Multi-level metabolic changes are generated in the body during and after strenuous resistance exercise. They relate to energy supply, protein and nucleic acid turn over, and hormonal activity to be immediately translated into the short- term capacity for physical performance. The magnitude of the changes is phenotypically determined in different athletes. On the other hand, as it was recently demonstrated, some of the metabolic changes and the related physical performance also strongly depend on various adjacent factors, primarily on the composition and timing of the pre and post-workout intake of food and restorative dietary supplements (7, 8, 12, 14, 16, 17, 28, 31, 35, 36, 39, 43).
It became a matter of comprehension, that vigorous exercise may be damaging to the body when singled out from a friendly adjacent environment, because such exercise is highly catabolic by its nature, recently much attention was addressed to the time-related effect of food intake as a possible factor in improving post-exercise anabolic rebound. It was shown that correct timing of food and dietary supplements intake before and after workouts resulted in improved athletic performance (19, 20, 24, 25, 53). The important role of post-exercise nutrients intake was emphasized (14, 16), particularly for protein and amino acids combined with carbohydrates vs. direct energy precursors (6, 10, 21, 25, 39, 52, 53). Proper exercise over food timing facilitates the reverse transformation of the catabolic impact of exercise into an efficient anabolic rebound at the immediate after-exercise restorative activation phase (7, 8, 12, 17, 28, 31, 35, 36, 39, 43). It appears that disregarding these facts makes ambiguous the overall positive cognizant of exercise with respect to every expected merit – physique, performance, fitness, and health.
Measuring the immediate metabolic and hormonal after-exercise changes under varying adjacent conditions provides with important information about the beneficial value of different training/nutrition programs in individual athletes. In high-performance strength resistance sports, the availability of hands-on analytical technologies for monitoring immediate after-exercise metabolic, hormonal, and other physiological changes are of particular importance to control the process of building-up fitness, sports performance, and overall health.
This article describes such a novel methodological approach (44). The purpose of this study was to addresses those issues in elite power athletes and to investigate the still unknown time related interactive effect of the post-prandial duration and the following up power resistance exercise, and points out to the existence in athletes of a chrono-biological sensing mechanism that links the magnitude of the extemporaneous after-exercise restorative activation (immediate anabolic rebound) to the post-prandial duration that preceded exercise. The sensor reacts when the super-compensation peaks from three chrono-biologically discrete metabolic pathways, the post-prandial, the exercise-catabolic, and the restorative-anabolic intervene in a close sequence during certain post-prandial periods. It results in a cumulative anabolic super-compensation effect that is quickly translated into an augmented anabolic rebound phenomenon with subsequent improvement in physique, athletic performance, fitness, and health
In other words, the mechanism sets up the magnitude of the immediate after-exercise anabolic rebound. The bottom line is that a standard power resistance workout can result in different by magnitude post-work anabolic effects when executed at different post-prandial periods before exercise. Based on this finding the “metabolic right time concept” was formulated (44). The paper attempts to explain how the mechanism of the nutrient timing phenomenon works and extends the avenues of its application in sport. It also suggests that the cumulative anabolic super-compensation effect from food and exercise can be predicted for individual athletes on the basis of metabolic and hormonal test results.
This is the first segment of a piece published by Dr. Silber several years ago in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research on the time related effects of food and exercise on an athletes overall performance. We will be posting every Wednesday the next piece of the article. We would love your feedback and questions pertaining to the article. Enjoy.
The present study examined time related interactive effects of food intake and power resistance exercise on selected fitness, metabolic, and hormonal parameters. A total of twenty high-performance Russian and American athletes randomly assigned to a double blind four months field study fulfilled all requirements of the study. They were assigned to a standard meal continuum providing 3,000KJ per day and protein/carbohydrate ratio of 1.0. Exercise included five 30 minutes high intensity resistance workouts per week. The workout over food time line implied incremental increase of the pre-exercise fasting period by 30 minutes every fortnight, from 1.0 to 4.0 hours. At months 1 and 3, subjects received immediately after exercise dietary supplement (S) or placebo (P) by mouth, but not during the months 2 and 4 which served as washout intervals. Twice a month blood draw before a one repetition maximum strength bench press and squat and the total number of repetitions performed during one set exhaustion at a 70% of max load bench press and squat were ascertained. At the end of the study, individual secondary (pheno-typical) metabolic/hormonal profiles related directly to interactive effects of food and exercise were analyzed graphically and their time-projection over each other was calculated. Results revealed that a pre-exercise fasting period of 2.0 hrs provided for maximal improvement in fitness (p<0.01), metabolic and endocrine (p<0.05) statuses. Administration of S produced further improvement (p<0.01). Supposedly, a chrono-biological sensing mechanism translates the homeostatic changes during various stages of post-prandial periods before exercise into corresponding levels of magnitude of immediate after-exercise restorative activation (anabolic rebound). The study provides sports practitioners with a hands-on method for individual assessment of food-exercise timing.
“The way in which our bodies get the correct amounts of what we need to the right place at the right time is fascinating”
Neil Solomon, MD, PhD (48)
The concept of complete physique and athletic forms has probably reached us from the ancient civilizations. Today this philosophy unites hundreds of millions of ardent followers worldwide zealously seeking improved physique, performance and health from exercise.
Indeed, mounting scientific evidence points out to the inverse relationship between physical fitness and premature mortality (23, 51). Regular high intensity resistance exercise is found to have long term positive effects on (i) skeletal muscle protein synthesis (9, 14, 25, 26, 33, 38, 52), (ii) immune and stress resistance (1, 2, 32, 42, 56), (iii) anti-tumor activity (11, 34, 55), and (iv) health-related quality of life and mental health (12, 23, 29, 35, 37, 51, 57). The established relation of intense resistance training to human well being and life extension has finally bridged the gap that historically divided competitive and fitness sports.
There is, however a positive correlation between the stress impact of acute exercise and the magnitude of the extemporaneous post-work anabolic (restorative) rebound (58, 61). Thus, the maxim ‘no pain – no gain’ does truly work. At the same time, the disturbance caused by exercise can not exceed the individuals recovery ability, otherwise there can be not adaptation to the stimulus.