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Periodized eating for busy professionals

Periodized eating for busy professionals

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Periodized eating for busy professionals -

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Even for aesthetic-based body composition goals, additional muscle mass and training are required for a firm, athletic look. Most people can survive on the above recommended 0. Below we will discuss the various ranges of protein needs for different types of sports and dietary circumstances.

Protein Needs for Endurance Sport Optimal protein intakes for endurance athletes is likely around 0. Although endurance sports such as marathon and triathlon do not require large muscle masses, the extremely high volume and heavy energy demands of these sports often exceeds immediate availability of carbohydrate and fat stores.

Protein must be burned for some fraction of training energy, and these fractions can add up over time, requiring a larger protein intake to keep muscle mass in equilibrium.

Because such voluminous training stresses muscle fibers often and for long durations, protein turnover rates are elevated, which means even more protein must be eaten to compensate. The CCH is a prominent player in protein intake determination for endurance athletes because they rely on relatively high intakes of carbohydrates to enhance their training and recovery.

The minimum protein intake for endurance athletes around 0. Higher protein intake during other periods of lower training volume and lower carbohydrate intake is likely beneficial for muscle maintenance. The CCH caps maximum protein intakes for endurance athletes at around 1g per pound of body weight per day to allow for adequate carbohydrate intake to support training.

Our best recommendation for endurance athletes is to average around 0. This provides additional protein to deal with energy needs and wear and tear without taking too much of the daily caloric allotment away from critical carbohydrates.

Protein Needs for Team Sports The daily protein needs per pound of body weight per day for team sport athletes is likely around 0. In team sports like soccer, basketball, or rugby high energy use in practice and competition increases need for protein to prevent net muscle loss. In contrast to endurance sports, most team sports require greater muscularity for optimal performance and have a lower total demand for energy.

Since the carbohydrate needs of team sport athletes are much lower than endurance sport athletes and the benefit from added protein is higher, their optimal protein range is higher than that of endurance athletes.

Protein Needs for Strength and Power Sports Strength and power sport athletes need around 1. Strength and power sports include weightlifting, powerlifting, fitness sport, American football, short-distance sprinting, jumping events, throwing events, and strongman and have a considerably different set of protein constraints and demands than other sports.

Athletes in these sports require substantially more muscle mass for performance and more frequent weight training. Strength and power athlete protein intakes have been well researched, and the minimum recommendation is 0.

This minimum is an amount of protein that can nearly guarantee no muscle loss from regular hard training on an isocaloric diet and can provide a reasonable amount of anabolic substrate. Depending on their training phase, strength-power athletes can consume up to around 2.

A recommendation optimal for strength and power athletes is likely around 0. Rounding up to 1g per pound per day can make calculations a bit easier and is well under the maximum protein intake and so probably poses no risk to reducing other macronutrients to minimum levels via the CCH.

Protein Needs on a Hypocaloric Diet The rate of catabolism is higher under hypocaloric conditions, so protein needs are elevated. A minimum of around 0. On longer and stricter fat loss diets, an argument for a higher minimum protein intake can be made as the propensity for muscle loss increases across longer term, more aggressive hypocaloric phases.

In most cases, 1g of protein per pound of body weight per day is optimal to prevent catabolism on a hypocaloric diet while leaving enough room for carbohydrates. However, because protein is so effective at reducing hunger overall, diet outcomes might be improved with slightly increased protein intake.

Research on lean, drug free bodybuilders shows the potential for added anti-catabolic benefits up to around 1. Though the effect is likely small, protein is also very filling and can help with adherence, so increases can indirectly benefit fat loss diets.

On the other hand, too much protein intake can eat into calories allotted for carbohydrates which have an anti-catabolic effect and fuel high volume, high intensity training which helps prevent muscle loss.

To prevent an excessive CCH-derived reduction in carbohydrates, hypocaloric diets should generally cap their protein intakes at a maximum of around 1. Anything higher will start requiring such big carb reductions that training volume and intensity may suffer and risk of muscle loss will increase.

Our recommendation for hypocaloric protein intake is a baseline of 1g per pound of body weight per day, with potential increases up to around 1. Protein Needs on a Hypercaloric Diet Hypercaloric diet conditions reduce anti-catabolic based protein needs.

This effect is so powerful that the protein minimum for anabolism on a hypercaloric diet is actually a bit lower than the hypocaloric diet minimum, and sits right around 0. While this amount of protein might be sufficient, it is unlikely that optimal gains in muscle mass will be obtained.

Carbohydrates are so valuable for muscle gain that the recommendation for maximum protein on a hypercaloric diet should likely be capped at around 1. Data has consistently shown that consumption above about 0. Since carbs do not have quite as low a cap for their anabolic effects, any extra protein consumed is going to risk pushing out carbs within the constraint of calories, and thus net anabolism could suffer.

Our recommendation for optimal muscle growth is therefore around 1. Carbohydrates Carbohydrates are large molecules that come in several main categories: Monosaccharides Single-molecule carbohydrates. These include glucose, fructose, and galactose. Disaccharides Two-molecule combinations of monosaccharides used to form a single large molecule.

These include sucrose a glucose and a fructose bonded , lactose a glucose and a galactose bonded , and maltose two glucoses bonded. Polysaccharides Longer strings of monosaccharides chained together. These include starch a digestible form of many glucoses linked together , cellulose or fiber which is mostly indigestible by humans and made up of glucose molecules , and glycogen an irregular matrix of connected glucose molecules which is the most common form for carbohydrate stored in muscle tissue and the liver.

Liver glycogen can be broken down to release glucose into the blood when blood glucose levels fall too low. When skeletal muscles are working at higher intensities of effort anything as hard as a jog or harder , they rely heavily on this stored glycogen to provide the energy to power contractions.

