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Pre and Post Workout Nutrition

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Old 02-04-2006, 12:41 PM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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Myth: Post-workout nutrition is more important than pre-workout nutrition.

Reality: Even though many put post-workout nutrition ahead of their needs before they hit the weights, pre-workout nutrition is arguably just as important, providing the fuel needed for intense exercise and energy expenditure.

Don't be fooled by the hype post-workout nutrition gets; if you're not doing anything to prepare yourself for exercise, you're sabotaging yourself from realizing an even more impressive physique. Granted, post-workout nutrition is critical to recovery, as well as muscular strength and endurance long-term. But still, no plane should leave the runway without enough fuel to last the flight; so why would you lift-off on a workout without an adequate supply of clean-burning nutrients? The point is, you can't light a fire on an empty tank.

It might help to look at it this way: without pre-workout nutrition in place, the chance that your energy levels will drop off and your intensity will suffer increase dramatically. What's worse, throw all caution to the wind and, in addition to serious fatigue, you may also face the dangers of dehydration and overtraining. (We thought that might get your attention.) Long story short, as much as you might like to hit the road first thing in the morning without anything to "break the fast," it may do more harm than good.

And don't expect to take care of your pre-workout nutrition in 5 minutes' time. Ideally, the countdown begins at T-minus 60 minutes. An hour before exercise, find some carbs in your kitchen (an even blend of simple and complex will serve you well) and grab a spoon, fork, or glass (everything from oatmeal, to brown rice, to fruit juice will do). Better yet, protein bars, with their mix of protein and carbs, provide two major pre-workout nutrients, along with a blend of vitamins and minerals to support the intra- and extra-cellular reactions that make muscle contraction possible. Carb-containing or carb-loading supplements, in both powder and liquid form, provide still more options. Shoot for between 40-80 grams, depending on your body weight, metabolism, intensity, and personal goals.

Why carbs? Simple: among the three macronutrients - carbs, proteins, and fats - carbs are your body's primary source of fuel. More importantly, carbs are the only fuel source for brain activity (unless you're literally starving to death). Seeing as how carbs are essential for both physical and mental energy, extreme carb restriction is neither healthy nor effective at increasing strength or speed. For these reasons, you should always try and get about 2.5-3 grams of carbs for each pound of body weight a day to top-off your glycogen stores (the body's immediate energy source) and ensure an adequate fuel supply for these activities.

Next up, anywhere between T-minus 60 and T-minus 30 minutes, ingest a fast-acting whey protein for its highly valuable amino acids. True, these are especially important post-workout, supplying the basic tools for muscle repair and recovery (and over time, growth). But a smaller amount before exercise - 20-25 grams, give or take - "primes" the muscle-building environment in your body with a decent amount of muscle-friendly protein. It's as if you're getting a head start on post-workout recovery by helping to get the necessary nutrients circulating in your system before your last rep. Also, because protein is more satiating than carbs, it may keep you from becoming hungry during your workout.

Last but not least, consider your hydration needs before you hit the gym. Truth be told, there is more water in you than any other nutrient, and muscle is about 75% water by weight (that's why losing too much water causes muscle to shrink). What's more, water intake helps you avoid the cramping, low energy levels, dry skin, lowered immune function, and constipation that come along with dehydration. Factor all this into the equation, and it's easy to see why it's often recommended athletes take in as much as a gallon of water per day, especially if it's a training day, when you're likely to lose even more water through perspiration. The good news is, although many energy drinks can have a diuretic (water-expending) effect on the body, they still provide some water, so they can also be used to meet your hydration needs and give your intensity a boost at the same time.

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Old 02-05-2006, 09:53 AM
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I understand were all this is coming from and i agree for the most part. where my opinion differs would be in terms of cutting phases. (cause i'm the retard who cant lose fat). It would seem that if you take in all that sugar preworkout, then you have very little chance of releasing fat stores for use as energy durring your workout. While this is optimal for mass/strength building, I would venture it isnt gonna help me slim down at all.

What also concerns me are the after effects of loading all that sugar, then possibly not using it. if you have excess blood glucose from the preworkout shake, then pound down another 40g of dextrose, your basicly feeding fat cells once mucsle cell stores are full. I am very sugar/carb sensitive, and these things concern me. Either that or I'm just paranoid cause i have a severe body image complex

0311, I know those excerpts are from lyle, but are they UD2 refrences or are they from his bulking routine?
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Old 02-05-2006, 10:01 AM
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0311, I know those excerpts are from lyle, but are they UD2 refrences or are they from his bulking routine?
I can see what you're saying about cutting...But IMO you still need carbs, esp. preworkout. When I was doing the UD2.0 for my cutting, I really felt like ass during the depletion workouts, so much so that I'd throw up halfway through the workout. In light of this, IMO, taking in 15-20 grams of dextrose before working out should keep your energy levels high enough to where you'll still benefit from the workout for fat loss w/out feeling so run down. The only reason the UD wants you to not intake preworkout carbs is due to the carb load that's a few days down the road.

Remember that preservation of muscle is just as important if not more important than fat burning during cutting. Weight lifting is meant for muscle building. You are going to burn calories doing it, of course, but your primary goal is hypertrophy. By not storing glycogen pre-workout, your body will be forced to metabolize amino acids for energy which isn't a good thing when muscle is concerned.

Overall, you're looking for a caloric deficit over a specific period of time as you know. If you are too concerned with burning body fat for energy, you risk losing muscle. If you do an activity like cardio on an empty stomach, the amount of bodyfat burned isn't going to be a gigantic amount. It will be greater than doing it an hour or so after eating, but it isn't like you're going to burn a pound a day either way. Is it worth potentially burning a little muscle? No f'ing way!!

So, cutting or bulking, I'm intaking fast acting carbs. No matter what, we'll all agree that muscle building is a whole lot slower and harder than burning fat (all things remaining equal). If it takes me a century to drop 10 lbs of fat w/out an ounce of muscle loss, then so be it!!

Last edited by Darkhorse; 02-05-2006 at 10:44 AM.
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Old 02-05-2006, 10:20 AM
EricT EricT is offline
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I agree that this is coming from the standpoint of what is optimal for mass/strength building and in general bulking/maintaining.

