Nutrient Timing for Athletes: Does It Really Matter When We Eat Post-Exercise?

            People have recently started to question the idea of an ‘anabolic window’ post-exercise and whether we really need to eat or have that protein shake after our work-out. But where these opinions fall short is in the interpretations of the current research and literature to an athletic population.

            The idea is that a recent meta-analysis found that our total protein intake over a day is more important than the amount of protein we eat after our workout for building muscle mass, and while this is great information it largely gets mis-interpreted in the media. This is because while total protein intake during the day is more important than the amount we eat during the anabolic window (time after exercise where our ability to absorb nutrients is increased). If we are an athlete why wouldn’t we want to take advantage of this time of increased nutrient absorption? Even if the advantage of eating post-workout is smaller than we originally thought, most sporting events are decided a fraction of a second or a very small percentage, so if we aren’t taking advantage of this window (when our competitors are) then we are sure to fall short in competition. As athletes we must remember that we are in the performance business and not the physique business. While having a low body-fat percentage a key contributor to athletic performance, if we are not fueling our bodies properly than we will not be able to perform no matter how low our body fat percentage is. Also remember that protein does A LOT MORE for our bodies than just build muscle, and helps other bodily tissues recover, repair, and regenerate post-exercise.

            Furthermore, for a lot of our athletes they are partaking in two training sessions on most days (one sport session; one lifting session), so in this scenario is it really practical to post-pone eating after one session and not re-fuel before the next one? Does it ever make sense to not fuel before a session when we are in the performance business? Athletes who fuel better, perform better. Athletes who eat breakfast perform better. Therefore, we don’t usually recommend intermittent fasting to our athletes either. While it is totally possible to train after an overnight fast or a prolonged fast period (cue fasted cardio proponents), if it is going to affect our performance in that workout or training session is the small advantage we might get in body composition going to be worth it? This is like popular ketogenic diets (as we don’t generally recommend these to our athletes), as most studies have found performance isn’t improved with these diets (even though body composition might). This doesn’t make us promoters of high carbohydrate diets, but we do need to refuel the glycogen stores in our muscle that our athletes exhaust with high-intensity exercise bouts, especially following competition. 

Bottom Line: If you are not taking advantage of nutrient timing and the post-exercise window as an athlete you are missing out on important opportunity to fuel, regenerate, and repair your body for optimal performance. For athlete’s there is really no situation where it is a good idea to delaying feeding after exercise no matter what you’ve heard on social media.

Here are some guidelines to help maximize your post-exercise nutrition:

Post-Exercise Maximize Glycogen Re-Synthesis (within 30 min):

HIGH GLYCEMIC CARBOHYDRATES 1-1.5g/kg/hr

ADD PROTEIN! 0.25-0.5g/kg/hr enhances effect; as long as <1.2g/kg/hr

Example (70kg individual) ***individual needs may vary***

  • ~70g CHO/HR ~30g PRO/HR
  • (Large Banana, English Muffin with Jam, Protein Drink)

Click here to Book your nutrition session today to ensure your diet and training are working together to have you at peak performance!

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Dinosaur kale salad.

Dinosaur kale salad.

A fresh spring/ summer salad that with a quick substitution can change from started to main course.

Prep Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Bowl dinosaur kale with stems removed
  • 1/2 cup sliced radish
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • sliced gouda cheese
  • 2 lrg avocado
  • Dressing
  • 1/4 c raw tahini
  • 2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. raw apple cider vinegar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • sea salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 c water to thin
  • Topping options
  • 1/2 pkg Smoked salmon
  • 1 Chicken breast per person
  • Sliced steak
  • Grilled tofu

Instructions

  1. Remove stems and wash kale, then tear into smaller pieces.

  2. Slice radish and dice avocado then place in bowl with kale and cranberries.

  3. See Crispy chickpea recipe for cooking instructions then generously add to salad bowl.

  4. Whisk dressing ingredients and pour over salad.

  5. add any optional toppings you want!

Red pepper and Garlic roasted chickpeas.

Crispy Chickpeas

Use as a snack or on a salad, chickpeas are a good source of manganese and folate. They are also a very good source of magnesium, iron, copper, potassium, and thiamin.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups canned chickpea 400 g, drained, rinsed and dried
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black ground pepper
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180˚C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine the chickpeas, olive oil, garlic, red pepper flakes, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl and toss to coat.
  3. Transfer the chickpeas to the baking sheet and bake until golden and crisp, 40-45 minutes, shaking halfway through cooking.

What coaches look for!

Hey everyone! I’m excited to write this blog today! What I’m going to talk about is something I preach to my athletes all the time! Being a coach, and knowing a lot of coaches I often find myself talking to other like minded individuals about what we are looking for in an athlete. After all my time talking to people and other coaches, this are the three traits that I look for in an elite athlete; flexibility, aggression and a driven mentality.

