Dr. John Ivy and Dr. Robert Portman published Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition in the early 2000's and it was deemed as the "Next Big Thing" for athletes.
Post workout concerns include protein synthesis, glycogen replenishment, and nitrogen balance.
However, recent research (as of July 2017) indicate the "anabolic window" of 30-45 minutes post workout isn't really 30-45 minutes. It's often closer to a couple hours, and truly isn't really important unless you're a bodybuilder or one that focuses on specific size/strength gains - in which case, you probably aren't learning much here and you have a different set of nutritional rules.
An estimated 31 million Americans skip breakfast "on a regular basis" while nearly half skip breakfast at least twice a week.
In how many languages can you say, "NOOOOOOOOO!"
"But I don't have time for breakfast." Make time.
I'm fine without breakfast." First, "fine" is not good enough. Secondly, I doubt you are.
Some good research below.
Numerous studies show eating a healthy breakfast, not doughnuts, provides a more nutritionally complete diet that's higher in nutrients, vitamins, and minerals. It also improves concentration in class or at work. Eating breakfast provides more general strength to engage in physical activity and can lower cholesterol levels.
Eating breakfast is important for everyone, especially children and adolescents.
Click here for a downloadable .pdf from the Alberta Health Services outlining the benefits of breakfast.
The Nutritional Hierarchy of Importance
from an article in Precision Nutrition
1. How much are you eating?
Recommendation: eat until satisfied, not until you feel stuffed
2. How are you eating?
Recommendation: eat slowly and mindfully, without distraction
3. Why are you eating?
Recommendation: hungry, bored, stressed, peer pressure, social cues - none of these are good reasons to eat
4. What are you eating?
Recommendation: minimally processed proteins, veggies, fruits, healthy starches, and healthy fats are good things; fried foods, pop (soda) are simple examples of what to stay away from.
5. Are you conducting #1-#4 properly?
Recommendation: have a goal of 80% consistency with these items
6. When are you eating?
Consider breakfast (good), late-night snacks (not good), before and after exercise
No, nutrient timing is NOT a total waste of time but it's important in an area we don't often consider - before the workout, practice, or game.
Pre-workout nutrition is often a MAJOR mistake made by most school-aged athletes and it's based around a time constraint of school release.
Typical timeline for a school-aged athlete:
Lunch between 11:00 and 12:30
School release 2:30 to 3:15
Practice 3:30 - 5:30
When is the kid supposed to eat? What can he eat in the 15 minutes before practice? Does he eat anything?
It's an extremely poor nutritional model. However, here are some guidelines for the young athletes to maintain a good nutritional balance.
Eat a good breakfast
Don't go light on lunch
- this lunch will serve as the primary fuel source for the practice or game; represented with as many food groups as possible, whole grains, lean protein (chicken or fish), fruit, vegetables, low-fat dairy - MUST think of this meal as filling the tank
Focus on Carbs for Energy
- choose whole-grain bread, crackers, cereal, and pasta for lasting energy
Spread out Protein Foods
- each meal (breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and some snacks throughout the day should have 25 grams or more of protein)
Use Caution with Fatty Foods
- fatty foods are not terrible for the young athlete at lunch as the time is sufficient for digestion prior to athletic competition, however, digestion of fatty foods makes the individual sluggish and is that what you want your kid to feel like in afternoon class?
"Foods and Fluids always"
- always drink water when eating. It's a simple way to remain hydrated and it aids in digestion. Drinking water throughout the day is crucial to hydration, especially 2-3 hours prior to game or practice time. During competition, aim for about 1/2 cup every 15-20 minutes as a goal.
Timing is Crucial
- plan for 2-3 hours before exercise to digest a meal (breakfast or lunch) and 60 minutes for a snack such as fruit or a granola bar. Other options include peanut butter and jelly on wheat bread, wheat bagel, low-fiber cereals (Honey Nut Cheerios dry or with low-fat milk), cereal bars, Nutrigrain bars, low-fat Greek yogurt, quick oats with low-fat milk.
If timing dictates only 30 minutes to eat prior to the practice or game, the athletes should be restricted to Saltine crackers, pretzels, a bagel, cereal with low-fat milk, or sports drinks.
*Be careful with sports drinks (Gatorade, PowerAde, etc) as consuming too much too fast can result in stomach cramps.
**Focus on low-fat and low fiber with minimal or no protein within 30-45 minutes of exercise (to consume quicker digesting foods)
Check out the sprint 2017 edition of American Fitness magazine from the National Academy of Sports Medicine on the topic of nutrient timing.
