Nutrition is KEY to making gains in the gym. It took me far too long to realize this, but once I did I went in search of books to help unlock my potential and Nutrient Timing was one of those books that taught me a lot about how the muscles work and the underlying chemical processes that occur before, during and after workouts. Backed by the latest research on sports nutrition the authors detail how by timing your carbohydrate intake you can multiply the amount of protein your body utilizes to repair muscles, leading to faster recovering and more muscle growth. The book is well laid out with very practical advice and a ton of examples. You will learn a lot about your body and how to be smarter about nutrition.
The big theme for me in 2015 has been nutrition. I made a some great muscle gains in 2014, and my fitness has been on track. However, I felt like I wasn't investing in my nutrients as much I was spending time in the gym. Failure to get my nutrition up to pace with my strength training, meant that I was growing, recovering and lifting as much as I could. I was also looking into what to eat, but with Nutrient Timing, I would learn when to eat to get the most out of my recovery and growth.
The Anabolic Phase is the forty-five-minute window following a workout in which your muscle machinery, in the presence of the right combination of nutrients, initiates the repair of damaged protein and replenishes muscle glycogen stores. - John Ivy & Robert Portman A high-protein diet consisting of 41 to 48 percent carbohydrate, 19 to 26 percent protein, and 33 percent fat is an excellent one for strength athletes. - John Ivy & Robert Portman Lifestyle factors can increase the insulin sensitivity of the muscle cells and thereby create a body that is generally disposed to build muscle proteins and less disposed to store body fat. - John Ivy & Robert Portman
The theme of this book is to explain how timing is an important factor in sports nutrition.
Before most of the focus for strength athletes was on what to eat. There is now research regarding when nutrients are consumed may even be more important than the what.
"The Nutrient Timing System relies on making use of nutrient activation - the ability of certain nutrients to help other nutrients perform their jobs more effectively."
"The most important nutrient activators in Nutrient Timing are the mutual activators protein and carbohydrate, which influence each other's actions through insulin."
"Carbohydrate boosts protein synthesis and reduces protein degradation. Protein boosts glycogen synthesis and glucose metabolism (for more energy during workouts)."
The Three Phases of The Nutrient Timing System (NTS)
The Energy Phase
The phase during workouts where your body focuses on fueling your muscles with sufficient energy to drive muscle contraction.
Nutrient Timing: Optimize when you consume carbohydrates to make more efficient utilization of muscle glycogen to improve muscle endurance.
NTS Goals for the Energy Phase:
Consume a carbohydrate or carbohydrate/protein drink to preserve muscle glycogen and maintain strength during a workout.
Increase in Endurance:
Carb/Protein Drink (25 mins)
Carbohydrate Sports Drink (19 mins)
Carbohydrate supplementation during exercise can help maintain blood sugar levels while helping to decrease cortisol levels, protecting your immune system functions.
Supplementation with Carbs, Vitamins E and C and BCAAs can help minimize muscle damage.
"Increased muscle mass comes from a cycle of muscle stimulation, muscle breakdown, and muscle rebuilding."
Consuming protein during exercise will allow your body to use some of the ingested protein, instead breaking down muscle protein. Consuming carbohydrates will result in less depletion of glycogen stores.
"Consumption of a carbohydrate/protein drink ten minutes prior to your workout can raise both blood glucose and insulin levels."
The Anabolic Phase
The forty-five-minute window after a workout when your body begins to repair damaged muscle protein and replenish muscle glycogen stores. After a workout your body is more sensitive to insulin, which gradually decreases and is highest during this time window. Your muscles will eventually become more resistant to insulin which slows down muscle glycogen recovery.
Nutrient Timing: Will help increase your insulin levels after a workout and keep your anabolic window open longer.
NTS Goals for the Anabolic phase
A carbohydrate/protein drink will stimulate insulin levels, reduce cortisol levels and led to a number of anabolic reactions when the right nutrients are available.
Increased insulin levels increased the rate of muscle blood flow, aiding in the removal of lactic acid, which when high decrease the rate at which CP (Creatine) is restored in the body.
A carb/protein drink is better combined, then either used in isolation and it helps to counteract the rapid depletion of muscle glycogen stores during exercise.
Protein synthesis requires amino acids, which aren't found in carbohydrate supplementing, which is why protein is needed as well.
Some muscle damage is needed for developing more muscle mass. Excessive muscle damage will lead to restricted glycogen and protein synthesis, and muscle soreness leading to less effective workouts. Carbohydrate/protein supplementation will lead to more amino acids, specifically glutamine to help the immune system.
The Growth Phase
The rest period after the anabolic phase, where your muscle enzymes are working to increase the number of contractile proteins and the size of muscle fibers. During this phase consumption of a combination of protein and carbohydrates is very important.