But to a more specific degree I think it is important that everyone use info like this while considering what they already know about their own body and their own needs. Personally, I would want to get the most possible benefit from each weight training session.

And I agree that building muscle is too hard to risk losing it.

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If you act sanctimonious I will just list out your logical fallacies until you get pissed off and spew blasphemous remarks.

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Old 02-05-2006, 10:56 AM
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I hear ya on this. Personally, I have not had a pre workout drink with carbs since i've started cutting and i havent lost any strength. Now others may be more dependant on it then I am. Plus i sip on 4 scoops of Xtend through my workout so that helps with the stop the muscle break down.

As for burning fat, i can understand where your coming from, but mentally for me if i say "ok i can have these sugars because i'm going to the gym" that opens the door to rationalize other carbs that i dont really need. But I digress. I wont debate the fact that preworkout carbs are the best route to go for the mass majority.
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:09 PM
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From Wannabebig Roundtable:

Wannabebig Round Table - Issue 3

View all articles by Wannabebig Round Table Team


Q: Is it better to mix my post-workout shake with water or milk? I find that when I mix my shake with milk I feel bloated for several hours afterwards.

A: Blood & Iron:

First, let me get the obvious answer out of the way: if drinking a shake made with milk makes you feel crappy--due to lactose intolerance, or just by filling you up too much, or whatever--use water. Pretty simple. As long as you're training approach isn't too retarded, and you're eating in a manner to support your goals (i.e. a slight caloric deficit if you're dieting, or a moderate caloric excess if trying to gain) whether you mix your post-workout shake with water or milk is probably not going to make a whole lot of difference. That said, there are a couple of more interesting issues this question brings up, the first being whether you should be having a post-workout shake at all. Let me explain.

It's pretty standard dogma by now that one should always have a post-workout shake after training. In fact, this may be too late to optimally take advantage of the 'anabolic window' that occurs during and after training. Tipton et al. looked at muscle protein synthesis when a shake, which consisted of 35g of sucrose(AKA table sugar) and 6g of essential amino acids, was consumed either immediately prior to or immediately following a training session consisting of 10 sets of 8 repetitions of the leg press and 8 sets of 8 repetitions of the leg extension. (3) The researchers then looked at phenylalanine uptake (which is an indicator of muscle protein synthesis) across the leg to see which had the great anabolic effect. They found that consuming the shake prior to exercise resulted in over twice as much phenylalanine being taken up. By consuming the shake pre-workout, amino acids are available during a period of increased blood flow to the leg which results in greater delivery of those aminos to muscle tissue. I generally have both a shake prior to and following my workouts--and if you look at this study more carefully, the data supports this approach. If, however, you are only going to have one shake, I think it's clear that it is a much better idea to consume it pre-workout rather than post-workout. Unfortunately, it may cause stomach upset for some. If, however, you keep the shake small (As this study demonstrates it does not take much to significantly elevate protein synthesis--here it was only 6g of aminos and 35g of sugar.) and mix it with a minimal amount of liquid, it should not present too much of a problem.

The other issue that this question brings up is that of protein types. If you are having ONLY a pre-workout shake OR a post-workout shake, I would say adding milk is, in general, a bad idea. It will slow the absorption of amino acids in the gut during a period when you want a rapid increase in blood amino-acid levels. Milk protein is composed of two fractions, which are casein (accounting for approximately 80% of the protein in milk) and whey (which accounts for the remaining 20%) These have, respectively, been characterized as 'slow' and 'fast' proteins according to the rate at which they are digested and the speed at which amino-acids enter the bloodstream. (1) Whey results in a rapid, high spike in blood amino acid level which is highly anabolic, whereas casein results in a slow, steady increase in plasma amino-acid levels that is anti-catabolic in nature. (2) Mahe et al, who looked at the differences in digestion between casein and beta-lactoglobulin (which is the major subfraction in whey) found that casein clots in the acidic environment of the stomach, which delays gastric emptying, and results in a prolonged, steady released of amino-acids. Whey, in contrast, remains soluble in the stomach, and quickly makes its way further down the digestive track resulting in the characteristic rapid peak in blood amino levels.

Okay, back to the original question. Now, if you've followed the advice above, and switched to having a pre-workout shake, what you have as your post-workout shake will depend on how long you are going to go before your next meal. If you are not going to be able to eat for some time, it is probably better to mix your post-workout shake with milk. While some have inferred from the research that by consuming both casein and whey together you'll get both the anti-catabolic effects of casein along with the anabolism of whey, this is unlikely. As Lyle McDonald, and a number of others have pointed out, it is more likely that since casein clots in the gut, and slows gastric emptying, you'll be slowing down the whey, causing it to act much like casein. If you're not going to be eating for some time, this is exactly what you want: to curb catabolism until your next meal. If, however, you know you'll be having a protein rich meal within an hour or two after you training session, avoiding casein and using the 'anabolic window' again to cause a second rapid spike in blood aminos, may be to greater advantage.

A: Chicken Daddy:

Mixing your post-workout protein shake with milk is not a bad idea per se, but it’s sub-par. One of the functions that insulin works is by translocation of GLUT4 (‘glucose transporter 4’) receptors to the cell membrane (1). GLUT4 is basically one of the glucose receptors (there are others) that allow glucose uptake in the cell. Unfortunately, it does this not only in muscle cells, but also adipocytes (fat cells). Which explains how insulin can also be a ‘fattening’ hormone.

Translocation of GLUT4 can also occur due to muscular contractions (2). So, weight lifting alone increases muscular insulin sensitivity - called insulin independent glucose uptake. Because of this fact, this time is ideal to take advantage of the nutrient partitioning (basically means where the nutrients go) effects of training. So, ideally we’re looking at a quick digesting carbohydrate to replenish the glycogen used while training and a quicker digesting protein to provide amino acids due to the increased protein synthesis that comes after training (for up to 36 hours (3)). The quickest digesting carbohydrate, glucose - also known as dextrose or corn sugar or even grape sugar - is probably the best idea. It’s also very cheap, especially if bought in bulk. Maltodextrin is also a good available source. It is known as a ‘complex carbohydrate’, purely on the grounds that it is a glucose polymer consisting of about 3-8 molecules. It is therefore too long to be classed as ‘simple’, and since there is no mid-classification, complex it is. This doesn’t stop it from digesting very quickly and doing the same job to insulin that glucose does. Maltodextrin is also a carbohydrate exploited by supplement companies for this very reason. They can claim it is a complex carb and it’s great in their MRPs. In all truth, it is the guar gum that they put in these products that slow digestion, not the maltodextrin. Any other time of day, just like glucose, it is a poor choice.

