By November 12, 2014 Diet No Comments
Renaissance Periodization


An interview with Mike Israetel and Nick Shaw, owners of the book The Renaissance Diet and facility, Rennaissance Periodization in New York City.

We sat down with Nick Shaw last month and went over some nutritional guidelines when it came to macro consumption. This month we’re sitting down with both Mike and Nick to discuss nutrient timing:

Hey Mike. Thanks for writing this response to my questions about the Renaissance Diet book. I’m wondering if first you could tell us about who you are, your level of expertise, and your accomplishments.

MI: Well, I’m a professor of Exercise Science at the University of Central Missouri. I have a PhD in Sport Physiology, and aside from that, I’m a competitive powerlifter, bodybuilder, and BJJ grappler that helps people get in shape and accomplish body comp and sport goals through the company I consult for, Renaissance Periodization.

NS: Mike is being a bit modest here. He essentially formed the company with myself, but I run everything from a business standpoint. Mike was the guy behind the templates, science and everything else that went into the programs and services that we offer. We trained together in college way back in 2007 or so and have been fine tuning our craft ever since then. Mike helped me with my first bodybuilding show in 2008 and then we lived together for a year and both worked as trainers here in NYC in 2009. Over time, we’ve been able to use our personal experiences both in person and online along with Mike’s expertise from his formal education to adapt our product to make it consistently better as we learn more and more.

Since we covered macro-nutrient balance in the last blog I thought we could tackle a few questions from the Nutrient Timing section of your book. Most novices and casual readers along with people who are looking into getting into putting on mass and getting bigger will read your section on protein timing and probably have the same question I do: If the amount of protein eaten doesn’t matter because it’s uptake is the same (because the body takes up protein at a steady rate), wouldn’t that imply that building muscle is greatly genetic?

MI: You can eat less than needed protein and your goals will suffer no matter your genetics, and the amount and kind of training you do greatly affects the rate of protein assimilation into muscles. But, you are correct, genetics play a HUGE roll in the proclivity to build muscle, that’s for sure.

NS: Hopefully what should be taken away from that section on protein timing is that there is no magical anabolic window after training that you MUST get in a whey protein shake right after. The idea behind that is as long as you are getting in multiple meals per day with protein in them that’s the big takeaway. As you get a bit more advanced, you can start to time things closer to our workouts though.

In your video you mention about eating right away as you get up in the morning. Often trainers will have their clients fast into the morning. Why is it good or bad? And what do you have to say about the possibility of morning muscle loss?

MI: Well, any time you don’t eat for an extended period (such as overnight), you are in the fasted state, and muscle becomes a much more used fuel to supply calories for the body. We teach this as a basic in Exercise Physiology in almost every school that has a Kinesiology program in the U.S. To prevent this muscle from being broken down, it’s probably a good idea to eat protein regularly through the day… not every 2 hours, but certainly about every 6-8 for sure. If you wake up and have no protein for a while, you’re doing a very good job of losing muscle for no reason!

Before a workout, you mention that carbs should probably be ingested about 1-3 hours before a lift. I think most people are guilty of the, chug liquid carbs 15 minutes before scenario. Is this advisable? Is uptake hindered or distressed?

MI: If the carbs are very highly glycemic, then it’s OK to do this if you’re pressed for time. But even the most quickly-digesting carbs can take up to 30 minutes to really start to enter the blood in meaningful amounts. That means that the first part of your workout can stink! So, if you have to take in carbs right before training, make sure they are as glycemic as possible… otherwise, try your best to eat 1-3 hours before!

NS: As a general rule of thumb, the further you are away from a workout (say 2-3 hours or so) you want carbs that are lower on the GI scale. As you get closer to the workout (say just an hour or so before training) you can get away with having something higher on the GI scale. If you train super early in the AM, yea it might be a good idea to have some higher GI carbs 15-30 minutes before your workout so that you’re not training on an entirely empty stomach.

Fat Timing: you state that fat slows down the uptake of carbs and protein which can be used for you or against you. Immediately post workout isn’t recommended, but it seems like a good idea to eat a higher level of fat before sleep. This in turn allows the body to slowly uptake macros during the night. I suppose this question could be coupled with our fasting question from earlier. Is this practice of higher fat before bed recommended on a daily basis, and when is it discouraged?

MI: Yeah, I think fat with slow digesting protein before bed is a good idea. The only time I would not do this is when you have to cut fat calories from your diet to bring total calories down to promote continued fat loss. Then you’d of course have to cut some nighttime fats eventually.

NS: Mike is right on point here. Fats and slower digesting protein before bed seems to be a good option to go with until you have to reduce calories and your fat intake comes down. At that point, those fats might have to be taken away at some point depending on how lean you want to get.

Mike and Nick,
Thanks so much for meeting with us and answering a few questions I know a lot of people have. The book is truly easy to read and doesn’t take long. Both of you have really brought a good book to the masses that makes the science of eating and “gainz” a lot easier. Thanks.

MI/NS: Thanks for having us and for the interview. We’re glad that a lot of people found the book useful. It’s really neat to see that others can use this information to improve their performance and physique as this is collectively something that we have been refining since about 2007 or so (if not earlier than that).

Mike Israetel
If anybody is interested in learning more about Renaissance Periodization and Mike and Nick’s scientific approach to diet and training, you can check them out at their new website www.renaissanceperiodization and be sure to follow both of them by name on social media and check out all of the free articles, videos and Q&A sessions that they have. You can also purchase the RP ebook this week for just $37 at

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