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Should A Growing Teen Pay Attention To Nutrient Timing Or Just Eat?




           When it comes to teens, nutrition becomes a very essential thing of their life. This is because it is during these times that they are experiencing a lot of changes especially physically but also mentally and functionally. During Nutrient Timing that most people engage in sporting activities. Therefore, when looking into the aspect of nutrition for the teens, it is also important to consider whether such a teen actively involves in sporting or may working activities or not.

What is nutrient timing?

           What now is nutrient timing? Nutrient timing involves having specified times of taking foods so that you end up with certain body properties that you need. Nutrient timing therefore seems a strategic way of getting certain outcomes for the teens. The question therefore remains, is it necessary? Considering teens in sporting activities as well as bodybuilding, nutrient timing seems to be a great idea since its sole purpose includes:

Evolution of Nutrient Timing

           Nutrient timing has been around for a while. For almost 50 years, Nutrient timing has formed a very crucial part of bodybuilders and several researchers have done serious work to find its many benefits. The benefits are not well brought out mainly of some few limitations. These include:

  • The use of short-term blood makers meaning that the long time benefits are left out.
  • The use of ultra-endurance athletes during the study.

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The Concept of Anabolic Window

          Something very controversial about nutrient timing is the anabolic window. It is sometimes referred to as the window of opportunity and is a period of about 30 minutes after workouts during which it is assumed that the body can absorb nutrients perfectly. This is a concept that is still debatable, with some people arguing that it a fact while still others believe that it is a myth.

How Does the Concept Seem To Work?

            The theory of anabolic window assumes to work based on two important aspects.

 1. Carb Replenishment Principle

        This aspect is supported by abundant research, with carbs especially glycogen being replenished within about 30 minutes to an hour. This is usually after workouts and hence the need for immediate replenishment. This of course serves to increase performance and recovery.

          However, there seems to be a problem. Despite the fact that the concept is well in line with the theory, this will only imply that timing is only going to be of essence if you have a teen who is dedicated to training several times a day. It therefore becomes irrelevant to people who train once are not into training at all.

         Another thing that seems not in line is the finding that training will be even better with lower amounts of glycogen in the muscles. This largely applies to teens who are actively involved in fat burning and fitness programs. Immediate replenishment has in fact been shown to reduce the benefits that should be coming out of the respective programs. It is therefore important to note that this aspect does not necessarily apply to most people making the theory of anabolic window almost a myth.

Must Read:: 8 Bodybuilding Myths Those Are Total Bullshit

 2. Protein Intake Principle

         The protein intake principle works on the basis of using proteins to stimulate the synthesis of proteins in the muscles. Protein synthesis in the muscles is very crucial because it facilitates their growth and also aids in recovery. However, is it necessary that one replenish the proteins right after working out? Well, research has spelt out clearly that it is not necessary and that what is important is actually the total daily protein intake. By taking high quality proteins during each meal, the concept of anabolic window becomes useless and more or less a waste of time and energy.

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The Concept of Pre-Workout Window

       Another very important concept that is important in nutrition timing and which therefore also determines whether teens should pay attention to nutrition timing or not is the concept of the pre-workout window. Unlike the anabolic window, this concept to some extend tends to agree more with researchers and experts in the field. This is because keeping the correct time for the pre-workout has been shown to greatly aid performance. This is to mean that there is a timing for teens who wish to burn the fat in their body and there is timing for the teens who wish to enhance their performance in such things as sports.

          Carbs are very essential in this window. They provide the energy you need and therefore should never be skipped. A common mistake that people make is eating immediately before the actual workout. This ensures that there is minimal competition between the stomach and the muscles and therefore lets the muscles concentrate on the performance. An allowance of 1 to about 4 hours will generally be perfect.

          Another thing to include to your pre-workout nutrition will be sufficient water. This is very essential and drinking about 430 ml of water before a workout will most likely boost the performance.

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         It is advised that vitamins should not be taken during this phase. This is because of their negative influence on performance and serving to minimize the benefits of the workout. Thus, in as much nutrition timing as a whole is more of a false myth, some concepts like this pre-workout window is important. The main benefits of adhering to this include:

  • Help maximize the performance of the teen.
  • Improve the body structure and composition.
  • Fat loss acceleration.

Relationship between Nutrient Timing and Breakfast

        So what should your teen eat for breakfast or should he or she even it at all? It is a very debatable concept with some expert advising that it may not be necessary to even eat breakfast while others advising certain types of meals with specific nutrients. For those who recommend breakfast, they argue that it should contain very low amounts of carb and high amounts of fat. Such a breakfast will of course help raise the energy levels, maintain higher mental function and accelerate fat burning from the body.

