Does Nutrient Timing Still Matter?

Filed under: General Health, Nutrition

A few months ago I wrote a controversial article for PN called Is nutrient timing dead?: And does “when” you eat really matter?

It generated some buzz, to say the least. The answer to the question is of course both yes and no. It all depends on the context.

Some people loved it, as they felt it provided some newfound freedom into their diet. No longer did they have to worry so much about meal timing. Now they could just focus on how much they are eating, and the quality of that food, and not stress about exactly when they are eating it.

Other people were furious, as they felt that the PW/AT distinction had come to define PN, and that we were just sweeping that away. This actually was not true. We were just adding more flexibility.

If the PW/AT distinction and framework  works for you, then by all means please continue with it. YOUR results are ultimately what matters, not my theoretical meanderings. To me, that is what defines PN – that it is all about what works for YOU, not what we think will work for you. It is only the outcome that matters to us.

However, if you were someone who felt constrained by the PW/AT framework (as I did), then we offered a new set up for you (our hand-sized portion guidelines) that was equally as effective physiologically, and that many found to be much easier to implement and manage.

Neither approach is definitely right or wrong. It all depends on what works best for you.

And the exact importance of timing your meals also depends on the context, as I alluded to earlier. This is especially true in respect to timing your intake around your training (which I covered here). This is a great visual depiction of what I am talking about:

Nutritient Timing Continuum

As you can see, the need to worry about timing around activity all depends the conditions of that activity, and your goals. For most of us, it is not terribly important. For others, it is far more so.

This is true even for having a protein shake post-workout. You could, as it is not going to hurt, but it isn’t really necessary in most cases. You are ok to wait until you drive home to have something. It could be a Super Shake, or it could be a whole food meal. The choice there is yours.

That was one of the most research-heavy articles I have ever written for PN, and I worked on it for weeks to get it all right. In a similar vein, has just released an incredible new resource for people, called their Stack Guides.

They recognize that things are not always strictly black and white – that there is nuance and many shades of gray. To that end, they created these tremendous resources for people who are looking to take supplements for specific contexts – say to increase muscle mass, lose fat, or improve cardiovascular health or blood sugar control. Rather than trying to research individual supplements, they have put together resources for the best combination of options to help you reach your goals.


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Each stack also includes:

  • Stacks catered not only to a goal (ie. fat loss) but also demographics (ie. for people who cannot easily tolerant stimulants)
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This will be a great resource for anyone looking to take supplements, or any fitness professional who has clients asking about what supplements to take. These resources are absolutely fantastic, and I really could have used these in my early days of training myself and coaching others – it would have saved me some serious money on supplements, and helped me give better direction to my clients. Click here to learn more.

Posted on July 1st, 2014 by Brian St. Pierre

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