Recently the International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) published their stand on nutrient timing. Nutrient timing being grounds for some debate lately. Personally I am of the mind that if your nutrition is constant and steady through the day that you don’t need to time out any of your meals. When I prep diet or even am in a bulk then i will weight myself in weekly, and go off of those numbers to gauge my progress, and i don’t measure anything by the day and much less by the hour. That being said, the ISSN has some now published recommendations and I’m going to quickly summarize them.
As always I encourage you to read it for yourself and it can be found here
The first thing they mention is that, “Nutrient timing incorporates the use of methodical planning and eating of whole foods, fortified foods and dietary supplements.” Which really means that to maximize things in their mind uses fortified foods and supplements. So if your diet is lacking something important, don’t feel shy to fill in the gaps by any means necessary. Good news for supplement companies!
for optimal endogenous (internal) glycogen stores they recommend a diet that has 8-12g of carbs per kg per day and are most depleted by high volume exercise. That means for a 90kg individual (200lbs) you should be getting 720g-1080g of carbs per day… Seems high right?! Not really, ask a powerlifter. Also remember we are talking performance here, not weight loss or gain. More carbs = better performance, no surprise there.
if you need a <4 hour glycogen recovery from the high volume exercise mentioned above then the ISSN suggests, “aggressive carbohydrate refeeding (1.2 g/kg/h) with a preference towards carbohydrate sources that have a high (> 70) glycemic index.”
They also have some suggestion for intra-workout carbohydrates. I will also say this is probably the biggest thing I read that I want to try for myself and see if my performance increases. They suggest, “carbohydrate should be consumed at a rate of ~30-60 g of carbohydrate/h in a 6-8% carbohydrate-electrolyte solution (6-12 fluid ounces) every 10-15 min throughout the entire exercise bout, particularly in those exercise bouts that span beyond 70 min.” So go grab yourself a carb shake or just some dextrose water and lemon juice, and drink that thing during exercise bouts longer than an hour.
Above all of that the ISSN says there is a more important directive you should follow with your food. Regular eating approximately every 3 h during the day. They also suggest 10g of free form Essential Amino Acids (EAA) or a 20-40g bolus (all at once) dose is the optimal amount to stimulate Muscle Protein Synthesis (MPS.)
They also say that pre and post exercise nutrition can affect one another. Meaning if you have a big meal pre-workout that you might not need as big, if any, meal after your workout.
The last big suggestion is that, “Consuming casein protein (~ 30-40 g) prior to sleep can acutely increase MPS and metabolic rate throughout the night without influencing lipolysis.”
The thing that struck me about this publication as well is that they made ZERO recommendations in regards to fat consumption. I can’t imagine that increasing fats in place of carbs will ever make performance increase. At best your body has a fuel source it must do some enzymatic steps to so that it can get the glycogen out of the fats. Which will be pretty useless for immediate results. So myself I must conclude that carbs > fats for athletic performance. When I look at how I diet my athletes, higher carbs and lower fats is usually what seems to work the best. Yes yes I know, keto athletes exist and do fine, but i bet they would do better on carbs instead of fats.
Now get out there and exercise!