Energy-needy cells get first priority for incoming glucose. Not until most cells are energy-satiated will carb consumption result in increased blood glucose. Once blood glucose is at an appropriate level, liver glycogen synthesis becomes priority. Only when all of the above carbohydrate needs are attended to will muscle glycogen start to be synthesized in any meaningful amount.

It was previously thought that simple carbs digested quickly, tasted sweet, were more addicting, and were worse for health while complex carbs were opposite in every respect. Unfortunately, this model for carbohydrates was fundamentally flawed.

For example, fructose is a simple carbohydrate, but is incredibly slow digesting. In contrast, starch is a complex carbohydrate that, in its pure form, digests and is absorbed even faster than glucose. Furthermore, simple carbs are no more addicting than starches.

When consumed appropriately, simple sugars are no worse for health than starches and can have some distinct timing related benefits for training.

As you may have already inferred, the primary role of carbs in the human diet is for use as an energy source. Proteins are mainly used as building blocks for tissue and only used for energy on occasion when carbohydrates and fats are lacking.

Carbohydrates are the raw materials for energy metabolism and are used only in limited forms as structural components. As energy substrates, carbohydrates have no equal——they easily and rapidly provide energy, especially for high-volume users like nervous system cells and muscle cells.

Minimum, Maximum, and Recommended Daily Carbohydrate Intake Glucose can be obtained from other macronutrients, albeit less efficiently.

The human body does not actually need any carbohydrates from the diet for basic survival and health. So the minimum carbohydrate intake could be set at zero. The most abundant sources of needed vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and fiber, however, are vegetables, fruits, and whole grains, all of which contain carbs.

While most of these micronutrients can be supplemented, many are absorbed more efficiently when consumed via whole foods, so eliminating carbs entirely presents some risk to health.

How much plant-based food must be consumed to meet micronutrient needs for health depends on which foods are consumed. If a high diversity of colorful veggies and fruits are eaten regularly, the micronutrients they contain will satisfy health requirements with relatively low carb intakes.

On the other hand, if more processed grains are the primary source, a considerably higher amount of carb-rich food must be eaten to ensure adequate micronutrient intake.

The ceiling for carbohydrate intake is best set by using CCH to dictate carb amounts once protein and fat at are their respective minima. Within this constraint, there is no notable downside to very high carb consumption. These recommendations are fairly vague, so we will outline some specifics for carb intake below.

Carbohydrate Needs for Health In our estimate, if the predominant carb sources in the diet are vegetables and fruit, a minimum of around 0. Though currently popular, ketogenic diets are not ideally healthy.

Many of the conclusions regarding the benefits of ketogenic diets have been determined in studies using obese subjects, for whom any means of weight loss leads to improved health.

Better studies are needed in healthy but sedentary individuals for a full assessment of the benefits and downsides to low-carb eating. This is different for people who eat a ketogenic diet for medical reasons, a topic that is being widely researched.

Direct study of the subject and decades of research on individuals who eat vegan or otherwise highly plant-based diets have shown that relatively high carb consumption has no negative health effects on its own. Remember, though, that we are viewing all of these statements through the lens of the CCH.

If you are eating so many carbs that you begin to violate your calorie needs and gain excessive fat, negative health effects will almost certainly follow. On the other hand, if you displace too much fat and protein with carb calories, you will also likely suffer negative health effects.

Within these CCH-based constraints, even the maximum amount of carbohydrate consumption in no way interferes with health. The important exceptions to this rule are of course individuals who have conditions related to blood sugar regulation, such as diabetics, individuals with thyroid issues or Polycystic Ovary Syndrome PCOS , and many people with chronic digestive illnesses and other metabolic disorders.

For any diet change they wish to make, a consultation with their medical doctor or clinical nutritionist registered dietician in the United States is essential.

Because vegetable, fruit, and whole grain consumption is so supportive of optimal health, we do not recommend carbohydrate intakes of much less than 0.

This minimum can be dropped to 0. Remember that these relatively low needs for health are not adequately supportive of sport performance or muscle retention and that carb levels must be increased for best fitness outcomes. Carbohydrates in Performance and Body Composition Enhancement The nervous system relies heavily on glucose; so much so that large rapid drops in blood glucose can cause failures in brain function and even death.

Normal blood glucose levels sustain mental acuity, force production, and fatigue prevention. Brain cells are well fed and very responsive when glucose is readily available in the blood.

This means that reaction times are quicker, decision making is sharper, and motivation is higher. When blood glucose is too low, nervous system operation can falter leading to fewer motor units parts of a muscle all connected to one nerve contributing to a muscle contraction.

This in turn leads to lower contractile force and less strength, speed, power, and endurance. Tough competitions lead to mental and physical fatigue naturally, but low blood sugar hastens this fatigue.

Maintaining blood glucose levels through carbohydrate consumption during sport training or competition can therefore delay the onset of fatigue.

Glucose is also the preferred fuel for high intensity or voluminous physical exertion. Nearly all sports require high levels of force exertion.

While many sports are characterized in part by lower intensity exertions, it is often the magnitude of the high intensity components determine positive performance.

This is particularly true for any style of weight training. There is an argument that singles sets of 1 repetition do not require much carbohydrate, and this is true at the acute level.

Singles and doubles rely on stored ATP and creatine phosphate for energy. These contractions are still initiated by the nervous system, and thus dietary carbohydrate still benefits them even if high glycogen stores specifically do not.

