For most of us, no, not really. Or at least not as much as a lot of the internet would have you believe.
Sure, having more of our carbs after training makes sense, as does having some protein to repair the damage we cause during training but if we don’t have the basics right then start to look at the basics of your nutrition before making things any more complicated.
Whether you are looking to lose weight or gain muscle, the amount and quality of calories we take in over a given day, days, and weeks is far more important than whether or not we have our mid-morning snack containing exactly 409 calories at 11.17 in the morning and that we have our post training shake exactly 7 seconds after put the barbell down.
Being really good or really bad for a few hours of one day doesn’t matter a damn in the long term. Eating good quality food consistently will get us far closer to where we want to be in the long term. Likewise, eating bad quality food consistently will take us further away from where we want to be.
The internet is full of good, bad and mostly conflicting advice (and yes, I get the irony that this is posted on the internet also). Don’t eat carbs after 5pm, only eat carbs after training. What if I train after 5pm? Should I eat before training? What if I train in the morning? To adhere to one rule you have to break another!
It is all too easy to get caught up in the smaller details and start thinking “I’m never going to get this 100% right so why bother?”, and proceed to search out the nearest pizza place.
The truth is, you don’t have to get caught up in those smaller details, or at least not at the start.
Focus on the basics. Eat enough good food throughout the day to fuel your daily activity or sport, and here’s the important bit, keep doing it. Find what works for you and keep doing that consistently and you’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.
If you eat just before training and you get reacquainted with your last meal as you are half way through the warm up then you may not want to eat quite so much, quite so close to training. If your last meal was breakfast and you train at 5pm then yeah, maybe have some more food before training.
I’m not saying that there are no benefits from meal timing, far from it. But, for most of us, ignore the complicated stuff, focus on the basics first and we’ll get 90% of the way there. Then start dialing in the details.