Flexibility 

This is such an overlooked aspect of training! There is a misconception people have think that certain people can’t be flexible, because they weren’t born with it. This is so wrong!!! Sure some people are going to be more pliable than other, but don’t judge your flexibility against someone else’s. The more flexible your can be the better athlete you are going to become. If you take a “none flexible” person and work on stretching and mobility, you will see over a time period that they will become more mobile and become a better athlete! There are lots of studies that prove that pliability is so important when determining how much force a muscle can create. 

Aggression – No Fear

No matter what the sport is, I want aggressive people. Someone who is willing to take risks, someone who is not afraid to roll down a dark alley! This couldn’t more true, especially in contact sports such as football, hockey and basketball. Let’s look at basketball, one of the best points guards in the NBA is Kyle Lowry. He has never been afraid to take the ball into the paint where there are guys way bigger than him. He gets hit all the time and had even gotten hurt going into the paint but, he continues to go in there because he knows it’s helps his team! I’ve seen a lot of athletes who are freaks in the weight room and on the track but when they get into thier completion the struggle because they are afraid of contact and getting hurt! YOU CANT BE!!!

Driven Mentality 

This is what separates the good from the great! Good athletes are just that, they train to get better and be good at there craft. Great athletes train to be the best of all time. One of the greatest NBA Player of all time Kobe Bryant, who just recently pass away had something he called “The Mamba Mentality” This was basically his process of out working everyone. I remember a story of the lakers drafting someone and this kid started working out in the gym at 5:30 in the morning, Kobe caught wind of this and started his day at the gym at 4:00am, just to prove the point that he would outwork everyone! This is truly what an elite person is, someone who is incapable of losing!!!

This is just my take. If you asked another coach the same question he/she would probably have a different answer for you. But the great ones I’ve been around or seen have these traits in common!! 

There is no off season, come into SST today and lets get faster stronger and out work the competition! Email Bskinner@sstcanada.com to book a free demo session.

What do you need to gain mass?

Here at SST a lot of athletes come into our facility wanting to put on size and gain strength and ask for our advice to help get them there. While what we do in the gym is a HUGE part of helping them achieve this goal, what we preach to our athletes is that what they do with the 23 other hours they aren’t in our facility are just as if not more important if they want to gain size and strength.


The most common misconception with ‘bulking’ or the pursuit gaining muscle mass is that you can just go on the see-food diet (eat any food in sight) and you will put on mass. While this is true if you are in a caloric surplus (eating more calories than you are burning), it doesn’t mean you are going to the athletic size we want you to gain. You should have a professional help you to calculate your caloric needs to identify #1 if you are eating enough for your activity level and if so if we need to add more calories to your current regime to help you gain some healthy muscle mass. This is ESSENTIAL if speed and/or power is important for an athlete’s sport as if we are looking to put on size, we need to be cognisant of how this may affect their speed. We want to gain size and strength the right way to promote speed development, keeping our body fat levels in a good range for us to perform for our sport.


For this to happen you need to be eating adequate protein. A good rule of thumb is that you should be eating AT LEAST 1 gram of protein per pound of body mass and it is best to space this protein out throughout the day to keep us on the positive side of protein synthesis/degradation. While individual needs will vary for sport and training period this is a good rule of thumb to follow. Another way to think of this is to try and eat 40 grams of protein per meal, or the equivalent amount of two decks of cards of a high-quality protein source, as protein is the key macronutrient for muscle building. If we are wanting to put on size and to make sure we are eating enough, another simple trick we can use is to try and eat 3 meals before 3pm, and 5 meals before 9pm. If you follow these simple rules of thumb it should go a long way in helping you put on some healthy mass.


We also focus on our athletes avoiding highly processed foods and protein sources. The more nutrition we can get from unprocessed, home-prepared meals the better. Focusing on eating lots of vegetables (hitting all colours of the rainbow), adequate carbohydrates for specific goals and activity level, healthy unsaturated fat sources such as fatty-fish, olive oil, avocados, almonds, etc. and protein sources that used to run, swim, or fly is a great place to start. We need to know where our next meal is coming from, and if we are prepared and have meals ready-to-go then we are less likely to hit the drive-thru window. While supplements have their place in athlete nutrition, forming this foundation is key for preparing our athletes for the demands of their sport and our training programs and to create life-long healthy relationship with food.


Also don’t forget to sleep! Hitting at least 8 hours of sleep per night is essential for muscle recovery and regeneration. It is important to make sure this is un-broken sleep as well as this is when our best muscle-building takes place. Making sure our sleep hygiene is in check can go a long way to help us get those 8 hours, such as avoiding screen time before bed and getting to bed at the same time every night to name a few. Also making sure we are adequately hydrated can help with sleep, but also everything else. Most of our athletes who come in aren’t drinking enough water and this affects not only their performance in sport, but everything else as well.
While this article only starts to scratch the surface on what things we should be doing when we are wanting to put pack on some healthy mass, it should go a long way into helping lay a strong foundation!

