Nutrient Timing to maximize your Anabolic Window

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Nutrient Timing to maximize your Anabolic Window


We know that the most important meal of the day is what you take in pre-, during and post exercise, in fact, the nutrient-timing period is designed to help athletes achieve their most advantageous exercise performance and recovery. This article will synthesize the current understanding of how nutrient timing helps to repair tissue damage, restore physiological function, replenish glycogen stores, and promote muscle growth.

First, a basic review of the hormones of exercise is warranted. Within the body are numerous catabolic and anabolic hormones that are stimulated by exercise. Catabolic hormones aid in the disassembly of nutrients for energy production or cells needs. The main catabolic hormones of exercise are epinephrine, norepinephrine, cortisol and glucagon. Anabolic hormones support muscle hypertrophy (growth), tissue repair, inflammation control, and facilitate the regulation of carbohydrate, fat and protein metabolism. The anabolic hormones of interest during exercise are insulin, testosterone, IGF-I and growth hormone.

The nutrient timing system:

Energy phase - before and during workout.

Muscle glycogen is the primary fuel, used by the body during exercise. Low muscle glycogen stores result in muscle fatigue and the body's inability to complete high intensity exercise. The depletion of muscle glycogen is also a major contributing factor in acute muscle weakness and reduced force production. Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise decrease glycogen stores, so the need for carbohydrates is high for all types of exercise during this energy phase. Several hormonal and physiological responses occur during the energy phase. Cortisol levels are increasing, insulin levels are slightly decreasing, and muscle glycogen levels are becoming depleted, making the energy phase catabolic. Therefore, the goals with the energy phase are to increase nutrient, primarily carbohydrate and some protein delivery to muscles, spare glycogen and protein loss, limit immune system suppression, minimize muscle damage and prepare nutritionally for a faster recovery.Prior to aerobic exercise, protein intake with carbohydrate supplementation has been shown to stimulate protein synthesis post-exercise. The combined intake of carbohydrate and protein pre-exercise also aids in the rate of muscle recovery after exercise. Carbohydrate supplementation prior to resistance training can increase the body's capacity to perform more sets, repetitions and prolong a resistance training workout, It will help to maintain blood glucose levels, sustain immune function, and aid in the suppressing of cortisol.

Anabolic Phase - 45 minutes post workout

The anabolic phase is a critical phase occurring within 45 minutes post-exercise. It is during this time that muscle cells are particularly sensitive to insulin, making it necessary to ingest the proper nutrients in order to make gains in muscle endurance and strength. If the proper nutrients are ingested 2 - 4 hours post-exercise they will not have the same effect. It is also during this time in which the anabolic hormones begin working to repair the muscle and decrease its inflammation.Immediate ingestion of carbohydrate and Protein are important because insulin sensitivity causes the muscle cell membranes to be more permeable to glucose within 45 minutes post-exercise. This results in faster rates of glycogen storage and provides the body with enough glucose to initiate the recovery process. Muscle glycogen stores are replenished the fastest within the first hour after exercise. Consuming carbohydrate within an hour after exercise also helps to increase protein synthesis.

 Growth Phase, remainder of the day

The growth phase consists of the 18 - 20 hours post-exercise when muscle repair, growth and strength occur. the goals of this phase are to maintain insulin sensitivity in order to continue to replenish glycogen stores and to maintain the anabolic state. Consuming a protein and carbohydrate meal such Mass Muscle Gainer within 1 hour after resistance training has a positive stimulating effect on protein synthesis

Mass Muscle Gainer Can be taken pre-, during and post exercise to maximize your Anabolic Window potential.