Protein Timing Matters

Nutrient timing is the concept that WHEN you eat your macros can influence performance/recovery/strength/muscle building/etc.⠀

For example, it's not just about how many total macros you consume, i.e. the number of carbs or grams of protein, but also about when you eat them and how they are spread out during the day.

Research has shown that protein intake, for example, leads to optimal recovery and hypertrophy if evenly spread out every 3-4 hours with approximately 20 grams of high quality protein per meal.

In a 2013 study by Areta et al, the researchers determined how different distributions of protein feeding during the 12 hour recovery period after resistance exercise affected anabolic responses in skeletal muscle.

“In conclusion, 20 g of whey protein consumed every 3 h was superior to either PULSE or BOLUS feeding patterns for stimulating MPS throughout the day.”

Whey protein digests quickly and has a complete amino acid profile, which is why it was used in this study.

In another recent study in 2020, the authors concluded that consuming a protein-enriched meal at breakfast and less protein at dinner while achieving an adequate overall protein intake is more effective than simply consuming more protein at dinner.

Also, before you workout, you might want to make sure you consume macros that will be the fuel source for the upcoming exercise. ⠀

So eating enough carbs and protein before and after a workout might help the anabolic response of the workout itself. ⠀

Typically, the closer you get to the training window, the more of a focus you would have on carbs/protein and less of fat/fiber. ⠀



Areta JL, Burke LM, Ross ML, et al. Timing and distribution of protein ingestion during prolonged recovery from resistance exercise alters myofibrillar protein synthesis. J Physiol. 2013;591(9):2319-2331. doi:10.1113/jphysiol.2012.244897

Yasuda J, Tomita T, Arimitsu T, Fujita S. Evenly Distributed Protein Intake over 3 Meals Augments Resistance Exercise-Induced Muscle Hypertrophy in Healthy Young Men. J Nutr. 2020;150(7):1845-1851. doi:10.1093/jn/nxaa101