Email Bskinner@sscanada.com to schedule a complimentary demo session!

Do you want to look like an athlete?

Everyone wants a body like an athlete, and yet don’t eat or train like an athlete!? Training like an athlete is important because athletes can move their bodies like no one else can. Your body is meant to be mobile, versatile, and freely moving – so why not train it to be like that, isn’t that why we exercise? To look feel good and look good?

Eating like an athlete is just as if not more important as training like an athlete. Our 1hr a day we spend working out is only 4% of your day. What you choose to do and eat the rest of it is what can make or break the training goals you have set for yourself. Here are 3 reasons why training and eating like an athlete is important;

1. Better Mobility Athletes need to have more mobility in order to achieve the best performance in their respective sports. Can you imagine a hockey player who can’t do a skate cross-over? Transitioning to your reality…with better mobility comes a better quality of life. Mobility allows you to move more freely while easily doing the simple things in life which a lot of people take for granted. climbing up an uneven step, lift a laundry basket or reach into the backseat for a bag…mobility helps with all of that, not to mention all the fun things we like to do like playing with our kids, going swimming on vacation or taking the dog on a hike etc. We all should be mobile and yes even into “old age”.

2. Better Looking Body; For the most part, athletes generally look really fit and athletic. They have put in the hard work and it seems as though their efforts have paid off. We all know that most people would like a better looking body, but are you willing to put the work in for it? I am not saying you have to put in 10 years or 10,000 hours like an athlete, but a 1 hour workout about 3-5 days a week will do the trick. As a trainer that struggles with their weight, I know the feeling of the extra wobble you want to just go away and I can promise you that if you are willing to put in the time for yourself, you will feel 100 times better the next time you put on a pair of shorts in the summer!

3. Better Nutrition; Athletes keep their nutrition in check a lot more than the general population. This is because their sport demands it. Empty calories and processed foods do not help fuel performance in their respective sports. I’m not saying you can’t enjoy a treat occasionally, (careful), but athletes keep their macro-nutrients in check. This means getting an adequate amount of protein, carbohydrates, and healthy fats. Athletes also make sure to consume their micro-nutrients as well like; iron, zinc, selenium while getting their essential vitamins too. Eat like an athlete, not only will you be healthier, your digestion, skin and mood will better!

So why do we look at athletes and want what they have so badly but instead of doing a scaled down version of what they do, we drink laxative teas, eat fake food, do mostly cardio or lesser work outs. Stop taking advise from your friends, they are not qualified and please watch out for companies that promise fast results with little change to eating or exercise habits.

CLICK HERE to find out more about how we train our clients to be more mobile, stronger and healthier!

BCAA’s – what, why and how?

One of the newer supplements on the market making claims to improve cognition, decrease muscle breakdown, promote muscle protein synthesis and improve exercise performance is branched-chain amino-acids (BCAAs).

But… what are they? BCAAs are essential amino acids leucine, isoleucine, and valine (ones we cannot synthesize ourselves and must consume) that can be oxidized within our muscles, especially during exercise. These amino acids are the most important amino acids for muscle protein synthesis, as leucine itself is a direct stimulator of muscle protein synthesis independent of exercise and it is important to make sure we are getting adequate amounts in our diet before considering supplementation.

While most of the research into BCAAs has been done in rodents, some interesting data has recently surfaced regarding their effect on exercise in humans. Mainly the ingestion of BCAAs before, during or after exercise has been shown to increase intracellular and arterial levels, and to prevent muscle protein breakdown, where some studies have even demonstrated less delayed-onset-muscle-soreness (DOMS) following exercise. BCAAs are also an important fuel for our muscle cells during exercise, and since levels decline with exercise, it makes sense to use them as a supplement during and/or after workouts.

When combined with a resistance training program and enough protein intake, BCAAs have been shown to help to increase lean muscle mass and lower body fat percentage. It should be noted that a lot of the research into BCAAs, is through one off studies and research is just starting to tease out the effectiveness of them but nevertheless there are some intriguing early results. Come into SST to find out how, when, and what BCAAs we use with our athletes and clients to help improve exercise performance and body composition!

References: All About BCAAs Precision Nutrition Andrews, Ryan (2018) Exercise Promotes BCAA Catabolism: Effects of BCAA Supplementation on Skeletal Muscle during Exercise Shimomura et al. (2004) The Journal of Nutrition

Email us at Bskinner@sstcanada.com to get email notifications on our upcoming nutrition and supplement clinics!