Once you’ve got the basic idea of a simple sugar post-workout, then you can experiment using different combinations of glucose and maltodextrin. It is usually recommended to make a 50/50 mix of the two, based on the differing absorption rates of the two carbs. Glucose requires no digestion and so once in the intestinal tract can pass straight through the wall lining. Maltodextrin, however, requires a bit of digestion to split it into the glucose molecules that make it up. The difference of digestion is not really that much in the way of time, but can make a big difference. This is because glucose enters the cell via active transport (4) and only so much can get through at any one time once the receptors are all being utilised. By taking in maltodextrin, the longer digestion and absorption rate means the glucose from the malto is getting to the cell more or less once the first glucose molecules are in. So you’re basically ‘lining the glucose up’.

For protein, a quick-digesting source like hydrolysed whey or whey isolate fits the bill. Hydrolysed is a more expensive route to take and not absolutely necessary. Isolate will suffice.

You want quick absorption of this shake, so avoid fat in this ‘meal’. While something like oil may very well simply sit on top of the liquid in the stomach (5), it’s a different story when the fat is actually part of the food itself, which is the case with milk. The fat present will slow the digestion and absorption rates which is something you are actually trying to avoid in this time frame. As well, casein is the predominant protein that milk consists of (about 80% or so, with about 20% being whey). Casein actually forms clots in the stomach during digestion, forming a sort of paste that slows digestion further. Again, this is not something you’re striving for, so milk consumption during this time is not the obvious choice. There is some degree of controversy in the whey versus casein debate, but that is for another day.

So what I’ll say is that if you need the calories from the milk, drink it after your post-workout shake, about 90 minutes after is good, or as soon as you feel hungry if it is before this 90 minute bracket. Ideally, a simple sugar, quick-digesting protein is more suited for the post-workout window.


(1) Need for GLUT4 activation to reach maximum effect of insulin-mediated glucose uptake in brown adipocytes isolated from GLUT4myc-expressing mice.
Diabetes. 2002 Sep;51(9):2719-26.

(2) Intracellular mechanisms underlying increases in glucose uptake in response to insulin or exercise in skeletal muscle.
Acta Physiol Scand. 2001 Mar;171(3):249-57

(3) The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise.
Can J Appl Physiol. 1995 Dec;20(4):480-6.

(4) Post-ischemic stimulation of 2-deoxyglucose uptake in rat myocardium: role of translocation of Glut-4.
J Mol Cell Cardiol. 1998 Feb;30(2):393-403.

(5) Gastic emptying and intragastric distribution of lipids in man. A new scintigraphic method of study. Dig Dis Sci (1982) 27 (8): 705-711.

(6) In vivo and in vitro gastric emptying of milk replacers containing soybean proteins. J Dairy Sci. 1994 Feb;77(2):533-40.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:01 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Further on the milk issue I wanted to repost this here:

Well looky looky, I'm an idiot. For a while Hardgain has been saying that milk will cause an insulin spike and I've been saying no way, it's low GI and that is a reliable predictor of insulin response. But Hardgain kept saying it so after this last post I got to thinking there must be a reason...

What confused me was the assertion that lactose would cause a spike. The type of carb or the amount of carbohydrates in a food are NOT what you look at...you look at the GI of the food as a whole as a predicter...MOST of the time. Milk has a low GI and very low GL and that was good enough for me.

But now I know where this has been coming from:

Inconsistency between glycemic and insulinemic responses to regular and fermented milk products1,2,3
Elin M Östman1, Helena GM Liljeberg Elmståhl1 and Inger ME Björck1
1 From the Department of Applied Nutrition and Food Chemistry, Center for Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Sweden.

Background: Foods with a low glycemic index are increasingly being acknowledged as beneficial in relation to the insulin resistance syndrome. Certain organic acids can lower the glycemic index of bread products. However, the possible effect of acids in fermented milk products on the glycemic index and on insulinemic characteristics has not been addressed. The metabolic effects of fermented milk or pickled products used as additives to mixed meals have also not been addressed.

Objectives: One objective was to characterize the glycemic and insulinemic responses after intake of regular or fermented milk products (study 1). In addition, the acute metabolic effect of fermented milk (yogurt) and pickled cucumber as supplements to a traditional breakfast based on a high–glycemic index bread was evaluated (study 2).
Design: Ten healthy volunteers were served different breakfast meals after an overnight fast. Capillary blood samples were collected before and during 2 (study 1) or 3 (study 2) h after the meal. White-wheat bread was used as a reference meal in both studies.

Results: The lactic acid in the fermented milk products did not lower the glycemic and insulinemic indexes. Despite low glycemic indexes of 15–30, all of the milk products produced high insulinemic indexes of 90–98, which were not significantly different from the insulinemic index of the reference bread. Addition of fermented milk (yogurt) and pickled cucumber to a breakfast with a high–glycemic index bread significantly lowered postprandial glycemia and insulinemia compared with the reference meal. In contrast, addition of regular milk and fresh cucumber had no favorable effect on the metabolic responses.

Conclusions: Milk products appear insulinotropic as judged from 3-fold to 6-fold higher insulinemic indexes than expected from the corresponding glycemic indexes. The presence of organic acids may counteract the insulinotropic effect of milk in mixed meals.

It is believed it could be because of the PROTEINS:

Studies on starchy foods commonly show a positive correlation between glycaemic index (GI) and insulinemic index (II), i.e. low-GI foods cause lower postprandial insulin responses compared with high-GI food. Some food products, e.g. milk, exhibit higher levels of circulating insulin than predicted from lactose, implying that other components in milk may have impact on the insulin release. This insulinotrophic effect is most likely related to the protein fraction. It is known that certain amino acids have the ability to stimulate insulin release, however if the insulinotrophic effects of milk is due to the amino acid pattern remains to be evaluated. High levels of circulating insulin, hyperinsulinemia, is discussed as a risk factor for development of diseases related to the metabolic syndrome, e.g. type II diabetes.

