in Guides & Advice

28 11 2021

Does nutrient timing matter?

Not so fast. Context is always the missing link when it comes to most nutrition questions. Nutrient timing is simply the distribution of energy/calorie-containing nutrients in a “timely” manner. Such as before, during and after working out. For example, early research proposed that eating in and around workouts was better for “optimising muscle repair and growth”, but now that that was a narrow view of it. 

For the average gym-goer who follows a relatively healthy nutrition approach training 3-4 times a week for an hour or so, nutrient timing isn’t a big deal. Why? Because of the demands (Intensity and duration) and the fact they are not athletes, speedy recoveries are not needed. 

What about athletes then?

In contrast, when the focus is on operating in high performing environments, let’s say endurance events like the Tour de France or five-round MMA fight then nutrient timing can make all the difference. The body’s demands have essentially changed, so to meet that demand, nutrients/fuel can be tailored accordingly. 

For example, when an MMA fighter cuts weight in water by manipulating nutrients such as lowing carbohydrate intake a few days before weighing in to “make weight”, “timing importance” dramatically increases because they might only have 24 hours to replenish those carbohydrates, not forgetting the water lost. So again, this is why “context matters”.

To summarise;

If you’re not an athlete or not competing in prolonged endurance or high-intensity competitions. You guessed it nutrient timing doesn’t matter all that much. On the other hand, the table below puts things nicely into “context” if things change. Use the chart below to help set your total daily carbohydrate intake (in grams) according to your body weight. If you are overweight, you may want to calculate your carbohydrate requirements based on your goal/ideal body weight rather than your current body weight to avoid overeating.

Article by: Declan Doyle PhD Scholar & Combat Fuel Nutritional Expert.

nutrient timing
Athlete Dean Holdsworth.
Related articles




Independent Article on Nutrient Timing