Recipe example

 

Farro and White Kidney with Zuccini, oven roasted tomatoes and caramelized Onions

Course Dinner, Lunch
Servings 4

Ingredients

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

  • 3 tomatoes each cut into 8 wedges
  • salt & Pepper
  • Olive Oil

Farro and White Kidney Beans

  • 1 cup of Farro
  • 3 cups of vegetable stock
  • 1 can of white kidney beans drained and rinsed
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 to 2 Tbsps Olive oil

Carmelized Onion

  • 1 Large sweet onion sliced
  • Olive oil
  • salt & pepper

Instructions

Oven Roasted Tomatoes

  1. Heat oven to 300˚

  2. Hlace wedges on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil, season with salt and pepper

  3. Hook for approx. 1hr.

  4. Reserve juice and oil on pan for finish of dish

Farro and White Kidney Beans

  1. Place faro and stock into a small pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat so that mixture is simmering for 20 minutes.

  2. In the last 5 minutes of cooking add the kidney beans to heat through with the liquid.

  3. Remove from heat and drain off any excess liquid

  4. Season with salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil

Carmelized Onion

  1. Saute onion in a sute pan with olive oil over low heat to carmelize the onion

Chicken Tenders With Avocado-Cilantro Dip Recipe

Course Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 1 ⁄2 lbs chicken tenders cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp homemade Sriracha sauce optional
  • 3 ⁄4 cups almond flour
  • 3 ⁄4 cups coconut flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 ⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 ⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 ⁄2 cup fresh cilantro packed
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the eggs and Sriracha sauce together in a small bowl until well incorporated.
  4. In a shallow bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  5. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then transfer to the flour mixture and coat well.
  6. Shake off any excess flour and arrange a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with the remaining chicken tenders.
  8. Once all of the chicken tenders are on the baking sheet season with salt and place in the oven.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, flipping the tenders once in-between.
  10. While the chicken is in the oven, place all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a food processor. Start with the juice of 1 lime.

  11. Blend until smooth and all ingredients are blended, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula as needed.

  12. Taste and adjust with more lime juice if needed.

  13. Transfer to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  14. The dip will stay good stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Special thanks to http://paleoleap.com/ for the recipe!

Chicken Tenders With Avocado-Cilantro Dip Recipe

Course Snack

Ingredients

  • 1 1 ⁄2 lbs chicken tenders cut in half lengthwise
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp homemade Sriracha sauce optional
  • 3 ⁄4 cups almond flour
  • 3 ⁄4 cups coconut flour
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 ⁄2 tsp onion powder
  • 1 ⁄2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 large avocado
  • 1 ⁄2 cup fresh cilantro packed
  • 1 green onion sliced
  • 1 garlic clove
  • Juice of 1 or 2 limes
  • Sea salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  3. Whisk the eggs and Sriracha sauce together in a small bowl until well incorporated.
  4. In a shallow bowl, mix together the almond flour, coconut flour, garlic powder, paprika, onion powder, cayenne pepper, salt and pepper.
  5. Dip the chicken into the egg mixture, then transfer to the flour mixture and coat well.
  6. Shake off any excess flour and arrange a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  7. Repeat with the remaining chicken tenders.
  8. Once all of the chicken tenders are on the baking sheet season with salt and place in the oven.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through, flipping the tenders once in-between.
  10. While the chicken is in the oven, place all of the ingredients for the dipping sauce into a food processor. Start with the juice of 1 lime.

  11. Blend until smooth and all ingredients are blended, stopping to scrape the sides with a spatula as needed.

  12. Taste and adjust with more lime juice if needed.

  13. Transfer to a bowl and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

  14. The dip will stay good stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Recipe Notes

Special thanks to http://paleoleap.com/ for the recipe!

Salmon Mango Bango

The exotic, tropical tang of the fruit and the richness of the wild salmon work wonderfully together. The 'bango' comes from the spicy sweet pepper jam I use to bind the fresh mango relish."

Course Salad
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 5 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 2
Calories 307 kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 Mango - peeled, seeded and diced
  • 2 Salmon fillets, skin removed
  • 2 tbsp Lime Juice
  • Sea Salt to taste
  • 2 tbsp red bell pepper and ancho chili pepper jam
  • 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
  • 2 tbsp Chopped fresh cilantro

Instructions

  1. Stir mango, lime juice, pepper jam, and cilantro together in a bowl. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for relish flavors to combine, about 30 minutes.

  2. Heat oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat until oil begins to smoke.

  3. Place salmon, flesh-side down, in the hot skillet and cook until edges are just starting to cook through, about 2 minutes. Flip fillets, remove skillet from heat, and let fillets sit in the hot pan until cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes more.

  4. Transfer to a plate and top with chilled mango relish.

Recipe Notes

Per Serving: 307 calories; 11.6 g fat; 27 g carbohydrates; 25.1 g protein; 51 mg cholesterol; 211 mg sodium.

Thanks to AllRecipes.com for this plate of deliciousness.

WATCH the chef making this dish.