Nutrient Timing: Maintain a high anabolic state and restore muscle glycogen, repair muscle tissue damage, and synthesize new muscle.
|NTS Phase||Time||What NTS Can Do for You|
|Energy||10 minutes prior to and during a workout||Increase nutrient delivery to muscles and spare muscle glycogen and protein.|
Limit immune system suppression. Minimize muscle damage. Set the nutritional stage for a faster recovery following your workout.| |Anabolic|Within 45 minutes after a workout|Shift metabolic machinery from a catabolic to an anabolic state Speed the elimination of metabolic wastes by increasing muscle blood flow Replenish muscle glycogen stores Initiate issue repair and set the stage for muscle growth Reduce muscle damage and bolster the immune system| |Growth|Rapid Segment: The first 4 hours after a workout. Sustained Segment: The next 16-18 hours after a workout.|Maintain increased insulin sensitivity. Maintain the anabolic state Maintain positive nitrogen balance and stimulate protein synthesis. Promote protein turnover and muscle development.|
Three true statements most strength athletes would find hard to believe
The effectiveness of protein is dependent on when you take it. Taking protein when you have a high "metabolic sensitivity", such as during the anabolic phase allows insulin to better distribute protein to be synthesized for muscle rebuilding.
A poor quality protein, like corn, eaten during the forty-five minute time window can be more effective than a higher quality protein, hours later, long after your body has become more insulin resistant, when far less protein synthesis would occur.
High-glycemic carbohydrates can serve as nutrient activators that allow fats, carbohydrates, protein, minerals and water to work together. They will also increase insulin at a faster rate than complex carbs, leading to higher rates of protein synthesis.
It can help you move from a catabolic to anabolic state.
"Metabolic sensitivity is the inherent property of muscles to modify their function depending on the needs and nutrients available."
"Nutrient activation is the combined action of different nutrients to produce a synergistic effect."
"Nutrient optimization is the shifting of muscle from a catabolic state to an anabolic state by making available key nutrients at the appropriate time."
"Muscle growth and activity are controlled in large part by anabolic and catabolic hormones."
"The primary catabolic hormones are glucagon, epinephrine, norepinephrine, and cortisol."
"The primary anabolic hormones are testosterone, growth hormone, IGF-1, and insulin."
"Insulin increases muscle glucose uptake and glycogen storage."
"Insulin increases net muscle protein by increasing amino acid transport into the muscle cell, by increasing protein synthesis and by reducing protein breakdown."
ATP - The Energy Currency of the Muscle
ATP stands for Adenosine triphosphate, it is an energy source stored in the muscles and is converted into energy to drive muscle contraction.
ATP is the only molecule that can support muscle contraction and it is in limited supply.
ATP replenishes with anaerobic (without oxygen), immediate energy, and aerobic (with oxygen) sustained energy, energy systems.
Anaerobic Energy System
Anaerobic energy renewal happens by breakdown of Creatine phosphate(CP), yup, that supplement creatine, or glycolysis.
ATP and CP are considered high-energy phosphate compounds, which fall under the phosphagen system which fuels fast powerful movements.
The second system after the Phosphagen system is glycolysis which is the breakdown of carbohydrates stored in the muscle in the form of glycogen and blood glucose. It is less efficient than the phosphagen system because with limited oxygen availability one of it's byproducts in creating ATP is lactic acid, which makes you feel sore.
Aerobic Energy System
The process of "cellular respiration", where the muscle is able to break down carbohydrate, fat, and when needed, protein to generate ATP when oxygen is present. This process occurs within the muscle fiber cells call "mitochondria", the more of them there are the more more energy capable of being produced.
Hormones are chemical messengers.
How Hormones are Released
Four Major Catabolic Hormones
Four Major Anabolic Hormones
The Metabolic Effects of the Catabolic and Anabolic Hormones
|Catabolic Hormones||Effect||Anabolic Hormones||Effect|
|Glucagon||Stimulates fat and liver glycogen breakdown and gluconeogenesis||Testosterone||Blocks cortisol and stimulates protein synthesis|
|Epinephrine||Stimulates fat, liver, and muscle glycogen breakdown||Growth Hormone||Stimulates bone and cartilage growth and protein synthesis|
|Norepinephine||Stimulates fat and liver glycogen breakdown||IGF-I||Stimulates growth of bone, cartilage, and muscle|
|Cortisol||Stimulates fat, liver, glycogen, and muscle protein breakdown||Insulin||Multiple effects on muscle protein synthesis, protein degradation, and glycogen replishment|
Glucagon: Released from the pancreas and lowers blood glucose levels. Increases breakdown of fat.
Epinephrine & Norepinephrine: Released from the adrenal glands during low blood glucose levels. Promotes breakdown of fat, increased heart rate and blood flow to muscles.
Cortisol: Generates fuel for working muscles. Too much can lead to protein degradation.
Testosterone: Released from the testes in males and from the ovaries and adrenal glands in females. Improves muscle recovery and enhances protein synthesis.
