Calorie Timing for Muscle Growth.
November 30, 2013 Admin 0
The often discussed topic of food intake can often transmogrify into the vague but wonderous notion that the time you consume your calories is far more important than the actual amount of calories you ingest. You know the scenario, cutting out the carbs after 4 o’ clock will lead to a lean physique, quicker than you can say ‘ripped’, similarly you can do the 40 Nugget Challenge washed down with two large root beers, as long as you hit the gym later that day and use it for fuel….
Amusing…perhaps, but this concept has also become de facto in certain circles, believing excess calories can be ingested, particularly post workout as long as they are consumed early enough in the day for them to be ‘burned off’ before evening. Although several studies have indicated that this holds some weight, the way in which the idea is presented by those who don’t quite understand the reasons why, combined with the usual ‘marketing’ employed by supplement firms has mostly precluded this important subject from being easy to understand.
To generalize calorie intakes, any excess calories ingested within any given time period are likely to contribute to fat storage. As the body follows its circadian pattern, insulin sensitivity is reduced later on in the day, in most people, but certainly not all individuals. Some folks can eat more calories, even late into the day and during the night, and not suffer from the undesirable side effects. When people follow erratic diets, or ingest excess calories but do not gain weight, often they are referred to as having a ‘fast metabolism’. Rather than possessing a magic metabolism that burns up excess calories like a V8 engine burns fuel, they have good insulin sensitivity. In obesity and a host of disorders, insulin resistance is the pathogenetic link underlying the different metabolic abnormalities.
To adopt a sensible approach to increasing muscle mass, increased calorie intake is paramount. Besides splitting your meals into 6-7 well proportioned slots, the post workout meal should be high in carbohydrates and protein and provide enough calories to provide, primarily, recovery. The benefits of (correct) post workout nutrition involve favourable effects on body composition, strength increases and important biochemical markers. But even though the body is in the position to utilise calories more efficiently after resistance exercise, consuming a boat load of calories will also have undesirable effects, just like over-eating at any other time. Timing your workout earlier in the day, for the most part, would allow most individuals to consume excess calories at this time, with less issues.
The final meal before bed should incorporate foods which are likely to be digested slowly. Fibrous carb sources, casein based protein powders, cottage cheese mixed with olive oil and lean meats are all good choices for this time of the day. Waking in the night has often been considered the stalwart of any ‘bulking cycle’ but can be useful if small amounts of food are consumed, such as a small meal of lean meat and vegetables. Certainly enough cornflakes with sugar that require a litre of milk to cover them, is not an ideal approach to adding that extra meal. Both examples would lead to an increased hypertrophy via improved nitrogen retention, but one choice will certainly see your gut spilling out onto your dockers as you stoop down to tie your shoelaces.
For more information on the effects of the circadian rhythm, insulin and nutrient timing, be sure to read this article.
An interesting look at meal timing and satiety, can also be found on the blog of my esteemed colleague, Dr. Robert Barrington here.
Tags: barrington, bodybuilding, bulking, carbs, circadian, creatine, dieting, dr, fat, food, gain, hypertrophy, index, insulin, loss, mass, muscle, nutrition, obesity, post, robert, supplement, timing, tony, training, weight, workout