Updated: Jun 5, 2018
You have probably seen so many different recommendations on this topic that you wonder what is right and what is wrong. To make things even worse, it usually goes from one extreme to another. From having recommendations to eat every 2-3 hours and to never miss the anabolic post workout window to intermittent fasting. So how do you truly optimize your nutrition for maximum muscle gain and fat loss? I will explain you by going through some main elements therefore you can know for sure who is right and who is wrong.
First of all lets distinguish once and for all what are the myths when it comes to nutrient timing. I will assume that by now everybody knows that increasing the amount of meals in a day does not affect your metabolism and it will not help you lose fat. Therefore I will move on to more interesting theories that proved to be wrong! Of course, one of my favorite is post exercise anabolic window where you have 30 min to an hour to take your dose of protein and high glycemic carbs to maximize your muscle growth. It was given so much importance that at one point it was believed to be even more important than your overall caloric intake.
Now lets see where did this myth come from. In theory after a resistance exercise, your body incurs muscle damage and it also get depleted with certain nutrients. The idea is that after the workout, there is a time window where the body would super compensate for this if you supply it with enough protein and carbohydrates. As the muscle protein synthesis is at its highest after a workout, it makes sense to have your dose of protein during that period. Seems completely logical.
Another theory is that you have to take high glycemic carbohydrates after your workout to spike up your insulin levels and also to replenish your glycogen stores in your muscles. As we all know, insulin is an anabolic hormone, mainly helping our body to reduce muscle protein breakdown, also called proteolysis. Therefore it is believed that spiking insulin levels will help our system reduce proteolysis, therefore increasing muscle protein synthesis resulting in muscle growth over time. Now the second part of this theory is glycogen replenishment. When you exercise your body mainly uses glycogen for energy. Glycogen is mainly stored in your muscles and it gets depleted during your workout. As you finish your workout the goal would be to replenish these stores as soon as possible, especially when your body super compensates right after the workout. This also sounds completely logical. Now lets see how does it actually work in real life.