You feel like you’ve tried just about everything. You’ve eaten lots of this food. You’ve wiped out lots of that food. You’ve eaten everything. You’ve eaten nothing.
And yet, you’re still not where you want to be. Not only isn’t your figure-shaping up the way you’d like it to, but your head is starting to unscrew itself.
Why wouldn’t it? It’s frustrating.
Sure, you know that deep down you are a phenomenal person. But that isn’t what this is about. It’s about triumph versus failure, and though you’ve tried to do something time and time over, you haven’t quite been able to, and that kills you.
But it doesn’t have to. In fact, there might be a fix out there that’s easy as can be.
What is it? Nutrient timing.
What is Nutrient Timing?
It’s exactly what it sounds like: eating certain foods at certain times so as to best make use of them. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter so much how much you eat or what you decide to eat but when you decide to eat that makes all the difference.
Let’s put it this way: your body can derive energy from three sources.
Those are carbohydrates, fats, and proteins.
We’ll skip the anatomy lesson and the spiel about how carbohydrates are a much more efficient source of energy than the rest, and that’s why they’re the first to be used in a pinch. Fats, meanwhile, are great for sustained energy but require your body to expend a ton of energy to break huge structures off of the molecule that it can work with in order to be effective. As for proteins: while they’re great to eat and are all but essential to proper function if your body is using them as a primary source of energy, you’re in trouble, not only because this isn’t a particularly efficient way to get your ATP, but chemical byproducts (ammonia; I know, right?) that are at normal levels can be totally harmless can, under these circumstances, become toxic.
So I guess that was the lesson. Right.
Anyway: you need to get as much variety from these three sources as possible, so as to ensure that your body isn’t relying on anyone too heavily. Eat too much fat, and your body will have trouble giving you bursts of energy. Eat too many carbs, and you’re likely in for a number of highs and lows caused by blood sugar hills and valleys. Eat too much protein, and you’re basically unloading ammonia on your insides.
Similarly important, though, is when you eat them. Some ideas on that.
The quick lowdown on insulin: it’s the chemical, secreted by your pancreas, that’s responsible for driving sugar out of your blood and into your muscles for use. Without an insulin response, your body will simply store blood sugar as fat – which isn’t necessarily bad, it’s just not why you’re eating that sugar (fast energy) in the first place.
There are two times of day when your body has top insulin sensitivity: immediately upon rising and right after your workout. These, then, become the best times for you to enjoy some carbs.
Late at night, however, it’s best for you to build meals around proteins and fats. Eat too many carbs at night, and your body isn’t likely to get the same trigger from your pancreas, forcing it to simply tuck it away as fat.
On fats: they’re pretty much golden throughout the day, but, again, it should be noted that they’re best used in place of carbs. So, increase your intake as the day progresses.
And for protein: your body similarly craves protein in the morning and after a workout, but in the nighttime is also a great time for protein, seeing as you’re likely to be headed for six to seven hours without anything. Casein proteins (cottage cheese) are best for that.