Welcome to the 21st century, friends, where the idea of becoming huge by consuming mega calories is no longer fashionable. Today we understand that the main nutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates) must be consumed in certain amounts, special ratios and from certain sources if we want to maximize the growth of lean muscle mass. Moreover, as with everything else, finding the right moment is an essential factor. A recent study found that the times of the day when we take specific groups of nutrients are very important. In other words, the importance of when to eat can help ensure good results.
We analyzed the research related to the amount, source and time of intake. Using this data, we compiled a diet that we called a custom diet. As the name suggests, optimal foods are included for building muscle and burning fat every day and every workout.
Meals remain relatively the same during the diet, but slight changes are possible for those who give priority to relief over the table, or vice versa. Choose all your other meals – breakfast, lunch, dinner according to your personal tastes and needs.
The first two meals of the diet should be consumed at the beginning and end of each day. Meals 3 and 4 will be done before and after training. So on the days you train you will consume all four.
Meals 1: Immediately after waking up.
When you wake up, several things happen in your body. First, you are in a catabolic state – your body breaks down muscle tissue to use for energy. You need to act fast by eating fast-digesting protein such as whey as well as carbohydrates. Whey protein powder will quickly deliver amino acids to the body. It is also rich in branched-chain amino acids, which are essential for protein synthesis (muscle building). You should also consume fast-digesting carbohydrates such as white bread or a varietal drink for the rapid passage of glucose into the liver. At night, your body uses glucose, which is found in the liver for energy. When the level of glucose stored in the liver drops sharply to a certain level at night, it signals the body to start using muscle for energy. Sleeping creates another barrier to growth. Cortisol (a stress hormone) is increased to a maximum in the morning. Possessing extremely catabolic properties, it fights testosterone for muscle cell receptors. In addition it breaks down muscle protein.
Of course, waking up also has its positive properties. After the end of the long deprivation of food, the level of testosterone is at its peak. You can benefit from this by consuming a protein shake along with carbohydrates as soon as possible after waking up. Studies show that protein, taken when testosterone levels are high, help pass the hormone into muscle cells.
Meals 2: shortly before bedtime.
Before going to bed, prepare your body for the long hours of deprivation of food. A good solution for nocturnal catabolism would be to set the alarm to have a midnight meal, but a more sensible approach involves consuming a slowly digestible protein along with some healthy fats 30 minutes before bed. Casein is the slowest digesting protein on the market, especially that which contains micellar casein. The result is a slow absorption and stable supply of amino acids in the body at night. Casein will not completely stop the body from breaking down a certain amount of muscle. That’s why you should use meal 1 every morning.
Nutrition 3: before training.
About 30 minutes before a workout, you need to recharge your body to maintain muscle intensity and prevent muscle strain. Whey protein is the best choice for this moment, as it is the fastest digestible protein. It allows amino acids to pass quickly into the blood. It is extremely rich in branched-chain amino acids, which are not only essential for muscle growth, but can also be used directly by muscle cells for energy during exercise. Whey protein also contains peptides (small protein particles) that increase blood flow to the muscle. This helps deliver more amino acids and glucose (from the carbohydrates you consume), as well as more oxygen to the muscles. This gives you the opportunity for a healthier and longer workout. It also improves the supply of testosterone, which increases muscle strength. As an added effect, greater blood flow to the muscles means more pumping during exercise.
Nutrition 4: after training.
After a workout, you need to recharge your body so that it can recover and grow. This means that you need protein and carbohydrates after the last repetition of the last series (up to 30 minutes after the end of the workout). Studies show that rapidly digestible protein such as whey taken immediately after exercise enhances muscle protein synthesis and therefore muscle growth. Plus, whey protein peptides, which boost blood flow, help speed recovery and muscle growth by delivering more amino acids, glucose and anabolic hormones (growth hormone, testosterone and insulin) to muscle fibers.