T Nation

Evening Workouts and Meal Timing


“Need a cyclical plan for recompositioning? I believe in calorie cycling. You can eat more calories by increasing carbs on training days, fewer calories by reducing carbs on off days.”

This idea has intrigued me for years, but I’ve never managed to pull if off successfully.

I typically hit the gym around 6pm, getting home and quaffing my post-workout shake at about 7:30.

My goal is the fantastical “lose fat while gaining muscle”. But if I can’t have that, I’d settle for dropping 10% body fat while maintaining as much of my muscle as possible.

My question is two-fold:

  1. Should I still have a meal after my post-workout shake? If so, when? I feel like I need the calories for muscle growth, but am wary of eating a full meal so close to bedtime.

  2. In attempting the “cyclical plan for recompositioning”, with my workouts in the evening, would my “training day” include that entire day - 12 hrs of sitting in a car or at a desk. And the off day, the following day - less than 12 hours since I finished my last workout - where I thought I needed the protein for muscle building?

It seems to me that a “day” is pretty situational and such guidelines would be more useful if they were “x hours before and after a workout”. Of course, that whole sleep thing complicates matters with a late workout…

If you can drink a post workout shake that finishes off your nutritional requirements there’s no need to eat a meal after, however if you still need to hit your macros/nutrients for the day eat a meal.

In order to utilize a cyclic plan just simple have more carbs on your training days ( preferably most of them around workout time ) and then less on your non-training days. Don’t over complicate it. Simply eat more on your training days versus non-training days, spread your meals out so that your post workout shake polishes you off for the night.

While I don’t do post workout shakes my post workout meal is my last meal of the day most of the time. Unless I train early for some reason then I have what ever meals are left over.