Unless you have been living under a rock for the past few years, you have probably heard about the notorious “two-hour nutrient timing window” immediately following training when you are supposed to get your carbs and protein in to maximize refueling and recovery. Based on this theory of nutrient timing, “recovery” starts as soon as you finish training and begin ingesting specific nutrients. Well, what if I told you that this theory of nutrient timing for recovery is not the best way to maximize recovery? In fact, this theory does not gel with what hard science as well as recent research actually says about recovery and nutrient timing. In actuality, ingesting specific nutrients prior to training has been shown to be slightly better at promoting recovery and adaptation than when the same nutrients are ingested post-training.
According to a study published in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness and conducted by M. Negro, et. al., when Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAA’s…aka Leucine, Isoluecine, and Valine) are consumed in large enough quantities prior to or immediately after training, the result is a reduction in muscle damage and delayed onset muscle soreness. It doesn’t stop there. BCAA’s also initiate the stimulation of new muscle protein to repair damaged tissue. In addition to this, other work clearly indicates that BCAA’s play a pivotal recovery role in “peripheral blood mononuclear cell proliferation in response to mitogens after a long distance intense exercise, as well as plasma glutamine concentration.” What this means is that BCAA’s play a major role in both recovery and immune system function when ingested before or after training. So it seems that based on this information, it does not matter when you ingest BCAA’s, as long as you do it consistently. However, this is not the entire picture.
A review of literature published in 2012 examined the differences in training outcomes when comparing Essential Amino Acids and whole protein ingested before or after training. The results of this review showed that Essential Amino Acids (which include the BCAA’s) serve a more productive role when they are combined with a carbohydrate and ingested prior to training while ingesting whole protein (like milk or a whey protein) is better utilized when combined with a carbohydrate and ingested after training. This compliments the study that was just published last year showing that 5 grams of Leucine, 180 grams of carbs, 30 grams of fat, and 23 grams of protein was the standard to maximally stimulate the synthesis of new muscle protein when ingested within 90 minutes after training. The practical take away from this review is that Essential Amino Acids (BCAA’s) should be ingest before to prevent excessive muscle breakdown and to blunt the training induced disruption of the immune system while whole protein consumed after delivers a more significant anabolic (muscle repair and recovery) stimulus.
The practical take away from this is that RECOVERY should not be a reactionary response to training, but a proactive response. You should not wait until the damage is done to respond and then deliver the nutrients your body needs for recovery and repair. Go on the offensive and give the body what it needs before and during intense training so you can start absorbing your training and adapting to it in real time! Classified Nutrition’s BEFORE delivers a 10-gram dose of BCAA’s in every serving, giving your body a robust signal to limit muscle breakdown and better control immune function. Combining our AFTER and PROTEIN delivers a total of 6 grams of Leucine and 35 total grams of protein, boosting muscle protein synthesis and spiking your body’s recovery and repair mechanisms. No other company provides what Classified Nutrition does when it comes to meeting and surpassing the dosage standard that research shows you need for recovery and long-term performance. Don’t wait until you’ve finished the workout to start recovery. Be proactive! Recovery starts BEFORE you train!