Provides a Lot of Boosts

         There is no enough evidence to support this though and everything is currently in grey areas. Anything is possible and some even propose that proteins during this time will be great. Therefore, for teens as well as any other person who is looking into the issue of nutrition timing, breakfast timings are not well researched. Ones preferences and also what one wants to achieve should be the driver.

Related Article:: Muscle Building Breakfast Ideas: Start Your Day Right

Relationship between Nutrient Timing and Night

          Almost every concept for nutrient timing seems to be a false myth and this one seems to be yet another one. It is generally believed that reducing carbohydrates at night will definitely lead to weight loss. It is a false myth that has been spread across the globe to the extent that people are actually into it. In truth however, when you reduce the carbs, the calories are also going to be reduced. The calorie-deficit that is the result of this will ensure that there is weight loss. It is therefore not a matter of timing but a matter of reduction of one thing, which then affects another.

          Reducing carbs at night might in fact be the opposite of what is expected. This is because some experts have proved that carbs at night might help improve sleep quality. For teens therefore, nutrient timing at nigh seems to be out of question and not a suggestion at all.

Nutrient Timing Vs. Just Eating

        Despite the fact that nutrient timing has been around for several decades now, more and more research is slowly disapproving it and making it obsolete. What remains is for the teens therefore is simply eating without the stress that comes along with nutrient timing. However, there must be order behind just eating as we are going to see next.

Teen athletes

          When talking about nutrition and teens, it is important to consider this concept of physical activity. This is because teens who are physically active have unique nutrient requirements, which we will consider here.

Teen Nutrition Composition

       For teenagers, their food should contain certain components that help sustain them through this period. They should be able to get the right balanced nutrients with more calories and most basic nutrients such as proteins.

           A teen’s diet should comprise more or less of the following:

  • Fruits and vegetables that contributes to about 2000 calories every day.
  • Calcium about 1300 mg per day. The calcium should be fat-free or with less fat. The common sources milk and yogurt.
  • Proteins which are much needed to help build muscles and as well as other rapidly growing muscles. Popular sources of proteins include lean meat and poultry.
  • Foods, which are rich in iron. Iron is essential in both girls and boys but will be particularly useful in girls who lose a lot of blood through menstruation.
  • Whole grains. Whole grains are very good sources of the much needed energy during the teen phase of life among other important roles.
  • For teenagers, fat should be limited as much as possible. Fat of about 2 to about 30 percent of the total calories will be a good amount for the teens.

Vitamins and Minerals

         Vitamins and minerals should be part and parcel for teen nutritional diet. There are several vitamins and minerals all of which serve different functions in the body. Calcium and iron are particularly important for those teens who are physically active because they bring about strong bones as well as sufficient supply of blood to the muscles respectively. Iron is abundant in many types of foods such as the fish and most green leafy vegetables and many more others. Calcium on the other hand is rich in such foods as milk and milk products.

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        Many vitamins are also very important and can easily be acquired from different types of foods especially fruits and vegetables. Having a balanced diet is sure to give the best result in terms of getting the required vitamins as well as mineral salts.


           Of course, when one thinks about energy sources, the first thing that comes to mind is carbohydrates. This have been proved beyond doubt to be a very nice source of energy and are therefore a very crucial part of teen nutrition. Teens should never think of cutting back on carbs and especially when they are active in sports, it may cost them a lot in terms of performance.


         A good thing about this carbs is that they are readily available in most foods and hence there deficiency is rare. Sources include fruits, vegetables and whole grains. However, there is some selectivity when it comes to eating the carbohydrates. For instance, processed grains are not generally recommended while whole grains such as brown rice are more appropriate in the sense that they provide extra nutrients that may not be in processed grains. Also, carbohydrates that have a lot of sugar should be avoided as much as possible. Such carbs when taken especially before the game tend to gives people a quick burst of energy within a short time and then leave them without anything shortly afterwards.


Explanation For High Protein Intake And Healthy Bones In Case of Bodybuilders            For proteins, it will depend on whether the teen is physically active or not. Physically active teens will definitely need more proteins as compared to their less active peers. Proteins are easily acquired from the common foods that teens eat now and then every day. While it is generally assumed that eating lots of proteins leads to gain of large quantities of muscles, it is not very true and such muscles can only be acquired from training and abundant working out. In fact, those teens who take large quantities of proteins in the name of gaining large and strong muscles end up with some side effects that include

  • Occurrence of dehydration.
  • Loss of considerable amounts of calcium from the body.
  • Occurrence of kidney abnormalities.

Protein sources include fish, lean meat and peanut butter.