In addition, the recovery of ATP and creatine phosphate stores after each set relies on carbohydrate. In any case, repeated sets and any repetitions over 3 get a significant proportion of their energy needs via glycogen so almost all weight training styles, in addition to almost all sports, rely on carbohydrate for maximum performance.

Consuming carbohydrates is an extremely powerful means of preventing muscle loss. Carbs provide an energy source that prevents the breakdown of tissue for fuel. In addition, anabolism is achieved via both glycogen- and insulin-mediated pathways, both of which are directly affected by carb intake.

Elevations in blood glucose resulting from carbohydrate consumption lead to the secretion of insulin, a highly anabolic hormone. Like many other hormones be it testosterone, growth hormone, estrogen, etc.

If insulin is high post-workout for an hour but very low during the rest of the day, the total exposure of the muscles to insulin is relatively insignificant.

If insulin is instead elevated for a large portion of each day, its anabolic and anti-catabolic signaling effects can add up to make substantial differences in muscularity over the long months term. While protein elevates insulin to some extent, fat does not elevate insulin much or at all. Carbohydrate consumption on the other hand has a predictable, consistent effect on blood insulin levels.

If elevating insulin for muscle growth is the goal, then eating carbs is the easiest and most effective path. Glycogen-mediated anabolism is perhaps even more important to muscle gain and retention.

Eating carbs allows you to train harder, which grows more muscle and diverts more calories toward muscle repair and upkeep. When this is done on a hypocaloric diet, it has the potential to cancel the catabolism stimulated by insufficient calorie intake.

Multiple molecular pathways for these effects have also been elucidated, so both the effect and mechanism have been well studied. In other words, if you chronically under-eat carbs you will almost certainly gain less muscle on hypercaloric diets and lose more during hypocaloric phases.

Carbohydrate Needs for Endurance Sports High levels of performance in conventional endurance training require carbohydrate intake.

Energy production, nervous system demands, and recovery for endurance training is best addressed through carbohydrate consumption. For performance and recovery minimum carbohydrate intake recommendation is around 1.

In most cases, 1. This means that low-carb diets are relative non-starters for endurance sport. Because of the numerous benefits of carbs to endurance training, the lack of downsides of maximal consumption, and the ineffectual result of increasing fat intake past minimum levels, endurance trainers will likely see optimal results by maxing out their carb intake within the CCH.

That being said, anything past about 3. Targeting that value and eating the remaining calories in extra fat and protein is a good approach for an endurance athlete.

On days when training volumes are extremely high, a temporary increase can be beneficial. For example a cyclist doing a 12 hour bike ride or an ultra runner doing a 50 mile race might benefit from 5. Because calorie consumption will be so high on days with such extensive output, increasing carbs this much is unlikely to even violate CCH constraints for an isocaloric diet and will allow better performance and recovery.

Carbohydrate Needs for Team Sports A rough minimum of about 1. Athletes who train on the lower end of this category and lead very sedentary lifestyles outside of sport can make do with less.

Others training on the higher end of the potential range who are otherwise more active might need a slightly higher minimum carb intake. For most team sports, optimal carbohydrate intakes range between 1.

Similarly to endurance recommendations, if a particularly grueling event or training day occurs, an acute increase in carbohydrates from the upper limit of this range can improve performance and recovery.

When determining the above ranges, we are referencing the competitive pursuit of sport, not merely recreational involvement.

If you participate in sports mostly for recreation and not competition, you can have fewer carbs leaving more room via CCH in your diet and probably make meal planning easier.

Higher carbs for competition come at the cost of fats in diet design. In contrast, for strength, power, and speed work phases, most athletes can meet their minimum needs with about 1.

In the context of the average sport diet and the average western diet, this is quite a low number, but it makes sense for many strength and power sports. While heavily dependent on differences in training volumes and daily activity levels, an average intake of 1. This baseline intake can be modified from between 1.

Carbohydrate Needs on a Hypocaloric Diet Carbs have powerful anti-catabolic properties, so dropping them very low on a fat loss diet can result in muscle loss. Assuming that a dieter is engaging in hypertrophy training and some form of sport training or cardio to help stave off muscle loss; around 1.

Anything below this recommendation would lead to glycogen depletion in most major muscles, chronically low blood glucose levels, decreases in the chemical milieu that supports muscle size, and would hamper high volume and intensity training that also contributes to muscle retention.

Lower intakes can be handled for shorter periods for example on rest days. As glycogen becomes severely depleted, it must be refilled in order to prevent muscle loss. During fat loss diets, the CCH plays a larger and larger role as calories are decreased.

With less calories to work with, the options for various macronutrient ratio combinations begin to shrink——all macros might need to be at or near their minima by the end of a hard fat loss diet. Thus the optimal amount of carbohydrates recommended on a fat loss diet becomes the maximum amount of carbohydrates that fit within the CCH constraint when protein and fats are brought to their minimum.

Carbohydrate Needs on a Hypercaloric Diet A minimum of 1. Anything much lower would reduce insulin secretion and necessitate such a high fat and protein intake that muscle gain would be much more difficult and much less effective.

Gaining muscle on lower carb intakes is possible, but less probable. As we have discussed, the performance and especially glycogen and insulin-mediated potentiation of anabolism that carbs promote lead us to recommend their maximal consumption within CCH for optimal muscle growth on a hypercaloric diet.

Polyunsaturated fats Fatty acids with multiple carbon-carbon double bonds in their fatty acid chain. Trans fats Trans describes the configuration of an unsaturated fat. Essential fats, much like essential amino acids, are fats that are critical to survival and health, but that cannot be made by the body and so must be consumed.

The two types of essential fats in the human diet are Omega-6 and Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids. Both occur in a wide variety of foods and can also be supplemented.