Growth Hormone: Released from the pituitary, stimulates muscle and cartilage growth.
IGF-1: Stands for insulin-like growth-factor. Released from pituitary gland, the muscle, liver and other organs. Stimulates protein synthesis in the bone, cartilage, and muscle.
Insulin: Released in the pancreas in response to high blood glucose levels.
"The more insulin sensitive the fat cells are at a given time, the more insulin will act to promote fat storage; the more insulin sensitive the muscle cells are, the more insulin will act to promote muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis."
"Lifestyle factors can increase the insulin sensitivity of the muscle cells and thereby create a body that is generally disposed to build muscle proteins and less disposed to store body fat."
Insulin may be the most important hormone to muscle strength and mass.
Physiological and Metabolic Changes during Exercise
Your muscle fibers need a rapid supply of ATP molecules which cause muscle contractions and are replenished from creatine and glycogen.
Anabolic hormones don't play a large role during exercise. Catabolic hormones can have more of an effect in how energy is utilized. Insulin and cortisol are the most important regulatory hormones during exercise as they effect the degree of muscle damage and glycogen depletion.
Blood flow is elevated up to 500 percent during exercise to aide in the transport of oxygen, minerals and removal of metabolic waste such as lactic acid and carbon dioxide.
Effect of the Protein Pool
Your body utilizes Protein during exercise for fuel and repair of muscles. A byproduct of muscle protein breakdown is branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs). BCAA's are used for synthesis of glutamine, which are important aides for your immune system, and there numbers begin to decline. Stressful exercise with low glutamine stores can weaken the immune system.
There are three primary causes of muscle damage:
As the muscle fibers expand and contract there is physical wear and tear. Some of this damage can be benefits as your muscle fibers recover and rebuild stronger to adapt to increased levels of stress.
The hormone cortisol stimulates muscle protein breakdown.
Biochemical damage can come from Free radicals(highly reactive molecules that can damage muscle protein).
Acute Inflammatory Response
The body's response to tissue injury which can further damage muscle cell membrane.
The immune system usually responds anytime there is cell damage, but during exercise your hormones will suppress some white blood cells as your body will be breaking down muscle cells.
"Immune system suppression can last up to seventy-two hours following exercise and may increase your susceptibility to infection."
"Consuming water during exercise helps maintain blood volume, lower body temperature, and reduce stress on the heart."
[ Table 4.2 Ideal Nutrient Composition of Supplements (Refer to page 44)]
NTS Anabolic Phase
Research as early as from 1988, in the Journal of Physiology showed that timing carbohydrate supplementation after exercise had a significant impact on the rate of muscle glycogen storage.
This was within the 45 minutes after exercise, the anabolic phase.
Higher levels of amino acids in the blood leads to more protein synthesis.
Two Conditions for Muscle Growth
NTS Recommendations for the Anabolic Phase
Low Blood Amino Acid Levels
Higher Blood Amino Acid Levels
|Shift metabolic machinery from a catabolic state to an anabolic state||Whey protein||13-15g|
|Speed the elimination of metabolic wastes by increasing muscle blood flow||High-glycemic carbohydrates such as glucose, sucrose, and maltodextrin||40-50g|
|Replenish muscle glycogen stores||Leucine||1-2g|
|Initiate Tissue repair and set the stage for muscle growth||Glutamine||1-2g|
|Reduce muscle damage and bolster the immune system||Vitamin C||60 - 120mg|
|Vitamin E||80-400 IU|
"A delay of supplementation of more than two hours can significantly reduce protein synthesis and muscle glycogen replenishment."
NTS Growth Phase
The 18-24 hour period after the anabolic phase.
There are two segments within the Growth Phase:
"The protein synthesis during the Sustained segment is strongly influenced by dietary composition and caloric content."
"It is important to maintain a positive nitrogen balance during the Sustained Segment, which can be accomplished with a high-protein diet and high-protein/low-carbohydrate snacks or supplements."
"The strength athlete should consume between 0.91 and 1.2 grams of protein per pound of body weight per day for optimal muscle growth and development."
Macro Nutrition Ratios
"A high-protein diet consisting of 41 to 48 percent carbohydrate, 19 to 26 percent protein, and 33 percent fat is an excellent one for strength athletes."
"41 to 48 percent carbohydrate and 33 percent fat will give you the necessary energy for a strong workout and maintaining a healthy immune system."
[The book lists a number of tables detailing the right foods the eat and other meal plans - Buy the Book]
Nutrient Activators and Sports Supplements
"Nutrient activation is the process by which the biological effects of a certain nutrient are influenced through direct or indirect interaction with one or more other nutrients."
When BCAAs are taken during exercise, they provide extra energy and may prevent muscle breakdown, for quicker recovery.
Not all protein is created equally.
Four Measures of Protein Quality:
|Protein||Protein Efficiency Ratio (PER)||Net Protein Utilization||Chemical Score|