The purpose of this project is to study glucose and insulin response to milk and other food proteins, study the mechanism for insulinotrophic effect and evaluate metabolic consequences. Metabolic effects are evaluated in acute meal studies in healthy and diabetic subjects as well as in rat models.

It doesn’t appear to be the FAT:

Hoyt G, Hickey MS, Cordain L. Dissociation of the glycaemic and insulinaemic responses to whole and skimmed milk. Br J Nutr 2005;93:175-177.


In most carbohydrate-containing foods, the blood insulin response is predictable and is closely linked to the food’s glycemic index (GI). A single study, examining whole milk and fermented milk products made from whole milk, recently reported a large dissociation between the GI and insulinemic index (II) in healthy normals. Because the fat component of a food may influence the GI and II, it is unclear if a similar dissociation may exist for skim milk in normals. We determined the GI and II of both skim and whole milk in nine healthy, male (n=6) and female (n=3) subjects (23.6 ± 1.4 years). No significant (p>0.05) differences existed between GI and II for skim and whole milks. Significant (p<0.05) differences were observed between the actual and predicted areas under the insulin curves for both skim milk (predicted 1405 ± 289 pmol-min/L; actual 6152 ± 1177 pmol-min/L) and whole milk (predicted 1564 ± 339 pmol-min/L; actual 5939 ± 1095 pmol-min/L). Consequently, a large and similar dissociation of the GI and II existed for both whole milk (42 ± 5 and 148 ± 14) and skim milk (37 ± 9 and 140 ± 13). It is concluded that the dissociation of the GI and II in milk is not related to its fat content.

Further from the original study:

Forty-five minutes postprandially, the regular milk and filmjölk elicited lower insulin responses than did the WWB (Figure 2); 30 and 45 min after the meal, insulin responses were significantly lower with the lactose solution than with the WWB (white wheat bread). Insulin concentrations after ropy milk were not significantly different from concentrations after the WWB meal at all time points, except for 95 min postprandially, when insulin responses were significantly lower after the WWB meal. The insulinemic index for the milk products did not differ significantly from those for the WWB but were significantly higher than those for the lactose solution (Table 3). No differences in insulinemic indexes were found between the milk products.

All of the milk products included in study 1 induced postprandial hypoglycemia after <50 min postprandially, which may be explained by the high insulin concentrations.

Notice that the milk illicited a higher insinemic index then PURE LACTOSE.

The study also said:

In the mid-1980s, Gannon et al (22) found milk to be a potent insulin secretagogue in type 2 diabetic patients. Some years later, Schrezenmeir et al (23) reported that the postprandial glucose and insulin responses to a milk-containing breakfast did not correlate in healthy individuals. A possible explanation for an insulinotropic effect of milk involves amino acids and lipids, because it is known that these components can increase the insulin secretion or the insulin demand of a meal (2426).

Now this is all very complicated and I'm not sure I understand it but what I'm getting is that milk causes an insulin response that is unassociated with its GI. It's still a crappy way to get glucose into you system when you need it. Plus you get an insulin response. Is this a delayed insulin response? Like 45 minutes later. I think that's what all this mean. Even worse. So I still say MILK SUCKS FOR POST WORKOUT and Hardgain was right that it causes an insulin response but it's not because of lactose.

You want quick absorption of this shake, so avoid fat in this ‘meal’. While something like oil may very well simply sit on top of the liquid in the stomach (5), it’s a different story when the fat is actually part of the food itself, which is the case with milk. The fat present will slow the digestion and absorption rates which is something you are actually trying to avoid in this time frame. As well, casein is the predominant protein that milk consists of (about 80% or so, with about 20% being whey). Casein actually forms clots in the stomach during digestion, forming a sort of paste that slows digestion further. Again, this is not something you’re striving for, so milk consumption during this time is not the obvious choice. There is some degree of controversy in the whey versus casein debate, but that is for another day.

So what I’ll say is that if you need the calories from the milk, drink it after your post-workout shake, about 90 minutes after is good, or as soon as you feel hungry if it is before this 90 minute bracket. Ideally, a simple sugar, quick-digesting protein is more suited for the post-workout window.
Personally I want carbs after a workout. Now I go with high GI carbs and an insulin spike immediately post workout. I know it's highly debated whether it is necessary but I'm going with info from highly respected individuals and what seems to be working for me.

What I said before is still true. Milk is a pretty slow way to deliver glucose to the muscles. If you want fast glucose and a corresponding spike in insulin to deliver said glucose and maybe creatine to muscles then go with dex, malto, or better yet, I presume, WMS.

One more thing before I shut up about this since I don't want anyone to think that the glycymic index and glycemic load is unreliable: it is.

Today, there is an international consensus regarding the nutritional relevance of the glycemic index concept. In dietary recommendations from the Food and Agriculture Organization and the World Health Organization (8), an increased consumption of low–glycemic index foods is strongly advocated.

Last edited by EricT; 06-10-2006 at 02:16 PM.
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Old 06-11-2006, 11:38 AM
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Pre/During/Post Workout Nutrition
by Ryan Zeppelin

Something the supplement companies don’t want you to know!

Now, where exactly does weightlifting fit into all of this?

Weightlifting fits right smack dab in the middle. Contrary to the lore that has developed in the bodybuilding community, carbohydrates are essential to maximal exercise performance of a bodybuilding training regimen [13,17,20]. And, that doesn't even get into their positive effects o­n anabolic hormones, which we can discuss at a different time.

In general, the more sets to failure during a workout, the greater the depletion of stored glycogen. Low levels of glycogen can reduce your number of muscle bulging repetitions and thus keep you a pencil neck every year. Also, we must realize that muscle glycogen is depleted much more quickly from type II fibers than from type I fibers during high intensity exercise [6]. This makes sense if you understand the physiological specificity between the two fibers -- namely, type I are fueled by oxidative processes, while type II are fueled by anaerobic/glycolytic processes.

