Does Nutrient Timing Affect Muscle Strength and Endurance Performance

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Nutrient timing is the process of being mindful of when you are eating in regards to a work out. While there is more research out there about carbohydrate intake nutrient timing, there is little research regarding mixed nutrient intake (Pritchett, 2008). From everything gathered to this point it is suggested that nutrient timing has some merit on exercise performance and is most effective with combinations of carbohydrates and proteins. This strategy of eating in and around an exercise session is intended to maximize “exercise induced” muscle adaptations and assist in the repair of damaged tissues (Aragon, 2013). In regards to a pre-workout consumption, data has recently begun to provide support that ingestion of CHO, amino acids, PRO, and creatine before a progressive resistance exercise program are effective in boosting training adaptations and diminishing muscle damage associated with the exercise (Kerksick, 2008). Essential amino acids alone have been shown to improve muscle protein synthesis, and combined with CHO has proven to produce substantial gains in muscle protein synthesis levels (Kerksick, 2008). During the workout, which is referred to as the “energy phase,” it is recommended to ingest some carbohydrates, preferably high glycemic index foods, which will increase glucose uptake in the muscle (Bell-Wilson, 2005). It has also been shown to be beneficial to consume protein with the carbohydrates, but there is little research to confirm this theory (Bell-Wilson, 2005). During physical exertion, it has been shown that an intake of CHO by itself and in combination with PRO has increased muscle glycogen reserves, counteracted muscle damage, and aided training adaptations after acute and extended increments of resistive training (Kerksick, 2008). The most favorable amount of CHO and PRO intake is dependent on many variables such as duration of exercise and level of fitness, but the general recommendation is 1-2 grams CHO/kg (Kerksick, 2008). It is widely accepted that a post-workout consumption is the more critical aspect of nutrient timing as intense training depletes a substantial portion of stored fuels and damages muscle fibers (Aragon, 2013). The theory behind a post work out meal is that it will initiate a reconstruction of damaged tissue and re-establishes energy stockpiles by replenishing glycogen stores (Aragon, 2013). Post exercise ingestion of CHO in high amounts has proven to stimulate muscle glycogen re-synthesis, and adding PRO to CHO at a 3:1 ratio has shown to greatly increase the amount of stimulation to glycogen re-synthesis (Kerksick, 2008).

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