Nutrient timing has been a big issue in sports nutrition for the past few years. Some of the most common examples of nutrient or ergogenic timing include when to ingest caffeine prior to a workout or sports event, and also the best time to ingest particular nutrients. Some of those nutrients can provide ergogenic effects. The term "ergogenic" is defined as anything that can increase work performance, and as the chart above shows, ergogenic aids can come in various forms, although the most familiar ergogenic aids are nutritional. Certain types of drugs, such as various stimulants, are ergogenic aids because they decrease feelings of fatigue and impart a greater sense of energy and drive. In the worst scenario, these stimulants could have serious side effects that outweigh any ergogenic benefits that they impart. A good example of this are various amphetamine or "speed" drugs. I knew several elite bodybuilders in the 70s who would get prescriptions from "feel good" doctors for amphetamine drugs. They used the drugs for two purposes. The first purpose was to allow them to train harder, since the drugs decreased fatigue feelings. The second purpose involved appetite suppression, since the amphetamines are well-known appetite suppressants. That combination of increased training drive and lowered appetite made it easier to train hard and stay on a diet prior to a contest. While you may read that many of the top bodybuilders of that era used anabolic steroids, few, if any of them will admit to having used speed drugs to prepare for a contest because of the stigma associated with such drugs. For one, they eventually rot the brain and the body. Don't take my word for it, just look at before and after photos of those who became "speed freaks."
So while drugs such as amphetamine can serve as effective ergogenic aids, they are the least desirable type of ergogenic aid because of all the possible serious side effects they can produce, especially after consistent usage. More rational ergogenic aids are various nutrients and nutritional supplements. From the perspective of nutrient timing, perhaps the most discussed supplements have included protein and carbohydrate supplements. Studies published about 20 years ago found that ingesting a combination of a rapidly absorbed protein source, such as whey protein, along with rapidly absorbed or high glycemic index carbohydrate, produced faster rates of recovery when ingested in proximity to a workout. In simple terms, these studies suggested that you should ingest a protein and carb drink within 2 hours after a training session, and the faster you could ingest it, the better. The rationale for such suggestions was that certain enzymes were primed following exercise, and this upgraded enzymatic activity favored increased uptake of nutrients. For example, following a workout, enzymes that are involved in muscle and liver glycogen synthesis are primed . . .