When thinking about nutrient timing, there are three phases to keep in mind.
The first is the energy phase. This phase of nutrient timing occurs before your workout even begins. Getting the proper mix of nutrients before you start will help decrease damage to your muscles, and give you enough energy to make it through your session.
The proper mix of carbs (20-25 grams) and protein (~5 grams) should be consumed about 20 minutes prior to exercise.
Sample meals for the energy phase of nutrient timing (20 minutes prior to exercise):
English muffin + 1 tsp peanut butter
1 oz raisins + 1 oz cashews
3/4 cup cereal + 6 oz 1% milk
8 oz OJ + 1 oz string cheese
The 45 minutes immediately following your workout is known as the anabolic phase. This is probably the most important phase in terms of nutrient timing. The longer you wait after your exercise bout, the less effective this phase becomes. After an intense workout your body is removing waste, repairing muscle tissue, and storing glycogen at a higher than normal rate so it is important to take advantage of this time by consuming the right mix of nutrients; 40-50 grams of carbohydrates along with 15 grams of protein.
Sample meals for the anabolic phase (up to 45 minutes post exercise):
16 oz chocolate milk
PB&J (2 slices of bread; 2 tbsp peanut butter; 2 tbsp grape jelly)
2 granola bars + 10 oz 1% milk
Fruit smoothie (1/2 cup low fat milk; 1/2 cup fresh fruit; 1 scoop whey protein)
The final phase (the growth phase) occurs during the 18-24 hours between your workouts. During this time you should focus on consuming well-balanced and colorful meals that contain a good mix of carbohydrates, lean protein, and healthy fats.
You should not wait longer then 4 hours after the end of your workout to consume a meal.
Blog post by Catie Furbush CSCS.