Meal Timing. Is it that important?

For our first blog, we wanted to touch on a subject that is not talked about very much.  Meal timing, is it important?  At H2Bodyworks, we believe that it is, and we will explain why.  Although we do not advocate fasting and eating 1 big meal per day, we still believe that if you follow that eating plan, the timing of the meal is still very important.  

In this blog, we will focus on timing 5-6 meals through the day, why it is beneficial and what those meals should consist of with a focus on lean muscle growth and fat loss.

Morning / Breakfast:

Naturally after sleep, your body is in a fasting state typically 8-12 hours since your last meal.  Your bodies energy reserves are low, and your muscles are in a mild catabolic (muscle wasting) state, and your metabolism is slow.  You need to replenish your energy store, halt muscle catabolism, and speed up fat burning metabolism.  This is important to kick start your body and get it working back toward building lean muscle and burning fat.  Make a breakfast with fast absorbing protein like eggs or an isolate protein powder, a combination of simple and complex carbs like whole grains, and a good dose of essential fatty acids like using safflower or canola oil to cook, or from seeds/nuts.

Mid Morning Snack:

Somewhere around 3 hours after breakfast you may start to feel hungry or a bit tired, out of energy.  This mid morning snack is important to get your body to lunch while keeping your metabolism running and stabilizing your blood sugar.  You should have a snack that provides a mixture of fast and slow absorbing protein to keep your muscles out of a catabolic state.  Also include some carbohydrates with a low glycemic index to continue to provide energy.  Stay away from the office vending machine.

Lunch:

As your snack was small, the nutrients are used up and it is time to replenish once again.  You want to continue to eat foods with fast acting proteins to keep your muscles in the anabolic state with foods like chicken, fish, whey protein, or egg.  Focus again on a good amount of low glycemic index carbohydrates with low sugar.  This will help provide energy and keep a smooth level blood sugar level without spiking low and high through the day.  Take lunch to also add more essential fatty acids 

Afternoon Snack:

Much like the mid morning snack, you will start to run out of energy and if you are like us, you will need to start fueling your body for your coming workout.  For your snack, focus on slower digesting proteins as to not use up all of the nutrients before you have had a chance to workout.  Remember to continue to add in more low glycemic index carbs to keep energy levels up and blood sugar level stable.

Post Workout:

Post workout nutrition is very important.  Within the first 20-30 minutes of your workout your glycogen reserves are low or depleted.  Blood sugar is low.  Muscles are in a highly nutrient receptive state, on the verge of catabolism, and are ready to soak up nutrients and turn anabolic.  Focus on a fast acting protein like whey isolate or a BCAA supplement.  Also, consume some amount of slower acting protein to carry you past the 30 minute window and allow your body to continue the muscle recovery process.  H2Bodyworks recommends drinking BCAA's during your workout and Protein (shake) post workout.

Dinner:

Dinner is a very important meal, as it is the last nutrients your body will get for typically 8-12 hours.  Overnight your body will remain mostly anabolic (muscle-building) up until about midnight to 2 am. Then it typically turns catabolic and starts burning glycogen, muscle, and fat.  You want to focus on slow digesting protein like red meat or casein based proteins to allow your body to continue to release essential amino acids most of the nigh to support muscle recovery.  Add in some high fiber/low sugar carbohydrates and add some more fats like canola oil, safflower oil, nuts or seeds.

 

As you can see, meal timing is a large part of your nutrition to supply your body with the nutrients it needs at specific times of the day.  Eating smaller meals more frequently will help you feel less hungry and not over eat, provide consistent protein supply to keep your muscles in anabolic state, and help maintain an even blood sugar level to avoid high and low spikes.

 

For those who want to choose a fasting style plan, the timing of your meal or time you are allowed to eat is still important.  We would suggest a small protein/efa packed meal right at the start of your allowed time, workout in the middle, and a larger meal packed with fast and slow acting proteins, EFA's, and low glycemic index carbs to provide as much energy and muscle support until you are ready to break your fast again.

This concept of meal timing can be adjusted to each person and your work out schedule, simply fallow the concept of what your body needs before a workout, immediately after, and the rest of the day before sleep.