Thursday, November 13, 2008

Nutrient Timing

In an effort to start putting on muscle (and no, I’m not worried about bulking up!) I have started educating myself on the science of nutrient timing.

For edification purposes I read published articles and research papers by Dr. John Berardi, Alan Aragon and Dr. John Ivy. I've become a fan of Dr. Ivy, who has spent his career researching healthy options for building strength, endurance and muscle mass.

Up until now my focus has been on what to eat and how much to eat. With my goal being to build lean muscle mass I will now begin to incorporate nutrient timing, or when to eat, into my daily protocol.

In this posting I’ll briefly summarize Dr. Ivy’s position. For a more detailed explanation check out Dr. Ivy’s book, Nutrient Timing, available on for around $10 US.

If anyone out there has utilized nutrient timing as part of your regime, I’d love to hear about your results!

Biology 101

Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) provides the energy currency (fuel) for the body to perform mechanical work such as muscle contraction. It is created by the breakdown of food, which is why it’s imperative that if you’re exercising you keep your body well nourished.

ATP can be generated both anaerobically (without oxygen) and aerobically (with oxygen).

Anaerobically, ATP is formed through the phosphagen system and through glycolysis. The phosphagen system provides enough energy to fuel 5 to 10 seconds of activity while glycolysis fuels activities that last around 30 to 120 seconds. For longer duration activities such as a marathon, the body relies on the aerobic pathway where carbohydrates, protein and fat are utilized for ATP production.

So, while muscles can only store enough ATP for a few seconds of high intensity contraction (e.g, sprinting), our bodies are constantly generating more ATP.

The more intense the exercise, the greater the body’s demand for ATP, the more wear and tear on the body.

This is where nutrient timing comes in to play.


In his research findings, Dr. Ivy identified a time span during which nutrition will impact an athletes ability to improve endurance, reduce muscle damage and improve recovery.


  • 30 minutes prior to exercise fully hydrate by consuming 14 - 20 ounces of water or electrolyte solution.
  • During exercise fluids should be replenished every 15 - 20 minutes. And, not just water. A drink consisting of a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio can increase endurance and limit muscle damage.
  • 30 minutes post-workout is the window of opportunity where a muscle's potential to rebuild peaks. Ivy suggests high quality protein and carbohydrates be consumed during this period.


For the average person who does not spend a considerable amount of time exercising, focusing on the what and how much to eat will ensure they are able to maintain a desired weight. As for the athlete or person spending a considerable amount of time in the gym seeking to change their body composition, nutrient timing is well worth the exploration.

Train hard; stay strong.



Bookmark and Share


6 Responses to "Nutrient Timing"
  1. Doug Groce said...
    November 14, 2008 at 1:06 AM

    Great info here, Susan. I didn't know that about the carb to protein ratio in your workout drink -

  2. Bruno LoGreco said...
    November 14, 2008 at 9:09 AM

    Excellent find! I'm always looking for informative blogs with content that relate to nutrition.

  3. Susan said...
    November 14, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Neither did I before reading Dr. Ivy's research Doug!!

    Here is some more great info on the topic:

  4. Susan said...
    November 14, 2008 at 9:42 AM

    Bruno, thanks so much for visiting and the kind words!!

  5. Mark said...
    November 17, 2008 at 10:36 AM

    I have read in many places that taking a whey protein shake 30 mins before your workout can help give your body the amino acids it needs for extra fuel during your workout...i usually take a small shake before and a bigger one after my workouts. I have noticed more energy and endurance, especially in long runs, from taking whey before my workouts.

  6. Susan said...
    November 18, 2008 at 8:08 AM


    That's interesting. I haven't heard about ingesting a shake before a workout. I'll have to look into this more.

    I've been following Dr. Ivy's advice for about a week now and have noticed a definite improvement in endurance. Ultimately, it's about putting on muscle for me ... so I also need to continue to increase calories (the shakes are helping).


Copyright 2009 All Rights Reserved Revolution Two Lifestyle theme by Brian Gardner | Blogger template converted & enhanced by eBlog Templates