Since we, as bodybuilders, rely predominantly upon the fast twitch type II fibers, our diets and training need to be in tune. (Note: Obviously, increasing your levels of stored creatine-phosphate can alter your body’s reliance upon glucose because it has more of the primary quick fuel to use. Still, a hard working bodybuilder can work past these available resources.) Now we are getting to the really good stuff.

(Let me point out that the muscles can only store a certain amount of creatine – it’s not like the more you supplement the more it increases. Eric)

As bodybuilders and strength athletes, we push ourselves through all types of training in an attempt to get our bodies to adapt and become more barbaric. By doing this we reduce all of the nutrients needed for recovery and growth. Restoring these levels back to, or above, what is needed is crucial. It has been shown that muscle glycogen repletion following high intensity exercise is faster than following endurance activities. Although high intensity results in quick glycogen replenishment, resistance exercise is not at the top of the list [12]. This is where pre or during exercise supplementation can give you a head start and quick acting post-workout nutrition can push the body even further towards an anabolic state.

So what is the best pre, during, and post nutrition supplement?

To say what is exactly the very best pre, during, and post nutritional supplement still needs more research. In fact, we will probably never know what is the best. What we do know now is that we can economically use food substances already available to produce a highly anabolic environment and this involves fast acting carbohydrates and proteins.

One of the first influential studies to research a carbohydrate-protein complex focused upon prolonged exhaustive exercise [25]. What was a surprise to the researchers was that their carbohydrate-protein supplement group had a higher level of muscle glycogen resynthesis than did an equal caloric carbohydrate o­nly group, when fed immediately following exercise. It seems that the combination of protein and carbohydrates whoops ass when it comes to raising insulin levels post exercise. This insulin spike resulted in a 38% faster glycogen storage rate than the carbohydrate o­nly group.

Protein alone you ask? You would not want to rob yourself of potential growth by missing out o­n the positive effects of insulin. The benefits of insulin to the exerciser can be categorized into fast and slow reactions. The fast reactions are possibly the most beneficial to muscle recovery. Insulin is responsible for increasing glycogenesis, protein synthesis, and inhibiting other catabolic actions, such as those of cortisol [9]. Another beneficial action occurs somewhat slower and involves the influx of amino acids into the muscle cells and the promotion of growth over an even longer period of up to 24-hours.

Another major research project took place a couple of years later and focused upon similar scenarios with weightlifters [5]. As you might expect, the carbohydrate-protein complex survived the battle-royal and was declared the official champion. This study took the research a bit further and tested for the changes in the major anabolic hormones; insulin, growth hormone, IGF-1, testosterone, and luteinizing hormone. Again, it is important to note the superb properties of insulin to not o­nly shuttle glucose into the cells and improve glycogen synthesis, but to also have similar actions with protein and, as this study revealed, to increase the release of growth-hormone. This release of growth hormone may or may not significantly affect muscle growth, but it surely will not hurt.

Only minor alterations in the other hormones were noticed in the supplement groups as compared to the control group. No worry though because we are more worried about switching our muscles from a catabolic state post training to o­ne that is anabolic. Insulin and food substrates will make the largest difference because this insulin spike, although not completely able to prevent exercise induced catabolic state of protein degradation, can go a long way in turning the tides the other direction and moving things past the balance point. It is amazing that any of us were able to grow when you really look at the damage we do to ourselves.

Another influential research project involved looking o­ne step further and analyzing, directly, both protein degradation and protein anabolism, otherwise known as net protein balance [15]. It is a fact that resistive exercise will stimulate protein synthesis, but this is also accompanied by protein breakdown. A goal of supplementation should be to a) limit the extent of protein degradation, b) increase protein synthesis, and c) speed up recovery. What this data showed was that post workout supplementation is capable of doing this and the sooner we chug the better.

The researchers concluded that there is no difference in total protein breakdown in the four-hour post exercise period between 1-hour and 3-hour post workout supplementation groups. The major difference was the time it took to change from catabolism to anabolism. By two hours post exercise, the rate of protein catabolism was already decreasing when the supplement was taken 1-hour post exercise. In comparison, when taken 3-hours post exercise, the rate was still increasing. The less time in a catabolic state, the sooner the body can recover and start growing.

The take home message is that to make a quicker change, sooner is better. And, it should be noted that, even with a liquid meal, substrate availability takes 30-60 minutes. Therefore, using the information presented earlier o­n pre- and during- workout supplementation may be even better yet, especially if your diet is already somewhat lacking in total carbohydrates.

The Recipe for Anabolism!

The research is clear that we need a quick acting supplement of both carbohydrate and protein. It is relatively simple to create and the components are much less expensive than you think. According to the current research, this is what is needed to make your recovery faster than you ever thought possible.

Carbohydrates: 0.8-1.0 g/kg of bodyweight

To make the best possible blend, it is recommended that the carbohydrates be a 50/50 blend of dextrose (glucose) and maltodextrin. The dextrose will be absorbed very quickly and be put to work. But why not make it all dextrose you ask? Because glucose is actively transported across the cellular membrane into the muscle [9], there is a limit to the amount that can cross at any given time. Overloading the system can lead to it being oxidized, meaning that not all of it may end up in the muscles. Instead, we include maltodextrin, which takes a fraction longer to reach the ambush cite, and we are better able to create anabolic fusion.

Protein: 0.4-0.6 g/kg of bodyweight

Which protein to use is a little more complicated. As in the case of carbohydrates, we want to use the fastest absorbing protein possible. Hydrolyzed whey protein is o­ne of the most quickly absorbed due to an enzymatic production method that leaves the amino acids open for use. The o­nly problem with the hydrolyzed proteins is their taste. If I can guess something that tastes similar, it probably is urinal cakes. Well, maybe not that bad, but you get my point.

There are two methods around this problem. You can either decrease the amount of hydrolyzed proteins by replacing this amount with whey isolates (another faster acting protein), or find a way to cover up the taste. You will have to see what will work best for you and your puke reflex. I personally use the first method. It works well, tastes good, and is a little more cost effective. A friend of mine forgets about the maltodextrin and adds this amount of powdered sports drinks to cover up the bitter taste of the hydrolyzed whey. Tastes good and seems to work well. In this case, you would definitely want to make sure you have the dextrose, maybe even a little extra.

