Exercise & Nutrient Timing 101

How you fuel determines how you recover and perform.

So what do I eat before my workout? After? Protein? Carbs? When? How much? Fasted Workouts? HELP!!


Nutrient Timing 

Nutrient timing refers to strategizing the ‘when,’ ‘what,’ and ‘how much’ of nutrition before, during, and/or after an exercise session. Research shows that manipulating nutrient intake during key windows around exercise can help optimize results and positively impact performance and body composition. More specifically, proper nutrient timing appears to facilitate muscular adaptation and tissue repair while helping to increase the proportion of fat-free (muscle) mass. 

Post-Exercise Period 

Numerous research studies and reviews demonstrate the post-exercise period to be the most critical window in terms of nutrient timing. This refers to the 30-45 minute period following exercise. During exercise, glycogen (the storage form of glucose, stored in the muscles) and amino acid (the building blocks of protein) stores are depleted and need to be replenished with protein and carbohydrate. The general guideline is to aim for refueling at a carbohydrate:protein ratio of 3:1. Refueling demands may range anywhere from grams 0.6-1.0 grams carbohydrate per 1 kilogram body weight and 20-40 grams protein, depending on an individual’s unique combination of age, sex, body dimensions, exercise duration/intensity, and exercise type. Come see our registered dietitians to talk more about what, when, and how much your unique body needs during your post-workout window!  

How do Fueling Strategies Differ Across Different Types of Exercise? 

Different exercise modalities - i.e. endurance training vs. power lifting vs. HIIT workouts, etc. - place different types of demands on our bodies. Different types of training warrant variations in fueling strategies. For example, many endurance runners are surprised to learn they are under consuming carbohydrates during training sessions, when considering the body’s energy demands during long runs. They are then surprised again when they make modifications to their carbohydrate fueling strategy and experience greater strength and improved performance as a result!  

How Can You Use Nutrition to Optimize your own Training and Performance? 

Each body’s fueling needs are different. Our registered dietitians are here to take an in-depth look at your training and fueling patterns and set you up with a plan to best support your body and optimize your performance. Schedule an appointment with one of us today! 

For more information on how to work with Experience Momentum’s Registered Dietitians you can email info@experiencemomentum.com or call the location that is most convenient.

Fremont  Phone: (206) 309-3966     Address: 1100 N 35th Street Seattle, WA

Lynnwood  Phone: (425) 776-0803    Address: 4030 Alderwood Mall Blvd Lynwood, WA


Aragon A, Schoenfeld B. Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window? Journal of International Sports Society Nutrition. 2013. 10: 5. 

Kerksick, CM et al. International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing  Journal Of The International Society Of Sports Nutrition. 2017. 14: 33.