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Sport Nutrition Tip: Nutrient Timing

Posted Sep 03 2012 7:40am



Do you focus on nutrient timing as an athlete? I started to appreciate this topic while in grad school for exercise physiology but it wasn't until I started applying scientific principles to my own training routine, that I started to recognize the vital importance of "eating for fuel". Now I can help others prolong training/reduce fatigue, boost immune system, quicken recovery and improve insulin sensitivity. Here's a little insight in the topic of nutrient timing around workouts-During exercise catabolic (break down) hormones (ex. epinephrine, cortisol, glucagon) prepare the body to use glucose (from muscle and liver glycogen) for fuel. They also increase heart rate, blood pressure, cardiac functioning, blood redistribution and respiration rate to withstand stress during training. It is the anabolic (build up) hormones that support muscle growth (hypertrophy), repair tissues, reduce inflammation, regulate macronutrient metabolism (carbs, protein, fat) which include IGF-I, insulin, testosterone and growth hormone.
-Of importance to you as the athlete, especially if you struggle w/ recovery, feel run-down a lot (or get sick a lot) or feel extreme hunger or mood changes post workout: During prolonged exercise, cortisol levels continue to increase, muscle glycogen is gradually decreasing and insulin sensitivity decreases. By focusing on your pre, during and post training nutrition you can boost nutrient transport to muscles (ex. carbohydrates and amino acids), reduce the loss of glyocgen and protein during exercise, enhance recovery (for more consistent training) and reduce muscle damage while strengthening the immune system. 
-Keep it simplePre training: Toast, banana or plain cereal (ex. shredded wheat) w/ PB, milk or an egg.
During: Sport drink, consistently every 10-15 minutes - liquids, calories, carbohydrates, electrolytes.
Post - Whey protein brown rice + Pea (vegan) smoothie, cow's milk (low fat) or chocolate milk (low fat)
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