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Timing is Everything!

by: Dr. John Ivy

We all have our reasons for exercise and training. Increasing muscle mass and strength; improving cardiovascular endurance; improving overall physical fitness; losing weight; improving health; and reducing stress are just a few examples.

But if you really want to get the most out of your workout – if you want to see the best results and recover from exercise more quickly – it’s important to understand a little about “training adaptation”: After you work out, your body produces proteins to help your muscles recover from the stress of exercise. This process is called “protein synthesis,” and it is very specific to the type of exercise being practiced. For example, when you work out with weights, you increase your muscle mass and strength. When you train by running long distances, you gradually improve your cardiovascular endurance. In other words, your body uses protein synthesis to improve the energy systems you are using the most when you train.

And if you can speed up or encourage more efficient protein synthesis during our recovery period, you can speed up training adaptation. One way to speed up adaptation is by knowing what nutrients and supplements to consume.

Considering supplements? Here are six ways to add them successfully to your routine:

1. Have sufficient protein in your daily diet.

The recommended daily allowance for protein is 0.8g/kg body weight per day. However, this amount of protein is meant for maintenance, which means it’s insufficient for individuals who are engaged in regular exercise training or who are physically active. For those practicing aerobic exercise, the recommended daily protein intake be 1.2 to 1.6g/kg body weight per day. For those engaged in resistance exercise training, 1.6 to 2.0g /kg body weight per day is generally recommended. For best results, protein consumption should be spread out over the course of the day.

2. Consume a nutritious supplement after you work out.

After exercise, your body is highly sensitive to nutrients. In other words, when you consume the appropriate nutrients post exercise the body uses these nutrients to produce the appropriate proteins very efficiently. It is best to consume this post-exercise supplement within the first 30 to 45 minutes after exercise. If you wait longer, the nutrients lose their effectiveness.

3. Choose a supplement that contains carbohydrates and proteins.

The amount of protein in your supplement should be about 20 to 25 grams. The amount of carbohydrates will vary according to the type of exercise: If you’re performing aerobic exercise for more than an hour, you should consume between 60 to 90 grams of carbohydrate. If you are exercising less than an hour or doing resistance exercise, you should consume a supplement that contains between 20 to 50 grams of carbohydrates.

4. Whey protein is a good option – but not the only option.

Whey protein stimulates protein synthesis faster than many other proteins, which is why it’s a popular post-workout option. But there are other sources of proteins that are equally effective: Egg, pea, and soy products are all good choices. Peanut butter, Greek yogurt, and low-fat milk work, too.

5. Weight conscious? Don’t skip supplements.

Research has found that supplementing post-exercise can help reduce body fat while maintaining muscle mass. In other words, subjects who consumed a carbohydrate-protein supplement after exercise lost more fat and maintained more muscle mass than subjects who did not have a post-exercise supplement.

6. Do not skip breakfast. Your mother was correct – breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

Skipping breakfast may lead to increased appetite, overeating, reduced muscle mass, and increased body fat. Make breakfast a priority — even if it means having a cereal bar and milk if you’re short on time. It is very important that first thing in the morning you break your overnight fast.

To help promote improved natural energy and extended exercise endurance, consider adding SuperBeets® or BeetElite® to your workout routine.

Author

Dr. John Ivy, Executive Director of Sport & Nutrition Research

With a PhD in Exercise Physiology, Dr. John Ivy is our Executive Director of Sport & Nutrition Research. He has authored over 170 scientific papers and several books, including the well-known and highly respected Nutrient Timing: The Future of Sports Nutrition. Working with notable sports greats, including swimmer Michael Phelps during his preparation for the 2008 Summer Olympics, at which he won eight gold medals, his contributions to sports nutrition and science are unparalleled.

Dr. Ivy’s research has pioneered our understanding of muscle metabolism and the role that properly formulated nutritional supplementation can play in improving exercise performance, recovery and training adaptation. His current research is centered around understanding the interactions of exogenous dietary nitrite/nitrate (NOx) on the endogenous NO/cGMP pathway and how dysfunctions in each system can affect cardiovascular health.

Dr. Ivy received his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Maryland, and trained in physiology and metabolism at Washington University School of Medicine as an NIH Post-Doctoral Fellow. He has served on the faculty at the University of Texas for over 30 years and as Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Education for about half that time. Dr. Ivy is currently the Teresa Lozano Long Endowed Chair Emeritus at the University of Texas at Austin.

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