Nutrient Timing: An Effective Approach to Enhanced Athletic Performance, Recovery, and Training Adaptation


Nutrient Timing: An Effective Approach to Enhanced Athletic Performance, Recovery, and Training Adaptation



Faculty Mentor

Majid Koozehchian, Kinesiology; Gina Mabrey, Kinesiology; Kori Hill, Kinesiology


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11:00-11:10am | Houston Cole Library, 11th Floor


Nutrient timing is the delivery of high-quality nutrients via digestive consumption during exercise at various times. Macro- and micronutrients must be consumed at an optimal time pre, post, or during exercise in the appropriate amounts to increase performance, recover quicker, and train at a higher intensity. Nutrient timing can vary depending on desired outcomes and fitness activity. Understanding the benefit of macronutrients and micronutrients to aid in performance enhancement will aid in proper nutrient timing recommendations.

Restoring muscle glycogen stores for athletes performing intense workouts or competition is essential for optimal performance and recovery. Continued carbohydrate ingestion throughout exercise bouts has proven beneficial and improved performance. Exercise that is moderate to high intensity (65-80% VO2 max) relies on glycogen stores, and proper nutrient timing has proven to promote recovery. Carbohydrate timing is essential, especially in athletes who exercise at high volumes. It is still important to deliver carbohydrates once a workout or competition commences, but these studies show that the ingestion of carbohydrates at regular intervals can optimize performance and maintain blood glucose levels. To maximize glycogen stores, athletes who exercise at high volumes should consume a high carbohydrate diet of at least 8-12 g/day.

With resistance training, there is a decrease in muscle glycogen concentration and some benefits to carbohydrate loading before and during the exercise or competition, but isokinetic muscle performance was not influenced.

Protein consumption with or without carbohydrates with proper nutrient timing at reasonable doses increases adaptations to exercise. Endurance athletes traditionally consume carbohydrates days and hours before competition to improve the pace of training. While, strength-power athletes consume protein post workout to improve muscle size, increase performance, restore glycogen depletion, and reduce muscle damage. For endurance athletes, when protein is combined with a carbohydrate ingested before exercise, performance improves and reduces muscle damage. Carbohydrate and protein ingestion is proven to influence force production and muscle damage markers. When the combination of carbohydrates + protein is consumed, muscle protein synthesis is increased, muscle damage is minimized, and recovery is accelerated after intense exercise. Protein doses improve muscle protein synthesis. The nutrient timing of 20 to 40 g of protein every 3 to 4 hours can improve performance and body composition.

The importance of pre and/or post-exercise nutritional timing is excellent. The benefits of an effective nutrient timing strategy can improve strength and reduce recovery time and muscle damage while improving body composition. Nutrient timing must be a priority for an athlete to prepare for optimal performance.


student research, kinesiology


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Nutrient Timing: An Effective Approach to Enhanced Athletic Performance, Recovery, and Training Adaptation