Nutrition for Everyday Athletes
Focus on carbs for energy. Choose whole-grain bread, crackers, cereal, pasta and potatoes for lasting energy. Save sports drinks for an energy boost during endurance sports or training sessions lasting more than an hour.
Spread out protein foods. Active bodies need protein to support growth and build and repair hard working muscles. Young athletes should spread protein foods throughout the day, having some at each meal and with most snacks, such as eggs and whole-grain toast with fruit for breakfast or a sandwich with low-sodium deli meat on whole-grain bread with yogurt and raw veggies for lunch. Plant-based protein foods like tofu and beans also are great choices.
Use caution with fatty foods. Fatty foods slow digestion, which is not ideal for an athlete facing a competition. Greasy, fried foods and fatty desserts are filling and may leave your athlete feeling tired and sluggish. Skip the fries or pizza before practice, and keep fat content on the light side.
Eat with food safety in mind. Nothing will slow down your athlete more than food poisoning – having stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea after eating. Make sure you store snacks at proper temperatures to prevent spoilage. Keep cheese, yogurt, meat, eggs and salads made with mayonnaise in a refrigerator or cooler. Shelf-stable items such as nuts, granola bars, and whole fruit can be tossed into a sports bag without a problem.
Flow with fluids. Good hydration should begin early in the day before kids even set foot on the playing field. Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water during the day leading up to a game, especially in the two to three hours before game time. Continue to drink during the game (about 1/2 cup every 15 minutes) and afterward to rehydrate after sweat loss. Water should still be kids' go-to drink for exercise that's under 60 minutes. Training sessions over an hour may require a sports drink to replace electrolytes lost through heavy sweating.
Timing is everything. When you eat is just as important as what you eat. Your body needs two to three hours to digest a regular meal such as breakfast or lunch before an athletic event, while a small snack such as a granola bar can be eaten 30 minutes to an hour in advance. Load up at meals but don't overeat, and keep snacks light as you get closer to game time.
Topping it off with milk. In addition to water, fat-free and low-fat milk also are smart ways to help young athletes meet their fluid needs. But that's not all. Just one cup of milk packs 15 to 24 percent of the protein most school-aged kids need in a day. It also delivers important nutrients of which most young athletes don't get enough, such as calcium, which is critical for building strong bones, transmitting nerve impulses, and helping muscles contract, as well as potassium for fluid balance.
Eating right on gameday is your athlete's secret weapon for top-notch performance, whatever the sport.
Here's a sample game day nutrition plan:
Pre-game breakfast. Gather together the family for a pre-game
breakfast about three hours before the event. Serve sliced and
lightly grilled potatoes paired with scrambled eggs and fruit such
as berries along with calcium-fortified orange juice or fat-free
milk for a nutritious pre-game meal.
Don't light-load or skip lunch. Many after school making lunch an essential fuel source. Lunch should be hearty and represent as many food groups as possible, including whole grains, lean protein, fruit, vegetables and low-fat dairy.student athletes compete
During the game/practice. Make sure your child keeps hydrated before, during and after practices and competitions. Dehydration results when your child athlete fails to adequately replace fluid lost through sweating. Dehydration that exceeds 2 percent body weight loss harms exercise performance, so make sure your child is well hydrated throughout the game with small amounts of water. Remind your child to replace fluid losses after exercise with lots of water. Also look to foods such as bananas, potatoes and fat-free or low-fat yogurt or milk. They contain potassium and carbohydrates which are important to replenish after exercise.
Post-practice or afternoon game snack. The hours after practice or a weekday competition may necessitate snacking before your family dinner. Make sure to have pre-prepared snacks ready when your kids arrive home hungry from a tough after-school practice or game. This can include sliced fresh fruit, low-fat yogurt, and smoothies.
Post-game family dinner. For a tasty and filling post-game family dinner, include all five food fruit, and dairy. Serve baked or broiled lean cuts of meat such as chicken breast, salmon or tuna. Include whole grains, for example, whole-wheat pasta with a low-fat tomato or cheese sauce. Toss in vegetables or include a side green salad. Then, complete your meal with fruit for dessert, such as baked apples or pears accompanied by a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk. Or create an instant yogurt parfait with layers of low-fat vanilla yogurt, fresh, frozen or canned fruit, and crunchy whole-grain cereal.groups — protein, grains, vegetables,