Further, some vitamins cannot be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract without the presence of fat, so extremely low fat diets also risk vitamin deficiencies.

Hormone dysregulation can also occur when fats are under-eaten as fats supply some of the raw materials for hormone production.

The minimum recommendation is around 0. In addition, this minimum value ensures enough fat intake to support sufficient testosterone, estrogen, and prostaglandin production for best body composition and performance outcomes.

As with other nutrients, there is some variance in this value based on the individual; 0. In terms of maximum fat intake, current science suggests that as long as fats are not so high as to violate the CCH for carbs, proteins, and calories, the amounts eaten within these constraints can be considered healthy.

What types of fats and in what ratios they are consumed can alter health and body composition outcomes to be discussed in detail in Chapter 5. It must be noted that some individuals will have slightly better bloodwork at lower or higher fat intake levels. If health is your number one priority, trying different ranges and assessing your health with a medical professional via bloodwork is likely a good idea.

This means that some people might be able to have a diet that meets minimum carb, protein, and micronutrient needs and is relatively high in fat and still be very healthy. Some prerequisites in quality of food sources would have to be met on such a diet, but it is within the realm of possibility.

Unfortunately such a diet is not optimal for performance or body composition changes. Fats in Performance and Body Composition Enhancement The production of testosterone and estrogen relies, in part, on fat intake and both of these hormones are critical to muscle gain, muscle retention, and nearly all performance adaptations.

In addition, fat intake supplies essential fatty acids for the production of physiologically active lipid compounds that play key roles in the regulation of muscle growth and repair, particularly through their mediation of inflammatory processes.

Some have argued for fats as a primary fuel source for athletic performance, most recently ultra-endurance performance. As of this writing, there is very little evidence that fat is a high performance fuel and a wealth of evidence that carbohydrates are the better performance fuel source.

CCH based on sport and recommendations for compliance on particular diet phases do alter these recommendations slightly and these are discussed below. Fat Needs for Endurance Sports, Team Sports, and Strength and Power Sports Due to carbohydrate needs and the CCH constraint, the fat intake recommendation for endurance athletes is very close to the minimum 0.

For team sports and strength and power sports, the recommended range of fat intake is anything between minimum fat intake and CCH maximum, assuming that adequate amounts of proteins and carbs are already being consumed.

The only difference here is that team sport and strength and power athletes, depending on training phases, may have periods when carbohydrate intakes can be dropped to allow room for more fats without any detriment. Fat Needs on a Hypocaloric Diet On one hand, keeping fat intake higher on a hypocaloric diet can mean a higher flexibility in food choices.

This can result in better adherence and thus success. We recommend that calorie reductions be achieved via reductions in fat up their healthful minimums.

Fat Needs on a Hypercaloric Diet Maximizing carbohydrate intake on a diet geared towards muscle gain is optimal. Keeping fats at or near minimum to allow more room for carbohydrates is beneficial here, however, in practical terms we know that the caloric surplus in a hypercaloric diet is of greater importance than macronutrient amounts for muscle gain.

Fats have distinct practical advantages that help a dieter get in the needed calories to maintain a surplus. Fats are tasty and easy to add to food, making eating more food easier and more fun. Additionally, fats occupy less space in the stomach, so that eating more calories from fat can make a hypercaloric diet more comfortable.

For beginners and intermediates, we recommend generating a calorie surplus with any of the three macros proteins, fats, or carbs as long as protein and carb requirements are being met. For individuals who struggle with eating enough food to gain weight, more fats might make gaining easier. For more advanced trainers and those without problems eating, keeping fats close to their minimum values 0.

Keep in mind that running a hypocaloric or hypercaloric diet while training in a specific sport might require trade-offs in performance for diet progress or visa versa and choose the range appropriate to your prioritized goal.

Optimal macronutrient amounts might change across training phases in a specific sport. In this respect, protein is simply more determinative than carbs.

After calories, protein should be first priority in most cases. There are some exceptional situations in which carbs are temporarily just as important or more important than protein intake in the diet. In high-volume endurance training, glycogen and blood glucose are depleted so fully and rapidly that eating enough carbs to counterbalance this is a very uphill battle.

If protein is under-consumed, while the effects will be negative, they will mostly manifest over weeks and months as muscle mass declines. If insufficient carbs are consumed, there will be an immediate negative effect on training quality and performance.

Fats can be a fuel for very low intensity movements, such as walking or slow jogging, explaining why ketogenic low carb diets have fared better in ultra-endurance sports than they have in most every other sport.

Performances even in these extreme endurance races however still greatly rely on endogenous carbohydrate stores, and benefit from high carbohydrate dietary conditions. Since most sport activity is best powered by carbs, consuming them is more determinative of performance both in training and competition and is thus a priority over fats.

In addition, carbohydrates are a better fuel source for the nervous system, which governs mental aspects of performance in sport. Carbs exert more beneficial effects on the body in abundant quantities than do fats and for that reason are ranked higher in priority within the macros.

Even in amateur sport competition, it is rare to see large differences in performance between athletes on the podium. For competitive athletes and fitness enthusiasts, especially those who are more experienced at training and dieting, meal timing is an important factor for optimizing progress.

This chapter will cover the theoretical aspect of this principle. Practical application will be addressed in Chapter Nutrient timing has six distinct components: Meal number describes the number of meals an individual consumes per day. If you take a few bites of a sandwich at pm and then take a few more at pm, by sports nutrition standards you have eaten two meals.

Choosing appropriate time lengths between meals can depend on digestion time and hourly bodily needs. That being said, eating six evenly-sized, evenly spaced meals per day is not identical to eating three large and three small evenly spaced meals per day, even though by meal number and spacing they are the same; these differ in the third component, meal size.

