In my last post I mentioned that I had just purchased the book Nutrient Timing: Future of Sports Nutrition by Drs. John Ivy and Robert Portman. Knowing that this book was going to take some time and attention, I wanted to wait until I was done with my first summer term to start my reading and highlighting binge. I’ve never been one to get excited over research based books, frankly I can’t even pretend to understand the vocabulary, the figures, or even the ‘for those who have no idea what we’re saying’ summaries.
If you’re anything like me, this book is for you! After listening to Joe’s podcast roughly three times, Dr. Tom had be totally convinced that I needed to start this book. It’s a very easy read and even if you don’t have any sort of nutrition/physiology background, you will definitely be able to understand and take something away from this book.
Disclaimer: I won’t give too much away about this book incase you want to read it for yourself/purchase a copy and all opinions and take aways are completely my own views and understanding.
Part I: Nutrient Timing Principles
Chapters one through three introduce you to the main principles behind the ideas of Nutrient Timing. Dr. Ivy and Portman describes that within 24 hours, your body goes through an energy phase, an anabolic phase, and a growth phase. The energy phase is roughly ten minutes before a workout and during the workout, the anabolic phase is within 45 minutes of a workout, and the growth phase is the next 16-18 hours after a workout (the time until your next workout).
The entire concept behind Nutrient Timing is understanding and utilizing nutrients during these crucial periods of time or phases. The book dives into further detail explaining each concept and exactly which nutrients would be most beneficial.
During this first chapter, the authors explain that sports nutrition has always focused on what you eat, rather than when you eat. I feel like this is when most Instagram #nutrigurus would jump up and say “I TOLD YOU SO!” Well, slow your role.
I love seeing “a calorie is just a calorie.” And by love I mean hate. Sure, a calorie is a universal unit used to describe energy. The calories in a sugary bowl of cereal compared to the calories in a fiber rich bowl of oatmeal may both read 150 cals. but that doesn’t mean your body is going to use those nutrients equally. Nutrition is never going to be black and white, as much as people want it to be. Nutrition is not a one size fits all. What might work for this girl, will most likely not work for the next.
Later in part one, they go into detail about ATP synthesis and anabolic and catabolic hormones. We knew they had to touch on the science stuff somewhere along the line. In chapter 3 they explain the importance of many hormones including insulin. If you’ve ever been on a diet/opened a health magazine, you have seen the word insulin. Most people categorize it as a bad, fat storing, loser but insulin is everything when you’re trying to build muscle and get stronger.
Going back to whether or not you should have donuts after a workout or a sweet potato, let’s just say these guys don’t even consider that a question. Again, they might both have the same amount of calories but the way your body uses those nutrients post workout is very different. They will both give you an insulin spike but the empty calories (refined sugars and unhealthy fats) in the donut isn’t going to do much else for your body. A sweet potato has a list of beneficial vitamins, minerals, and a great amount of fiber.
All in all, if you want a donut post workout – eat it. No one can deny that they’re delicious. But, don’t try to tell people that they are just as beneficial as vegetables and whole grains. Most of my followers out there aren’t going to the NFL any time soon so, remember to eat for your goals, eat to feel good, and eat to grow strong.