What you should eat and when, Meal timing part 2

When we realize what the nutrients in our food are actually used for it becomes a lot easier to understand and ”schedule” our meals and nutrient intake. Which we’ll get into during next weeks blog.

That’s how we finished last week’s blog and we’ll pick up there. If you haven’t read last week’s blog, I highly recommend doing so here before starting this one.

If we look back to the previous blog, we understand what the nutrients in are food are used for, now we can use that information to schedule in our own daily meals.

Rather than running through every possible scenario and lifestyle, we’ll use a very generic way of living as an example. This person works out in the gym for 60 minutes 3-4 times a week, holds a desk-job and enjoys walking the dog in the morning and at night. This person is not looking to lose or gain weight but rather maintain fitness and health.

Meal timing

For optimal results in the gym, life and wherever else we need to fuel our body appropriately, that included doing it at the right time. So, let’s take our example case from above. I am just going to assume this person works out either before work or afterwards. In the scenario of working out before we have to make a decision for ourselves, do we eat or not? Your body has a lot of fuel stored away that’s ready to be used, so you don’t have to eat (what we call ”fasted workouts”). Your body has plenty energy stored away to get you through the workout but eating a carb-based meal prior to working out will give you an extra energy boost. Prior to working out you want to get foods into the body that are to digest, so it doesn’t bother you while you’re actually working out. Whenever we work out later on throughout the day it’s safe to assume that your body has gotten a decent amount of food in already, at that point it’s just a matter of being cautious about 1-2 hours prior to working out. At that point we go back to what we just talked about, consuming easily digestible foods. This works for most people, of course if this person is on a fat heavy diet, we want to stop eating a little bit further out from our training session so all the fats and protein have plenty of time to digest.

The 1–2-hour window post workout looks very similar to the one prior. For most people we would like to focus on good carbohydrate sources and protein. Fat will slow digestion and nutrient uptake down, that’s why we would like to reduce our fat intake during these two meals. If you want to read more specific information on what to eat pre-/post workout you can check it out here and here

Let’s step away from working out right here and focus on the other 23 hours of the day that this person (and you) are not spending in the gym. Except for the 1–2-hour windows pre and post workout we can consume any combination of nutrients that fit your lifestyle and work for you. Since this person holds a desk job, we have to make sure our nutrition fits that lifestyle and activity level. While sitting down your body doesn’t like to burn carbohydrates but rather fat, that’s why I would recommend this person to have a good amount of fats during lunch, snacks and dinner (depending on workout schedule). Protein should be a priority during every single meal, especially when working out.

It hasn’t been proven that 5-6 meals help you lose weight rather than eating 2 or 3 meals a day, but what we can prove is that will help stop binge eating. Binge eating is something we can confidently point at and say is not great for general fitness, maintaining/losing or gaining weight. I like to plan 4-6 meals a day because it allows me to stay in control. I know I am not going to eat more meal than that so there’s only a possibility of eating less if I feel like it.

Because this person is not trying to lose weight, we don’t need to play around with calorie intake too much. For this person it’s important to fuel till satisfaction, fuel for activity and lifestyle. I always say: ”If your nutrition works well for you a certain day you can almost guarantee that it will do the same the next”. Obviously, this takes into account that every day looks similar to the last, because when activity levels shoot up our body will need more calories to use as fuel.


  • Carbs are your first go to source
  • Fats are a more sustainable but slower energy source
  • Protein is a building block, not an energy source
  • Consume easily digestible carbohydrate sources pre-/post workout (unless you’re on a keto like diet)
  • If you’re eating more fat, stop eating a little bit sooner prior to a workout and structure your daily carbs post-workout
  • Always make protein a priority during your meals
  • Eat more fat during the other hours of the day for sustainable energy
  • For weight management, eat until satisfaction and monitor your energy levels

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Categories: nutrition, post workout nutritionTags: , , , , , , , , ,

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