Meal macros describe how much of each macronutrient is present in a meal and can differ between meals even when calories are held constant.

For example, while two meals might each have calories, one could contain 50g of protein, 25g of carbs and 22g of fat, and the other 25g of protein, 50g of carbs and 22g of fat. Meal food composition describes the types of foods comprising the calories and macronutrients in each meal.

The type of food within the meal can influence digestion rates, absorption rates, the satiety the meal provides, whether the meal causes gastrointestinal distress, and other factors worth consideration.

Even when matched for calories and macronutrients, some food choices may be advantageous at certain times and not others. Thirty grams of protein is the same amount of protein whether it comes from a chicken breast or a whey protein shake, but one can be preferable to the other depending on when it is consumed.

Meal timing around activity is the last of the nutrient timing components, but certainly not the least important. This component refers to structuring meals and macronutrients around training times to best support physique and performance outcomes.

Of particular interest are the meals before, during, and immediately following training bouts. Nutrient Timing Effects Manipulation of the components of nutrient timing has well-studied effects that dictate the recommended optimal nutrient timing structure within diet design which we will outline below.

The various components of nutrient timing are very intertwined, however and manipulation of one often affects the other. We will discuss the components in concert below according to effect, and then summarize the resulting recommendations.

Poor meal timing can also lead to issues with diet adherence, at further detriment to results. Splitting the eating burden into four or five calorie meals is much more sustainable.

On the opposite end of the calorie spectrum, hypocaloric diets make people feel hungry. Outside of risking breaks in adherence cheating on the diet , prolonged hunger can itself add to stress and fatigue levels that impact performance and decrease muscle retention.

There are two kinds of timing extremes that needlessly increase hunger on a fat loss diet. First is the very low frequency approach, in which you spend most of your day starving and then indulge in a few large meals.

Pulses of food-mediated pleasure can promote food craving and unhealthy relationships with food that last beyond the diet phase.

Biasing meal size a bit according to intermeal interval can be a good idea if schedules prevent evenly spaced meals Figure 4. Conveniently, these recommendations fit with protein frequency and proportion recommendations, which we will discuss shortly. In all of these cases, a steady stream of nutrients is delivered across inter-meal periods thanks to appropriate meal sizing.

Digestion Rates and Meal Timing The GI tract takes longer to digest larger amounts of food, but only to a certain extent. This is one of the reasons that four meals per day is the lowest recommended frequency.

The trouble is that this meal structure leaves stretches of time between meals when food is fully absorbed, but no new nutrients are coming in. This is a problem for muscle retention.

If you instead ate the same number of calories distributed over six evenly sized meals, fat would still be lost because of the hypocaloric aspect , but due to the continuous input of amino acids, muscle would be spared.

Meal composition can also alter digestion time, playing an important role in meal timing choices. Different protein and carb sources digest and absorb at different rates.

For example, while whey protein digests and absorbs within the hour if taken alone in small doses, a chicken breast of equivalent protein content can take hours to absorb. Casein protein can take longer than 7 hours to fully absorb.

Similarly, carb sources like dextrose powder pure glucose are absorbed in minutes, whole grain breads in several hours, and some fruits take even longer. Fats slow the digestion of other nutrients and decrease their rate of delivery to muscles.

If you consume a large amount of fat but very little protein in a meal, protein delivery to muscles will be delayed. Higher-fat meals are best eaten with additional protein so that per-hour amino acid availability is sufficient during the lengthened digestion and absorption period.

You can choose nutrient sources to fit your schedule. If you eat four times a day, your typical food sources should be moderately or slowly digesting proteins and carbs that will gradually release nutrients into your bloodstream for the entire meal interval Figure 4.

Since added fats slow down the digestion of all nutrients they can make these differences moot, but individuals on lower fat diets should pay more careful attention to meal composition. The protein needed for this turnover can come from the diet or, if the diet is insufficient, muscle tissue.

Generally speaking, under hypercaloric conditions, sufficient protein intake supports muscle growth. Under isocaloric or hypocaloric conditions, sufficient intake helps prevent muscle loss. Interestingly, the human body can only use so much protein at a time to build or maintain muscle.

The literature shows roughly four evenly spaced meals, each containing ¼ of your daily protein needs, supplies sufficient protein at a usable rate.

A lb athlete who needs around grams of protein per day should therefore consume meals of no more than 50g of protein at a time for maximum protein utilization. Any additional protein per meal will just be burned for energy.

This is often misunderstood to mean that protein will not be digested or used at all after a certain per meal threshold, however this upper limit pertains only to skeletal muscle protein synthesis. If you eat all of your daily protein in one meal the protein will still be digested and used for other various bodily functions, but only about ¼ will go towards skeletal muscle growth or maintenance.

For a diet with g of protein recommended per day, less than 25g might not be enough protein per meal and more than 50g per meal will leave other meals without protein.

There is some flexibility here; if you under-eat protein a bit at one meal and over eat at the other, some compensation occurs. This is a relatively narrow margin though; when some meals are overly heavy with protein or smaller protein consumptions are followed by long stretches without eating you run the risk of muscle loss.

Four larger meals depicted by the larger, black waves provide a slower rise and drop in blood nutrients.

The dotted horizontal line depicts average nutrient amounts in the blood. It is particularly important to supply sufficient protein at timely intervals during hypocaloric diets when much of the ingested protein is burned for energy and only a fraction is used for muscle-specific functions. In fact, because of the general energy surplus on a hypercaloric diet, protein needs are lower as low as 0.

Meal timing choices are still relevant on a hypercaloric diet, as amino acids are in constant demand in order to supply FSR curves for muscle growth Figure 4. Periods where not enough amino acids are available are indicated by the shaded red areas.

