What are the Four Phases of Nutrient Timing?
In order to have the greatest advantage in building lean muscle mass, nutrient timing must be fully understood and followed. It’s not just what is eaten as much as when it’s eaten.
Nutrient timing is vital in building lean muscle mass and can be broken into four phases; energy phase, anabolic phase, growth phase and resting phase. Each of these phases are essential and should be properly analyzed to ensure the greatest gains. Falling short in any aspect of nutrient timing can hinder lean muscle mass growth.
The energy phase is the time during workouts when there’s the highest energy demand. Skeletal muscle uses ATP energy, which is a major energy source in muscle contraction. ATP is synthesized within the body by macronutrients. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are required to synthesize ATP and can be met by ingested or stored nutrients. Consuming a protein carbohydrate supplement during or just prior to working out can aid in increased skeletal muscle blood flow and prevent decreased glucose levels, maximizing total energy levels.
The anabolic phase is the one to two hours after a workout and is the time that muscles are being primed for muscle growth. Lack of proper nutrients during this time can deter muscle building properties. This is the main reason that post-workout meals are so fundamental to muscle recovery and growth. Consuming one part protein and two parts carbohydrates powders diluted in water post workout will provide the ultimate in recovery and aid in priming muscles for growth. Basically the consumption for every 10 lbs. of body weight is 2 grams of protein and 4 grams of carbohydrates.
During the growth phase our bodies requirements shift; the proteins and carbohydrates that were so vital for muscle development during the energy and anabolic phases can lead to excesses during the growth and resting phases. The growth phase can last up to 6 hours. It’s imperative that carbohydrate intake is reduced to an equal protein ratio. In other words, you want to eat equal amounts of slow digesting proteins and low glycemic carbohydrates.
The resting phase is the point in the day when the body returns to its normal physiology. During this phase foods should be eaten based on individual body requirements. For example, some people have higher insulin sensitivity than others and each person should eat according to their body type. This is the time when meals should consist of a blend of healthy fats and proteins with a variety of low glycemic plant based carbohydrates.
Learning how to follow nutrient timing can be interesting and challenging, though certainly not impossible. It may take some practice to get it right as people become aware of the nutritional needs of their body through each phase however, once this is achieved it becomes a mere practice of dedication. Through understanding and dedication lean muscle mass will develop, giving way to the gains that seemed impossible for many. Once the understanding of not only what to eat but when to eat is achieved, the bodybuilding and fitness playground is leveled and the ball is in every ones court.