Fructose, which is often used in these sports drink products, is ingested more slowly through facilitated transport, apparently has an ingestion limit somewhere around 60%, and usually shows signs of gastrointestinal distress at levels around 50 [16, 21]. Glucose, when ingested simultaneously with fructose, seems to accelerate the rate of fructose absorption and raises the level needed to cause the gastrointestinal distress [16, 21].

High octane kickers!

The above formula will work well by itself, but adding the following kickers can possibly knock your recovery and growth to another level.

5-10 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids and Glutamine.

This includes 3-5 grams of BCAA and/or 3-5 grams of glutamine. All four of these amino acids are essential to muscular growth but their inclusion into this mixture goes beyond this. First, during exercise, they may be used to create energy by the working muscle cells thus increasing the body's need for them post-exercise. Secondly, BCAAs are not regulated by the liver and pass directly into circulation for quick use in muscle protein synthesis [9]. Lastly, added glutamine can result in many benefits that are all needed post exercise. Glutamine is essential in the transport of nitrogen, excretion of ammonia as the result of gluconeogenesis, and is used for energy by the immune system and intestinal cells [9]. Each of these systems is taxed as the result of strenuous activities so their inclusion may be beneficial.

3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate.

The benefits of this supplement are well documented and most if not all of you are familiar with its benefits and uses by now. The synergistic results of the other ingredients make this an ideal deliverer of creatine.


0.8-1.0 g/kg of a 50/50 blend of dextrose and maltodextrin
0.4-0.6 g/kg of hydrolyzed whey protein or a blend of this and a whey isolate (a minimum of 50% hydrolyzed whey)
3-5 grams of BCAA
3-5 grams of glutamine
3-5 grams of creatine monohydrate.
*Drink ½ of this mixture pre (less than 15 minutes before exercise) and/or during your workout. Because of decreased gastric emptying during moderate to high intensity exercise, it has been hypothesized that during exercise supplements should be kept to a solution of 10% concentration or less (Anataraman et al. 1995). This means that a during exercise supplement will need to be mixed in 1-2 liters of water. That is a lot of fluid to drink during a 45-60 minute workout. If it is a little more concentrated, the results will probably not be affected much, so you need to see what is going to work for you.


All of these ingredients are readily available very inexpensively from many supplement suppliers. The o­nly work you have to put in is using the scoops provided and dumping from 2-3 containers into your shaker cup. You can easily save about 50-80% off the cost of many supplements out there marketed for this type of situation. You do not have to be exact o­n your measurements either. All you need is to be at least in the recommended range or possibly a little over.

Do a little research o­n the web and find the quality supplier with affordable prices. Remember that many of the supplement companies want you to be amazed by the ingredients they put in. See how many of them put glucose o­n the label instead of dextrose. Dextrose is corn sugar and almost every natural foods store, as well as beer homebrew shops, will have it and maltodextrin o­n their shelves. You will be surprised at how much you pay for the containers and marketing. The following is a list of what you should expect to pay, at MOST, for the main ingredients:

Dextrose (glucose): $1-2 per pound
Maltodextrin: $1-2 per pound
Hydrolyzed whey: $9-11 per pound
Whey isolates: $8-9 per pound

All of us put in a ton of work in gym torturing our bodies with insane workouts, why not take care of ourselves and grow? Save a little money when you can and extend your dollar a little further.


1. Anantaraman, R., Carmines, A., Gaesser, G., & Weltman, A. (1995). Effects of carbohydrate supplementation o­n performance during 1 hour of high-intensity exercise. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 16, 461-465.

2. Balsom, P., Wood, K, Olsson, P. & Eckblom, B. (1999). Carbohydrate intake and multiple sprint sports: With special reference to football (soccer). International Journal of Sports Medicine, 20, 48-52.

3. Bangsbo, J., Graham, R., Kiens, B. & Saltin, B. (1992). Elevated muscle glycogen and anaerobic energy production during exhaustive exercise in man. Journal of Physiology, 451, 205-227.

4. Bergstrom, J., Hermansen, L., Hultman, E., & Saltin, B. (1967). Diet, muscle glycogen and physical performance. Acta Physiology Scandanavia, 71, 231-236.

5. Chandler, R., Byrne, H., Patterson, J., & Ivy, J. (1994). Dietary supplements affect the anabolic hormones after weight training exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 76(2), 839-845.

6. Esbjornsson-Liljedahl, M., Sundberg, C., Norman, B. & Jansson, E. (1999). Metabolic response in type I and type II muscle fibers during a 30-second cycle sprint in men and women. Journal of Applied Physiology, 87, 1326-1332.

7. Gaitanos, G., Williams, C., Boobis, L. & Brooks, S. (1993). Human muscle metabolism during intermittent maximal exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 75(2), 712-719.

8. Goodpaster, B., Costill, D., Fink, W., Trappe, T., Jozsi, A., Starling, R., & Trappe, S. (1996). The effects of pre-exercise starch ingestion o­n endurance performance. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 17(5), 366-372.

9. Groff, J. & Gropper, S. (2000) Advanced Nutrition and Human Metabolism, 3rd ed.. United States: Wadsworth.

10. Hargreaves, M., McKenna, M., Jenkins, D., Warmington, S., Li, J., Snow, R. & Febbraio, M. (1998). Muscle metabolites and performance during high-intensity, intermittent exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 84(5), 1687-1691.

11. Hawley, J., Schabort, E., Noakes, T. & Dennis, S. (1997). Carbohydrate-loading and exercise performance: An update. Sports Medicine, 24(2), 72-81.

12. Karlsson, J. & Saltin, B. (1971). Diet, muscle glycogen, and endurance performance. Journal of Applied Physiology, 31, 203-206.

13. MacDougall, D., McCartney, R., Sale, D., Lee, P. & Garner, S. (1988). Substrate utilization during weightlifting. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 20, S66.

14. Pascoe, D. & Gladden, B. (1996). Muscle glycogen resynthesis after short term, high intensity exercise and resistance exercise. Sports Medicine, 2, 98-118.

