On nutrient timing
I am writing from the warmth of my porch to show you a typical day of Lacy Davis eats and talk to you about nutrient timing.
As a person who is excessively interested in all things health and wellness related, I am constantly presented with different (and opposing!) theories of how to eat for best health and “best” body composition. (I don’t think there is a best body composition, but I am going to use the phrase for ease of communication.) Nutrient timing is a theory that has been around for quite some time- so long, in fact that people are actually starting to produce studies against it, which is when you know a theory really has clout.
SO, here is the nitty-gritty: nutrient timing is a nutritional strategy that involves eating certain macronutrients at certain times for maximized muscle growth and fuel usage. Certain combinations of nutrients–primarily protein and carbohydrate–are to be consumed primarily around workouts and limited elsewhere.
There’s flaws in this theory (vegetables are carbohydrates, and those clearly should be consumed whenever), but many people that I know have used this strategy and liked the results. When there is a lot of back and forth around a subject, and it doesn’t seem particularly damaging, I think it makes most sense to try it out for myself, which is what I have been doing for the past 6 or 7 months.
For me, nutrient timing is essentially this:
Complex carbs for breakfast, fast digesting carbs and protein post workout, veggies with protein and a little carbs for lunch, protein and veggies for snack, protein and veggies for dinner, fat and protein for snack. Basically, my day is like a wave: carbs, then protein, then fat. (which is not to say that any of my meals lack ANY of these macronutrients. The wave simply illustrates what macronutrient is FAVORED at what time.)
The nutrient timing story says that post exercise is the most critical part of the theory, and that proper nutrients around exercise both rebuild damaged muscle tissue and restore energy reserves. As you can see, carbs are favored around my workouts, which might be surprising to some. For many years, I had a post workout protein shake with Vega Sport Protein Powder and unsweetened almond milk. Now I know that the lack of carbs may mean that I wasn’t giving my body ALL of what it needed after a workout. Adding a banana to that mix makes the shake much more optimal.
Now that you know the logistics, I will show you my food.
Breakfast: unsweetened almond milk, blueberries, oats, cha seeds and puffed kamut. After this I took a 90 minute olympic lifting class which involved hang snatches, front squats, stifflegged deadlifts, a superset of plate crunches, russian twists, and planks and a metcon of 200 Double Unders, 20 Back Squats at 105 lbs, 20 V-ups, 20 Ring Dips and a 200 meter Sandbag Run.
Post workout I had a smoothie with a banana, some strawberries, one scoop True Nutrition Pea Protein Powder in cake batter flavor (!!!) and some almond milk. It is worth noting that I used to love avocado in smoothies, but these days I know that fat inhibits protein absorption, so I keep my post-workout versions fat-free-ish.
Lunch: I have been LOVING challenging myself to make 99% of my lunch and dinners with ingredients from my local farmers market. This giant salad bowl was Beyond Meat grilled chicken strips, black beans, steamed potatoes, romaine, carrot top pesto, cauliflower, salsa, lemon juice, broccoli, salt, pepper, and nutritional yeast.
This snack was romaine lettuce leaves filled with salsa and Gardein Beefless ground.
My dinner salad was more romaine, cauliflower, broccoli, pesto, and beyond meat chicken, with the edition of ginger turmeric fermented cauliflower, grilled green onions, and cucumber.
My last (and favorite) meal of the day was a protein waffle (made from scratch and extremely low carb) with peanut butter on top. The best time of the day is peanut butter time, and I don’t care who knows it.
So what are the results of nutrient timing for me so far? Well, I am definitely leaner. My metabolism feels like its totally revved, I have a ton of energy, and my muscles are popping. But is this BECAUSE of the nutrient timing? Or is it the switch up of workouts I’ve had in the past few months? Maybe its the increased raw food intake, or my emphasis on veggies? The problem with taking results of self-regulated experiments as fact is simply that there are so many individual variables that it is honestly impossible to certainly come to a conclusion. I will say I am loving my body, my fitness, and my routine as of late, so I am going to keep doing what I’m doing until its no longer palatable.
Have you tried nutrient timing? Do you think it’s a worthwhile protocol?