Nutrition 103: Meal Macro’s and Timing

Posted: September 5, 2013 in Nutrition, What to Eat and When
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Hey everyone, this is the third installment in my nutrition series. In this post I’ll be talking about the macro breakdowns in your meals and the importance of timing, so let’s get started.

The macro breakdown of your meal determines what you will be eating for that meal and when to time it. By eating certain macro’s at certain points of the day we can ensure optimal absorption of nutrients, resulting in prime muscle recovery and growth, as well as nutrient absorption. How do we capitalize on this? Let me show you!

In the original post, I explained how your body uses macronutrients. It just so happens that there are certain periods of time in which eating certain macro’s can aid in boosting recovery and metabolism. Now some may consider this “broscience”, but I’ve experimented with different timings and have found what works for me.

Let’s say your eating 6 meals a day, you’ll have breakfast, pre-workout meal, post-workout meal #1, post-workout meal #2, meal.

Now in each meal, you’ll want to get your recommended amount of protein, no ifs ands or buts. This is the one macro that you will be taking in with every meal.

The timing magic happens with the manipulation of carbs and fats.

Breakfast is a heated topic of debate. Is eating  protein + carbs + fats for breakfast is more beneficial than only sticking to proteins+fats? In my opinion, no.   I’ve experimented with both and to tell you the truth I didn’t notice much of a difference, that’s just me. You can experiment and see what works for your body.

My general rule of thumb is to have meals consisting of only proteins + carbs before and immediately after the workout. I try to refrain from eating fats because they generally take longer to digest and I want my food digested by the time I’m at the gym so I don’t get any cramps from blood leaving my stomach and entering the muscles I’m working. I try to take in my pre-workout meal anywhere between 1.5-2 hours before I workout and I often opt for whole foods. It’s important to take in only complex (low-glycemic) carbohydrates at this time, because they take longer to digest then simple carbs and provide for a steady release of energy during the workout.

Immediately after you work out, I’m talking within 30 minutes, you have whats referred to as the “window of opportunity”. When you workout, your body uses carbs for energy. In doing so, the glycogen stores (which convert the carbs into sugar and release it into the blood) become depleted and your muscles literally become a vacuum. It’s important to jump on this opportunity and take in a whey protein shake sided with some simple carbs. I prefer to eat fruits, honey, and/or natural sugars such as 100% pure maple syrup or blue agave syrup, but it’s popular to use dextrose or maltodextrin to literally rush the protein to your muscles. Hence is why we do not consume fat directly after working out, because it slows the digestion. We want to feed our muscles as soon as possible and by combining a quickly digested protein (whey) with simple carbs (which almost immediately create an insulin spike and rush the protein into the body), we can optimize the nutrient absorption and help our muscles recover and grow.

So remember as a general rule of thumb, pre workout meal = protein + complex carbs , post-workout meal #1 = fast digesting protein + simple carb.

The other 3 meals of the day are fair game, they should be evenly split to ensure you’re taking in your required macros.

Now it’s generally recommended to eat every 2-3 hours as this will keep your metabolism burning, which we want because it shreds fat. You’ll find that this isn’t the end all be all approach and you might stumble across eating styles such as paleo, intermittent fasting, carb backloading, if it fits your macros, etc. I will cover these in the future, but this method is tried, tested and true. Its worked for me and my friends and it should serve as a functional base for your goals. Once you learn how your body responds to different eating styles over time you might find something might work better, but thats in due time, for now I recommend trying this out and seeing how it goes for you.

Many people wonder about eating at night and if it will make you fat. I, for one, call bullsh*t on this! My view and whats worked for me has been getting in all my macros and calories every day. Your metabolism doesn’t just shut off at 8pm and store food as fat. Calories in vs. calories out, if you’re hitting your cals and macros, it doesn’t matter what time of the day you are eating.

So that pretty much covers this topic, again if you have any questions feel free to ask and I’ll do my best to get back as soon as possible.


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