by Tony Gjokaj February 28, 2021 4 min read

If you look at your body from a biological standpoint, we have various processes that occur in a Yin & Yang like-way. For example, anabolic and catabolic processes are both a necessity for our sleep/wake cycles, for exercise & recovery, and more.

These are a part of our Circadian Rhythm, which are physical, mental & even behavioral changes that follow our 24-hour sleep-wake cycle.

In understanding this, we can explore a new and promising area of study: Chrononutrition.

In this post, we are going to talk about Chrononutrition, an area that could potentially be great opportunity for building healthy habits towards fitness.

Let's dive in!

    Chrononutrition

    Our Circadian Rhythm plays a large part in our lifestyle by influencing our sleep, body temperature, hormones, appetite and more. This led to us exploring fasted and feeding states with respect to our Circadian Rhythm.

    Chrononutrition is the study of nutrition and its benefits surrounding our body's Circadian Rhythm: connecting both feeding and nutrient metabolism.

    This is utilized in methods like Intermittent Fasting, which is known as a Time-Restricted Feeding method. We can simplify Chrononutrition as the process of examining Time-Restricted Feeding and its benefits towards our overall health.

    Let's explore Time-Restricted Feeding.

      Time-Restricted Feeding

      Time Restricted feeding is simply restricting a time where you eat throughout the day. Methods like Intermittent Fasting utilize this.

      Fasting in Mice (8-12 hours of feeding) while eating diets more prone to cause obesity (high calorie feedings) led to improvements in their circadian rhythm and handling of metabolic diseases.

      To add to this, one human trial showed that individuals who placed themselves on an 8 hour time-restricted eating regiment were able to lose weight. In fact, these bodyweight changes were consistent one year after the trial as well. The kicker was that it didn't matter whether they fasted in the morning or started their fast in the early evening.

      What's really fascinating is that this has even been applied in feeding periods from 7am-1pm as well. This led to better beta-cell function, lowering the desire to eat in the evening, less insulin resistance, and more.

      This is further reinforced by the number of trials that show that time-restricted feeding has had better improvements for weight loss than conditions that the trial has set.

      You can even see this applied in a study that compared both early & late time restricted feeding. Both usually encountered the same benefits, with the exception of fasting glucose being better in the early TRF.

      This ultimately means that you can implement time restricted feeding in the morning and evening, based on your own personal preferences:

      If you deal with anxiety and lack of desire to eat, I would recommend utilizing an earlier time restricted feeding phase like 7am-1pm to really optimize your nutrition and build better habits.
      For others who LOVE eating big in the evening (like me), I would recommend later time restricted feeding (like intermittent fasting protocols).

      Ultimately, each of these methods allow us to build awareness of our eating patterns, building a better adherence or control around our diets.

        Things to Consider

        Now with an understanding of Time-Restricted Feeding, I believe it's important to dive into other things we should consider.

        Late Night or Early Morning Exercise

        If you train in the evening, we would recommend you follow a late time-restricted feeding, as it is imperative to get proper nutrition in post-workout.

        If you train in the morning, we would recommend you follow an early time-restricted feeding phase, again with the proper nutrition post-workout.

        Number of Meals

        If you are concerned about having 6+ meals a day, don't be. This is not necessary for most of our goals.

        If we look at studies in regards to nutrition adherence, we can see that diets with 3-6 meals daily are easier to stick with. With Time-Restricted Feeding (TRF), this should be a little less stressful in that you can successfully eat less than 6 meals a day if you wanted to.

        Here's how I utilized TRF with respect to number of meals per day:

        • Early TRF: I started eating around 8:00am and end eating around 4-5pm. I did this when I had earlier morning shifts. I would have 3-4 meals per day.
        • Late TRF: I start eating around 10:30am-12pm and I end around 7-8pm. I currently use this one. I have 3-5 meals per day.

        Don't Obsess Over This

        If you can't follow this consistently due to societal stressors (a fear of social occasions because of food), you should focus on building a lifestyle that doesn't impact you negatively in this way.

        If you mess up on your feeding phase, even eating past that... that's ok. This won't destroy your diet. The consistency and being able to get back on track afterwards is what matters most in nutrition.

        If you find it hard adhering to a time restricted feeding window, maybe it's best to figure out what works best for you. Don't do something that doesn't allow you to be consistent or stay motivated.

        As Time Passes Us By

        It looks like Time-Restricted Feeding provides more structure and flexibility compared to other fad diets

        Time-Restricted Feeding phases like skipping breakfast and Intermittent Fasting have been successful for many people for years. What's great about these systems or approaches is that they don't eliminate food groups, but they restrict the time you eat. This then helps limit your caloric intake throughout the day.

        I'd argue that this could potentially be an excellent strategy to implement once you get in the habits of eating better.

        In researching this topic, I was really fascinated about how this actually played a big part in my success in building healthy habits around nutrition.

        For myself, I prefer to utilize the social dynamic of eating in a late restricted eating phase, which has always made my lifestyle more enjoyable and able to adhere to.

        To conclude, this area is a new and promising one. There's a lot that we need to explore to see if it can benefit a wide variety of people.

        I know that I will be experimenting with Chrononutrition with some of the individuals I coach, and will be providing more insights with it as time progresses (in future posts).

        You can see more from this lecture about Chrononutrition here, which inspired this post (full credit goes to Danny Lennon of Sigma Nutrition).

          If you have any questions, comments, or insights, feel free to email us at support@reforgedperformance.com or direct message us on Instagram.

          Until next time!

          Tony Gjokaj
          Tony Gjokaj

          Tony is the Owner of Reforged Performance Nutrition. He is a PN1 Certified Nutrition Coach and has been in the fitness space for over a decade. His goal is to help bridge the gap between physical & mental health through fitness.



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