Nutrient timing and the Yin and Yang of Optimal Recovery

Nutrient timing and the Yin and Yang of Optimal Recovery

Morning joe or coffee has been morning staple for a while.  People have used coffee to help them when they lack sleep and people have used coffee when they need to pull an all nighter or even to prep for a end of day workout.  So when people need to wake up typically they reach for coffee or tea even.  Now before the ritual of the morning joe became common place, Chinese medicine used the concept of yin (water) and yang (fire) these two concepts work in a sort of harmony or balance, an equilibrium.   Though the concepts seem distinct from today’s science we have hours of wakefulness (yang) and hours of sleep (yin).  I don’t claim to be a traditional Chinese medicine person only to understand the concept weakly.  So for example if you were to yin in the morning they would introduce something yang like coffee.  Forgive me any TCM practitioners if I over step here.  I am going to do a little bit of reaching.  Carbs can function in a similar fashion as coffee however introducing carbs in the AM you will be more likely to crash in the AM due to blood sugar fluctuation.  What tends to happen is the carbs burn fast vs fats which are slower burning.  In a lot of instances eating more fat and protein in your breakfast can be beneficial.  (1)(2)(3)(4)  The direct effect seems to be satiety you can function longer without having hunger pangs on higher protein lower carbs.

Enter caffeine into the mix of a meal and you will find that in some instances it can increase uptake of carbohydrates post exercise, however in other instances it lowers insulin sensitivity. (13) (15)(16) (17) Muscle Glycogen can be restored in around 20-24 hours depending on the study and frequency of carbohydrate consumption. However Protein requirements for muscle have to be within the first 36-48 hours, and since they body can’t assimilate all of the protein it is often best spaced every 3 hours (8)(14)

This is my generalized version for a better understanding consult the studies listed



Pre Workout

1 hour

Post workout

30-60 minutes after





Dependent of Volume and Goals Weight lose vs. Weight Gain.  Some carbs preworkout could cause a blood sugar crash  





Workout time around 45-90min including warm-up



The question of what is optimal in relationship to diet has some room for variability due to the individual’s goals.  In regards to nutrient timing it would seem there is an optimal time frame to ingest a predetermined amount of protein dependent on lean body mass.  There would also seem to be an optimal time that is not as variable to ingest caffeine or a preworkout.  Everyone has their own schedule to work around so it is important to go in to a diet with a plan




















Written by,

Jason Kusick

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