Because FSRs are limited, even though the total protein eaten in A. and B. is equivalent, option B. one large protein meal facilitates less total muscle growth.

Though it is likely unnecessarily tedious, we can also examine per-hour protein needs. The actual process of muscle growth is measured by the FSR of muscle tissue. Right after weight training, these rates rise for up to 24 hours.

Once the FSR peaks, it can take days to fall back to baseline. Because most people are training multiple times a week, the demand for amino acids to supply FSR is rather stable as another workout is always pushing them back up before they can fall to baseline again Figure 4.

This means that our bodies need a certain amount of protein hourly, no matter what time of the day we worked out, slept, or whatever else. We can also divide our daily protein dose by the 24 hours in a day to get our per hour protein needs, though this may be best suited for thought experiments and not practical dieting.

FSR rises slowly for many hours and stays elevated for days. If our athlete wanted to eat two meals at three hours apart, they would need to eat about 30g of protein at meal one to supply amino acid needs across those three hours between meals.

If meals were separated by five hours, the first meal should have around 50g of protein to supply amino acids across that five hour time period. This becomes problematic when we factor sleep into the equation.

If this lb athlete is awake for 16 hours and eats according to hourly protein needs, they will consume just g protein during their waking day. That leaves 80g to consume before bed, which is more that ¼ of their daily protein and therefore more than their body can use for muscle production when consumed at one meal.

Hourly calculations might come in handy for those working 24 hour shifts or dealing with other odd schedules in which prolonged periods without sleep occur.

For anti-catabolism, splitting up protein feedings evenly is sufficient. From molecular research, it seems possible that leucine, an amino acid component of most food proteins, is one of the central regulators and activators of muscle growth. If the leucine content of a meal is below some value, the musculature may engage only in anti-catabolism.

There has, as of yet, been no evidence from long-term human studies confirming the effect of this threshold, but the molecular evidence is notable.

Carbohydrate Timing and Portioning Carbohydrates support immediate energy needs and glycogen synthesis up to its maximum rate.

Once you exceed immediate energy needs and glycogen synthesis rates, remaining carbs are converted to fat tissue. Although laboratory glycogen synthesis studies have reported rates up to around 0.

Intakes over 0. In reality, the glycogen-replenishment upper limit in individuals is probably around 0. This means that a lb individual should not exceed ~50g of carbohydrate per hour, even when doing their hardest training.

If this person eats every 4 hours, g of carbs per meal should be their absolute maximum. Not the most relevant limit, as that is much more carbohydrate than most people need or would eat per meal, but pertinent for timing extremes. For example, in some intermittent fasting diets, people might eat all of their daily carbohydrates in one meal.

Maximum glycogen synthesis rate becomes relevant here because if you weigh lb and your daily carb allotment is g of carbs and you only eat one meal, as many as g of those carbs may go toward fat storage. Because carbs are significantly anti-catabolic, their consumption in most meals is recommended in order to prevent muscle loss Figure 4.

Carbs are ideal as a fuel source to spare protein, and in fact your body will tend to use them preferentially for that purpose if they are co-ingested with protein. The benefit of increasing carbohydrate intake for anti-catabolism is non-linear however and probably loses potency above values of 0.

This means that our lb athlete does not likely need more than 60g of carbs per meal for this purpose when eating every 4 hours. In contrast to protein intake, lower carbs in one meal make the musculature more sensitive to absorbing higher amounts of carbs in the next meal, so under-eating carbs in one meal can be compensated with overeating carbs in the next to a greater extent.

Maximum carbohydrate intake recommendations are therefore in the range of 0. This is the maximum amount of carbohydrates that most individuals would be able to absorb under heavy training conditions.

General daily recommendations for normal training and for non-training days will be substantially lower. Details for appropriately assigning carbs will be discussed in depth in Chapter Adding carbs allows the meal to reach the needed protein and total calories to reach the FSR threshold.

Your body has different nutritional needs depending on recent, present, or upcoming physical activity. We can outline six general periods, each with unique nutritional needs: · Pre-Training Window · Intra-Training Window · Post-Training Window · High-Activity Non-Training Periods · Low Activity Periods · Bedtime Pre-Training Window The pre-training window refers to the 30 minutes to 4 hours before training begins.

During this window, carbohydrates are needed to top off muscle glycogen stores and help regulate blood glucose levels in preparation for the high-energy demands of training.

A state where muscle glycogen stores are full has two interesting benefits. The better known of these is to energetically support high intensity muscular activity. Pre-Training window meal restrictions include limiting meal size and avoiding slow digesting foods when the meal is eaten closer to training.

Most blood will leave the GI tract during high physical exertion in order to circulate between the working muscles, heart, and lungs.

Without blood to pull nutrients out of the intestines, undigested food in the GI tract can lead to discomfort, nausea, or even vomiting. If an individual is too full to perform well after a large meal, training will be impaired ultimately defeating the purpose of the pre-training meal.

Likewise, having insufficient energy for training from fasting all morning can have equivalently detrimental effects. The size of the pre-training meal and digestion time of its contents should be scaled to the time between this meal and training Figure 4.

Larger, slower digesting meals can be an option if the pre-training meal comes three to four hours before training. In contrast, a very small amount of quickly digesting protein and carbs with minimal fat and fiber should be consumed if one is eating around 30 minutes before training.

In the latter case, some intra-workout carbohydrate ingestion may be advisable to prevent sudden changes in blood sugar due to the fast absorbing carbs and their rapid use during training.

