Nutrition Timing

What is nutrition timing?

Nutrient timing is the planned consumption of macro-nutrients (carbs, protein, fat) at specific times to improve workout performance, promote health, improve recovery time, decrease body fat and increase muscle mass.

Manipulating our meal schedule can help regulate our metabolism, alter body composition and manipulate our hormones such as insulin.

Is nutrition timing for me?

For the majority of us, the quality of food and how much food we eat throughout the day is more important than worrying about what time to eat your meals. You will see amazing results just eating quality food in appropriate amounts, consistently.

There is a lot of planning that goes into timing your meals. You have to have your meals pre-portioned and the dedication to stick to a schedule. That amount of work can be stressful for some.

If you are a competitive athlete and are looking for the 1% difference in your performance, timing out your macro-nutrients can give you an important advantage.

Best of both worlds

We won’t dive too deep into the world of nutrient timing and thermodynamics because like we said, nutrient timing can really only benefit competitive athletes.

Instead let’s just talk about pre-, during, and post-workout nutrition.


The intention of a pre-workout is to boost your performance, maintain energy levels, preserve muscle, and speed up recovery. You will need protein and carbohydrates for that.

Protein will help with muscle growth and providing the amino acids that your body craves during a workout.

Carbs provide you with the fuel you need and provides/preserves glycogen storage in your liver and muscles.

Depending on how you tolerate food in your stomach, it’s best to have your pre-workout meal approximately 1-3 hour before your workout. Choose foods that won’t bother your stomach.

During A Workout

The intention of during-workout nutrition is similar to a pre-workout, to boost performance, speed up recovery, provide immediate fuel, preserve muscle but more importantly hydration.

During-workout nutrition is not needed for most of us. If your last meal was less than 2-3 hours ago, your focus should be on staying hydrated. If you are doing a long workout on a hot day, it’s important to have electrolytes in your drink.

During-workout nutrition is mostly beneficial for long and intense workouts, if you train multiple times a day, and/or if you are looking to make significant changes to your body composition.


The intention of a post-workout shake or meal is to recover, refuel, build muscle, and rehydrate.

When it comes to the “anabolic window”, it’s now believed that you have a longer amount of time to refuel according to more recent studies. You don’t need to run to your blender bottle immediately after a workout. Especially since there is still protein flowing around in your blood stream from your pre-workout meal. So the “anabolic window” is better determined by the last time you had your meal and the quantity.

As stated before, protein helps prevent muscle breakdown and stimulates muscle growth.

Carbs help with refueling your glycogen level, which can lead to faster recovery and can lead to a better performance the following day. You want to consume carb dense foods such as starchy carbs (i.e. sweet potatoes, oats, quinoa) and fruits after a workout.

Remember the quality and quantity of your nutrient consumption is far more important that what time you need to be eating.

All of this might have made you feel extremely overwhelmed but don’t worry! We offer nutrition counseling at CrossFit WindRose. We create simplified nutrition plans that work around your lifestyle. Want to sit down and talk? Schedule a free consultation today!