Is there any Good Reason why we Shouldn't Avoid Fats?          Should teens take fats or burn them? Well, technically speaking, excess fats are not recommended. However, a little fat is very necessary and teens should purpose on having them in their diet. Fats are important for long lasting energy. Carbs get used up fast and therefore fats come in a little while later after the carbs are done.

           Fats also differ in types and teens are advised to take certain types and avoid other types. The main types are unsaturated and saturated fats. Unsaturated fats are considered healthier for teens and can be found in such foods like vegetable oils and some types of fish. The unsaturated fats can further be grouped into trans and cis fats. Again, cis fats are the best for teens as well as any other person. Some of these fats are particularly abundant in meat and other high fat dairy products.

             For fats, timing can be of essence. It is not good for example to consume fats a short time before and after exercise for physically active teens. This is based on the fact that fats tend to make digestion slow.

Are supplements essential for teens?

           For supplements, it is really good if teens know the consequences that using certain supplements will bring. There are certain supplements that can be used without actually doing any harm while there are others that come with extreme negative effects.

  • Anabolic steroids

          Anabolic steroids are among the most commonly abused supplements nowadays especially for teens in sports as well as bodybuilders. For teens, these should be supplements that they should try as much as possible shun. This is because most anabolic steroids are derivatives of hormones or hormones and will definitely have adverse side effects.

       Anything that interrupts with the normal hormonal composition will also interfere with the normal functioning of the body. Common side effects of using anabolic steroids include:

  • Male pattern of hair loss on the forehead.
  • Shrinkage of the testicles.
  • Growth of facial hair in girls.
  • Depression and mood swings.

Salt tablets

          Salt tablets are common supplements to reduce dehydration. However, the belief seems to be a false one since salt tablets demonstrate to actually be the reason behind dehydration in teens and people who use them. The salts also, especially when taken in large quantities tend to have side effects such as:

  • Causing nausea and vomiting.
  • Brings about painful cramps.
  • Causes diarrhea.
  • Damage to the stomach mucosa.

Proteins and energy bars

         There are some supplements in form of proteins and energy bars. These are some of the supplements which are not 100% important and at the same time not 100% useless. They have not been implicated in doing lots of harm to the body and therefore can safely be used occasionally.

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Dehydration and teen Nutrient Timing

          Water is also another very important composition of teen nutrition that is very essential. Teens should always ensure that they avoid dehydration as much as possible. This is especially when it comes to teens involved in sporting activities. A lot of water is lost during exercises and this might be a great contributor to dehydration. Dehydration is related to such conditions as the feeling of overheated and some form of headaches. Teens in hot and humid conditions are likely to get dehydrated.

           Dehydration will definitely lead to reduced performance and that is why people not only teens should strive to remain as dehydrated as much as possible. Different people require different amounts of water daily. This will depend largely on the size of the person, their age, how much they are involved in physical activities as well as the surrounding environmental conditions.

         Highly physically active teems should at least drink water just before and after exercise as well as during the exercise every about 15 minutes. It is not necessary that one feel thirst before drinking water. Thirst in fact simply implies that you begin dehydrate a long time ago. At the same time, it is not necessary that you force yourself to drink water.

          Some sports provide specific nutrient added water. The water is usually important in case of long periods of training but water is no different either. Carbonated water and drinks are not preferred during the exercises due to their probability to cause stomachache. Also don't drink energy drinks. In fact, avoid the energy drinks at all costs because they have caffeine as well as other components, which have the stimulant effect of caffeine.

Caffeine and Physically Active Teens

Caffeine             Teens who are in sports sometimes are tempted to use supplements with caffeine such as the energy drinks that we have talked about above. Caffeine has many effects in the body but importantly here is that it is a diuretic. Diuretics are substances that basically cause formation of more urine by the kidneys. It might be one of the causes of dehydration but the concept needs more research. Due to its diuretic effects, it cause an increase in the heart rate as well as leading to hypertension. It also leads to reduced quality of sleep and also having an effect of making someone abnormally anxious. The effects when combined will lead to a reduction in performance.

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           Despite the fact that some experts have found small benefits of caffeine especially in those endurance sports, it is best to keep away from it. Its benefits seem to be way below the side effects.


           Teen nutrition can be very confusing. While there are times when nutrient timing is good, sometimes just eating will be a really good option. Nutrient timing has come a long way and while it is being seen as a false myth, there are some concepts that actually hold true and should be good for teenagers and there complicated nutritional needs. During teenage time is also a time when most people involves in sporting activity. They need to eat certain foods and avoid certain supplements. Weighing the two concepts, it is just good that teens just eat instead of chaining themselves with a theory that lacks full scientific evidence.

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