Maintaining stable blood sugar is preferable for best performances. Intra-Training Window Most workouts, especially those that last less than an hour, rely almost exclusively on stored glycogen and pre-workout nutrients. Fast-digesting carbohydrates can be combined with small doses of fast-digesting proteins to supply the working muscles with an anti-catabolic mix.

In addition, fast-digesting carbs can help maintain blood glucose levels through the workout, which is both anti-catabolic and supports performance.

This protein amount is reasonable for most, but the carb amount should be decreased from the maximum for all but super-high volume workouts like endurance cycling. Post-Training Window Training engages a catabolic hormonal and intracellular condition that persists for some time post-training unless a more anabolic state is attained by the introduction of nutrients.

Recently trained muscles are also very sensitive to carbohydrate intake and primed to replenish glycogen during the post-training window. This effect decreases slowly over the subsequent three to six hours following training.

Thus carbohydrate intake during the six hours post training will have the greatest anabolic effects. Because uptake of carbs into the muscle for glycogen storage is so high during this time, conversion to fat is much lower, a twofold benefit.

It has also been found that fat cells are less sensitive to nutrients in the post-training window, which magnifies the post-workout nutrient consumption benefit even more.

Studies suggest significant muscle glycogen resynthesis at consumption rates of g per hour post-exercise for the average lb person. Maximal resynthesis was seen at intakes of around 84g per hour, but this level of intake is likely unnecessary for most individuals under most training circumstances.

If you happen to be training twice or more in one day, replenishing glycogen in the post-workout window is critical to being able to maintain glycogen levels for all training sessions that day. Fats should be kept to a minimum in the first post-workout meal as they delay digestion of carbohydrates Figure 4.

The post-training meal should be consumed as soon as the athlete feels comfortable taking in food. Consuming mainly fast digesting proteins and carbs in the post-workout meal supplies carbohydrates for glycogen storage and anabolism the fastest and keeps the risk of gastrointestinal distress low.

Protein needs, mostly due to the smooth and stable nature of FSR curves, are relatively unchanged. High-Activity Non-Training Periods Examples of high-activity non-training periods include hiking for leisure, running around shopping with your children all day, or physically intensive jobs like construction or professional dancing.

These activities require more energy than sitting at a desk or relaxing on the couch on your day off. Carbohydrate intakes should be increased to reflect energy expenditure rates compared to low activity periods. Because the immediate energy demand of such times is low, the amount of carbs and fats needed to offset potential protein burning is also lower.

Bedtime Bedtime meals have very similar constraints to meals that precede other low activity periods, but there are some unique considerations for this meal. Eating too close to bed can, however, cause gastrointestinal distress or interfere with sleep quality for some. Similarly, fat slows protein absorption, so it offers us the ability to extend an anabolic and anti-catabolic environment longer into the night, but some research has indicated that eating large amounts of fat in the pre-bedtime meal may interfere with sleep as well.

Thus, although eating closer to bedtime and adding fats to the bedtime meal is advantageous, some individuals may have to experiment with bedtime meal timing and fat content and make trade-offs of maximum results for quality sleep. There have been proponents of waking during the night to eat a meal in order to minimize muscle loss risk further.

The detrimental effects to sleep quality which impact recovery and muscle growth however, likely make any benefits of this practice moot. There is also some evidence that for best intestinal health, periods without nutrient ingestion might be needed.

It is possible that nutrient sensitivity is improved by the lack of nutrient intake during sleep but also unlikely that this means that we should fast for any duration longer than the sleeping period. Daily macros are split into 5 meals, with protein held steady meal to meal, carbs heavier around the workout, and fats kept lower near the workout.

There is also some flexibility for how long before training 30 minutes to 4 hours and how soon after training immediately to about an hour after it is best to eat. Some degree of undereating in one meal and overeating in another can make up for each other.

This is all to say that overly religious dedication to the tenants of good meal timing is not necessary. Tedious meal scheduling can deter diet adherence and make your life overly stressful. Take advantage of the flexibility and range of options in order to improve your diet with nutrient timing, but avoid over-emphasizing this principle.

Chapter 10 will cover more precise practical details for applying this principle in the design of your own diet. It describes what other nutrition is obtained along with the desired macronutrient and how the food is digested and utilized by the body.

Food composition is measured by things like digestibility and digestion time as well as by vitamin, mineral, phytochemical, and fiber content. For health outcomes, food composition plays a much larger role, so paying attention to this principle can pay off in the long term despite its small contribution to immediate fitness outcomes.

Protein Composition Protein sources vary across three main food composition aspects: digestibility, protein quality, and to a lesser extent the presence of other micronutrients.

Protein Source Digestibility Protein sources can be ranked by their digestibility. Digestibility refers to how much of ingested protein is absorbed and utilized by the body. Animal protein sources tend to be among the best digested protein sources.

Dairy, eggs, and isolated protein powders tend to be the most completely digested protein sources. After these, meat and soy products are a close second. On average, plant-sourced protein is much less efficiently digested in part due to cellulose——a component of plant cell walls that cannot be broken down by the human gut.

Processed plant protein sources can be healthier than non-processed whole food options because of this; the processing of plant protein can break down cellulose and make the amino acid contents more accessible.

Some exceptions are mycoprotein a fungus based protein and nutritional yeast. Because fungus and yeast do not contain cellulose they are much better digested and absorbed.

Protein Quality Sources of protein can also be ranked based on the types and ratios of amino acids they provide. Multiple protein sources that together contain all essential amino acids are called complementary.

While all animal sources are complete, most plant sources are not. Consumption of complete protein at every meal is not likely to have a large effect on health so long as the needed amino acids are consumed in appropriate amounts daily, on average. For body composition and performance concerns however, getting enough of all essential amino acids at every meal is valuable and recommended for best muscle growth or retention.