15. Rasmussen, B., Tipton, K., Miller, S., Wolf, S. & Wolfe, R. (2000). An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 88, 386-392.

16. Riby, J., Fujisawa, T., & Kretchmer, N. (1993). Fructose absorption. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 58, supplement 5, S784-S753.

17. Robergs, R., Pearson, D., Costill, D., fink, W., Pascoe, D., Denedict, M., Lambert, C. & Zachweija, J. (1991). Muscle glycogenolysis during differing intensities of weight-resistance exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 70, 1700-1706.

18. Roberts, K., Moble, E., Hayden, D. & Taylor, W. (1988). Simple and complex carbohydrate-rich diets and muscle glycogen content of marathon runners. European Journal of Applied Physiology, 57, 70-74.

19. Tarnopolsky, M., Atkinson, S., Phillips, S. & MacDougall, J. (1995). Carbohydrate loading and metabolism during exercise in men and women. Journal of applied Physiology, 78(4), 1360-1368.

20. Tesch, P., Ploutz-Snyder, L., Ystrom, L., Castro, M. & Dudley (1998). Skeletal muscle glycogen loss evoked by resistance exercise. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, 12, 67-73.

21. Truswell, A., Seach, J., & Thorburn, A. (1988). Incomplete absorption of pure fructose in healthy subjects and the facilitating effect of glucose. American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 48, 1424-1430.

22. Sherman, W., Costill, D., Fink, W. & Miller, J. (1981). The effect of exercise-diet manipulation o­n muscle glycogen and its subsequent utilization during performance. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 2, 114-118.

23. Van Hall, G., Saris, W., Van de Shoor, P. & Wagenmakers, A. (2000). The effect of free glutamine and peptide ingestion o­n the rate of muscle glycogen resynthesis in man. International Journal of Sports Medicine, 21(1), 25-30.

24. Wong, S., Williams, C. & Adams, N. (2000). Effects of ingesting a large volume of carbohydrate-electrolyte solution o­n rehydration during recovery and subsequent exercise capacity. International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 10, 375-393.

25. Zawadzki, K., Yaspelkis, B. & Ivy, J. (1992). Carbohydrate-protein complex increases the rate of muscle glycogen storage after exercise. Journal of Applied Physiology, 72(5), 1854-1859.
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Old 06-11-2006, 03:49 PM
EricT EricT is offline
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Default What about Pre Cardio?

Excerpted from Active Nutrition by Joel Marion

The "When" of Cardiovascular Training

This is probably the most confusing and misunderstood topic when speaking of matters of active nutrition-- when is the best time to consume a meal in relation to cardiovascular activity? In order to answer this question, we must consider the most favorable way to:

Maximize performance. Now, you may be thinking "I don't care about performance; I'm not competing in a race; I just want to lose fat!" This is a very common attitude; however, it's not a very smart one. Exercise intensity is directly related to the amount of calories and fat you burn as a result of a given workout. If your performance is suffering from a lack of proper nutrition, you won't be losing fat at an optimal rate-- period.

Optimize fat loss. Obviously, we don't want to hinder the amount of fat lost either during or after the exercise session. Therefore, we have to consider whether the method we choose to supplement in has any adverse effects on fat loss.

Minimize muscle loss. Many times trainees will compromise large amounts of hard-earned muscle mass while dieting. A major contributor to this sad occurrence is the failure to appropriately time meals to combat the catabolic influences of exercise.

It was originally thought that while consuming a meal before exercise may have a positive effect on performance, it would certainly have an adverse effect on the amount of fat lost as a result of that session. Consequently, consuming a meal prior to exercise was frowned upon and performing cardio in a fasted state became the staple recommendation to optimize fat loss. However, all theory aside, research has shown this not to be the case. Three recent studies directly analyzing the aforementioned variable founded that consuming a carbohydrate containing meal prior to cardiovascular activity had no adverse effect on substrate utilization during exercise (the amount of fat versus carbohydrates used as energy during exercise) (2,3,4)*. Furthermore, the one study analyzing time to fatigue founded that those who did not consume a meal before exercising fatigued faster and performed at a lesser level than those subjects who did eat prior to the session (4).

Also, it should be noted that performing cardio in a fasted state is very catabolic not only to fat stores, but also to muscle protein. Continual use of such a method will likely cause lean tissue loss in dieters who are constantly in a state of negative calorie balance. This is especially true for leaner trainees trying to shed that last bit of fat.

Another common recommendation has been to wait an hour after exercise before eating in order to take advantage of the substantial increase in metabolism that occurs as a result of high intensity exercise. This hypothesis was recently studied by Dr. Lee and the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Se Jong in Seoul, South Korea (1). He and his research team founded that those subjects who consumed a protein and carbohydrate beverage actually increased the amount of calories burned during the hour post-exercise while still having no effect on substrate utilization. Also, proper post-workout nutrition will help prevent lean muscle mass from being catabolized and used as energy during this time frame.

Hopefully by now, it should be easy to see that consuming meals both prior to and immediately following intense exercise is the best way to 1) maximize performance, 2) optimize fat loss, and 3) minimize muscle loss.

"What" and "How Much" of Cardiovascular Training

Because cardiovascular activity generally causes less muscular damage than weight training, pre-/post-workout nutrition does not need to be as strictly calculated. Here are some general guidelines for the two types of cardio sessions mentioned earlier in the article:

For all workouts, pre-cardio nutrition can be as simple as consuming a small whole-food meal containing both protein and moderate GI carbohydrates about an hour prior to your session. An example of this would be to have a cup of oatmeal along with eight egg whites at 7 a.m. and then your session at 8 a.m. If wanting to perform the cardio sooner after your meal, then choose something that is more rapidly digested, such as a 1/2 of a nutrition shake with a cup of skim milk; this can be consumed half an hour prior to your session.

For a moderate intensity, longer duration session, just consume your next whole-food meal shortly after your training; this will suffice for post-workout nutrition.

For all HIIT sessions, consume a rapidly digesting beverage containing quality proteins and carbohydrates immediately after your training. An example of this would be to consume a nutrition shake with two cups of skim milk immediately after your HIIT session.

