Critical Time #3: Post-Workout
After your workout, your body is depleted of the carbohydrate in your liver and muscles, and it may begin to burn muscle tissue for fuel if you don't consume nutrients quickly. Any food you eat (other than very high-fat foods) will go toward replenishing your muscles and will not be stored as fat. Rather, the nutrition will help you recover so that you are ready to perform your best at your next workout.
Strategy: To quickly bring nutrients to your muscles after your workout, consume fast-absorbing carbohydrate such as simple sugars, bagels, bread, or pretzels, or rice, pasta, or potatoes. Also include lean sources of protein. Keep fat to a minimum post-workout, as fat slows the absorption of nutrients into the bloodstream. 0.5 grams of carbohydrate per pound of bodyweight and half as much protein is a good guideline. For a 150-pound person, this would be 75 grams of carbohydrate (300 calories) and about 35 grams of protein (or 150 calories' worth).
Critical Time #4: Last Meal or Snack Before Bed
When you eat for the last time before bed, it is important to consider what you haven't had enough of during the day, and also to your nutrition needs overnight as you sleep. Try to fill in any missing food groups you didn't get during the day, and be sure to include protein and fat in your meal or snack to slow digestion so that your body has nutrients to use while you sleep.
Strategy: Try to assess how much protein, fat, and carbohydrate you have had during the day and consume foods from the category you might be low in. Generally, protein and fat are important in your last meal or snack of the day, as it will slow digestion and help steady blood sugar, both of which help you sleep more soundly and recover better through the night. And if you've already eaten plenty--the kitchen is closed!!!
Now that you have a more complete understanding of nutrient timing, you will get so much more out of your workouts and your physique goals will finally be within reach!
Want more tips on nutrient timing?
Check out my new book Change Your Weighs. We go over nutrient timing in even more detail, plus you'll learn tons of other useful tips. You can also schedule a 1-on-1 visit with me (I'm a Certified Nutritionist).