vital.

Injuries due to poor nutrition can be avoided. Dehydration contributes to fatigue and lack of concentration. Low blood sugar will contribute to inadequate fuel for the brain and central nervous system. Hypoglycaemia will contribute to poor reaction time and poor coordination which makes one more prone to injury. Long term energy drain will increase the risk of overuse injuries. If muscles are not completely repaired, this can lead to more soft-tissue damage.

Attention to nutrient timing can maximize your body’s response to exercise and the usage of nutrients and in turn provide more energy, faster recovery, more complete rebuilding, greater immune system strength as well as help to prevent injury.




This information is provided by Pat Stapley Chase to help educate and stimulate consideration on life style habits for overall wellness and enhanced quality and performance in life.

Pat has completed her PhD in Human Natural Health. Courses covered include Human Energy, Holistic Human development, Body and Mind Health, Herbology, Homeopathy, Cancer prevention, Toxicity and Holistic Nutrition. She is certified as a PTS (Personal Training Specialist).