*Edit - Oops, I forgot to paste in the sources listed above. Here are whole abstracts as per 0311's request:

2. Int J Sports Med. 1999 Aug;20(6):384-9.

Cardiovascular and metabolic responses during 30 minutes of treadmill exercise shortly after consuming a small, high-carbohydrate meal.

Diboll DC, Boone WT, Lindsey LR.

School of Human Performance and Recreation, University of Southern Mississippi, USA. ddiboll@csubak.edu

Fourteen male endurance runners (VO2peak = 64.8 +/- 8.7 ml x kg(-1) x min(-1)) participated in this study to determine the cardiovascular and metabolic responses during 30 minutes of treadmill running at a moderate intensity soon after consuming a small, high-carbohydrate meal (CHO-M). In randomized order on separate days, subjects either consumed the CHO-M (2088 kJ; 77% carbohydrate) 15 minutes prior to running or they fasted (FAST). Data were collected for 5 minutes beginning at 5, 15, and 25 minutes of the 30-minute run. Heart rate (HR) was determined, a metabolic measurement cart was used to determine VO2 and respiratory exchange ratio (RER), and the CO2 rebreathing procedure (Collier plateau method) was used to determine cardiac output (Q). Statistical analyses indicated that the CHO-M did not affect HR, stroke volume, Q, VO2, or RER compared to FAST. However, all grouped CHO-M and FAST variables, except VO2, changed significantly across the 30-minute exercise session. These data suggest that a small, high-carbohydrate meal does not alter cardiovascular and metabolic function during moderate-intensity exercise in endurance-trained subjects.

3. J Appl Physiol. 1999 Feb;86(2):479-87.

Respiratory gas-exchange ratios during graded exercise in fed and fasted trained and untrained men.

Bergman BC, Brooks GA.

Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Department of Integrative Biology, University of California, Berkeley, California 94720-3140, USA.

We evaluated the hypotheses that endurance training increases relative lipid oxidation over a wide range of relative exercise intensities in fed and fasted states and that carbohydrate nutrition causes carbohydrate-derived fuels to predominate as energy sources during exercise. Pulmonary respiratory gas-exchange ratios [(RER) = CO2 production/O2 consumption (VO2)] were determined during four relative, graded exercise intensities in both fed and fasted states. Seven untrained (UT) men and seven category 2 and 3 US Cycling Federation cyclists (T) exercised in the morning in random order, with target power outputs of 20 and 40% peak VO2 (VO2 peak) for 2 h, 60% VO2 peak for 1.5 h, and 80% VO2 peak for a minimum of 30 min after either a 12-h overnight fast or 3 h after a standardized breakfast. Actual metabolic responses were 22 +/- 0.33, 40 +/- 0.31, 59 +/- 0.32, and 75 +/- 0.39% VO2 peak. T subjects showed significantly (P < 0.05) decreased RER compared with UT subjects at absolute workloads when fed and fasted. Fasting significantly decreased RER values compared with the fed state at 22, 40, and 59% VO2 peak in T and at 40 and 59% VO2 peak in UT subjects. Training decreased (P < 0.05) mean RER values compared with UT subjects at 22% VO2 peak when they fasted, and at 40% VO2 peak when fed or fasted, but not at higher relative exercise intensities in either nutritional state. Our results support the hypothesis that endurance training enhances lipid oxidation in men after a 12-h overnight fast at low relative exercise intensities (22 and 40% VO2 peak). However, a training effect on RER was not apparent at high relative exercise intensities (59 and 75% VO2 peak). Because most athletes train and compete at exercise intensities >40% maximal VO2, they will not oxidize a greater proportion of lipids compared with untrained subjects, regardless of nutritional state.

4. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1999 Mar;31(3):464-71.

The effect of a preexercise meal on time to fatigue during prolonged cycling exercise.

Schabort EJ, Bosch AN, Weltan SM, Noakes TD.

MRC/UCT Bioenergetics of Exercise Research Unit, Sports Science Institute of South Africa, Newlands.

PURPOSE AND METHODS: Seven subjects exercised to exhaustion on a bicycle ergometer at a workload corresponding to an intensity of 70% maximal oxygen uptake (VO2max). On one occasion (FED), subjects consumed a preexercise carbohydrate (CHO) containing breakfast (100 g CHO) 3 h before exercise. On the other occasion (FASTED), subjects exercised after an overnight fast. Exercise time to fatigue was significantly longer (P < 0.05) when subjects consumed the breakfast (136+/-14 min) compared with when they exercised in the fasted state (109+/-12 min). RESULTS: Pre- and post-exercise muscle glycogen concentrations, respiratory exchange ratio, carbohydrate and fat oxidation, and lactate and insulin concentrations were not significantly different between the two trials. Insulin concentrations decreased significantly (P < 0.05) from 4.7+/-0.05 microIU.mL(-1) to 2.8+/-0.4 microIU.mL(-1) in FED and from 6.6+/-0.6 microIU.mL(-1) to 3.7+/-0.6 microIU.mL(-1) in FASTED subjects and free fatty acid concentrations (FFA) increased significantly (P < 0.05) from 0.09+/-0.02 mmol.L(-1) to 1.4+/-0.6 mmol.L(-1) in FED and from 0.17+/-0.02 mmol.L(-) to 0.74+/-0.27 mmol.L(-1) in FASTED subjects over the duration of the trials. CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, the important finding of this study is the increased time to fatigue when subjects ingested the CHO meal with no negative effects ascribed to increased insulin concentrations and decreased FFA concentrations after CHO ingestion.

Last edited by EricT; 06-12-2006 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 06-11-2006, 06:56 PM
Darkhorse Darkhorse is offline
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Three recent studies directly analyzing the aforementioned variable founded that consuming a carbohydrate containing meal prior to cardiovascular activity had no adverse effect on substrate utilization during exercise (the amount of fat versus carbohydrates used as energy during exercise) (2,3,4).

Hopefully by now, it should be easy to see that consuming meals both prior to and immediately following intense exercise is the best way to 1) maximize performance, 2) optimize fat loss, and 3) minimize muscle loss.
Definately goes against the grain right there. I see notations for studies..Any way to paste those on as well Eric? Super article..Reinforces my belief that what I'm doing IS right!
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