Protein Digestibility-Corrected Amino Acid Score PDCAAS is the gold standard for evaluating the quality of a protein source. This method takes into account both the essential amino acid content and the digestibility of the protein. A score of 1 is the highest possible score and means that the protein source contains all of the essential amino acids and can be fully digested such that all of the amino acids can be absorbed when that source is eaten.

Quality of protein decreases with PDCAA score down to 0. A food with a score of 0 would provide no accessible essential amino acids. Table 5.

In addition to providing high quality protein, animal products are also rich in a number of vitamins and minerals which plants tend to lack or have in much smaller quantities. Examples include some of the B vitamins in particular B12 and Iron. In contrast, although plant based protein sources are often lower quality and harder to digest, they tend to be higher in fiber and phytochemicals and lower in less healthy classes of fats.

Carbohydrate Composition Two primary factors determine the quality of a carbohydrate source——its digestion time and its nutrient density. Carbohydrate Source Digestion Time and The Glycemic Index The glycemic index measures how quickly a source of carbohydrates is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream.

Glycemic indices can be determined in a lab setting by measuring the blood sugar concentrations of study participants over hours after having consumed a particular carb source; values are ranked on a scale of 0 lowest - highest.

Quickly digested carbohydrate sources cause a rapid spike in blood sugar resulting in a high glycemic index value. Slowly digested carbohydrate sources cause more gradual and sustained elevations in blood sugar and therefore have lower glycemic indices. On the other hand, glycemic index values are lower in the presence of fat, protein, or fiber which can slow digestion.

For this reason hummus, the processed version of chickpeas with added fats, has a lower glycemic index than chickpeas themselves. It is also important to note that eating other food sources along with a particular carbohydrate source can effectively alter its glycemic index by slowing digestion.

Glycemic index values affect nutritional recommendations for body composition and performance in several ways: Pre-Training Meal Pre-training or pre-competition meals should ideally digest quickly enough to prevent gastrointestinal distress and be able to restock muscle glycogen in time to support the activity.

In addition, a good pre-training or pre-competition meal should provide a stable stream of blood glucose throughout the activity. Types of carb sources that are ideal for pre-training depend on the timing of the meal.

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During the off-season, your needs will be much different than that during a competition phase. Some athletes will change their phase of training up to four times within a year- base, build, competition and transition. Additionally, their training days will vary within that training phase from hard days to recovery days.

There will be phases of building weeks to taper weeks. With that being said, there are constant changes in energy demands based on the training day to day. Nutrition periodization allows for the body to get the nutrients it needs on any given day so you are able to see optimal training adaptations, maintain a strong immune system, and reach performance goals faster.

Usually, training phases follow a base phase, building phase, competition phase, and transition phase. Based on these goals, you can match nutrition goals that will help you reach your physical goals.

Train the body to be efficient at burning fat for fuel instead. Training fasted here is not recommended, rather consume grams of protein with minimal fat and carbohydrate to prevent muscle breakdown and maintain healthy hormones.

During those higher intensity intervals and threshold sessions in the build and competition phases, carbohydrates are NEEDED to fuel the muscles in improving maximum VO2 and your threshold.

This is where you sandwich your workouts with carbohydrates so you can maintain a high output from beginning to end as well as replenish those stores in the post-workout meal. Carbohydrate manipulation during phases of training. Research DOES NOT support a low carbohydrate, high-fat diet long-term for endurance athletes.

Carbohydrates are the primary source of fuel during the build and competition phases of training when heart rate is high and energy demands are increased. This will be during your base and transition phases. Protein needs are increased during the build and competition phases to meet increased muscle breakdown, support recovery, and promote healthy hormone function.

It is recommended to minimize fat intake before a workout to prevent stomach discomfort as well as to improve digestion. Fats take much longer to digest in the body than carbohydrates and protein. Research does support nutrition periodization for optimal muscle training adaptations and recovery; however, this research is still in its infancy.

When considering changing your nutrition to match your training, be mindful of your specific goals, your fitness level, and how your body is tolerating the changes. Just as with all nutrition plans, there is not a one size fits all approach to nutrition periodization.

Meaning, that what works for one person is not necessarily going to work for the next. This is best done with a coach or registered dietitian to measure your performance and health outcomes as you integrate changes in your training and nutrition.

Jeukendrup, AE Periodized Nutrition for Athletes. Sports Medicine. doi: Impey, SG. Fuel for the work required: A practical approach to amalgamating train-low paradigms for endurance athletes. Physiological Reports.

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Getting Through The Holidays [Without Ruining Your Progress]. The holidays are a time for friends, family, and yes, lots of good food! Does Caffeine HELP or STOP Fat Loss? Caffeine can help you burn fat… But wait it can mess with your adrenal glands…….

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Designing The Perfect Workout Finisher. First — what exactly IS a finisher? The majority of the people I work with, including myself, want to lose body fat…. EPISODE 2: Determination Leads to Success. Week 1 is complete!

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The ABSOLUTE Best Way To Burn Fat. THIS IS NOT CLICKBATE! These are REAL foods that men THRIVE off of.

Photo: Getty Images "], "filter": { "nextExceptions": "img, Periodized eating for busy professionals, div", "nextContainsExceptions": "img, blockquote, Mental Focus and Mindfulness. btn, Pfriodized. Periodized eating for busy professionals periodized meal Pfriodized works similarly, manipulating your macronutrient ratios over time to support your training and help you reach your goals. Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mix to combine. Fill 4 Mason jars with equal portions. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Author: Mikakazahn

5 thoughts on “Periodized eating for busy professionals

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