The supplement industry gets a lot of buzz…and why wouldn’t it? Millions of athletes and recreational lifters are doing what they can everyday to get their best body and best performance. For most, there are definitely some things they could do better with their nutrition and things they could do better with their workouts. For some, the blueprint is right, but patience is hard to come by. Either way, the supplement industry is finding its way into billions of dollars annually. I am not opposed to the use of supplements, I just think that most of the time it is not done effectively to get the results people are looking for.
I am NOT going to list all of the supplements that I think work and what they do, I am only going to discuss the importance, and simple protocols of peri-workout nutrition. Many people maintain that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but if you have some serious performance goals, I don’t think this is true. Breakfast is important, as are all the other meals of the day. However, what is often overlooked is the time before, during, and after your workout, when your body is most receptive to many nutrients.
The most important thing here is to eat something about 1 hour before your workout. Avoid fibre, as it will just slow down digestion. If you don’t have food, a meal-replacement type shake is a good idea here. You want a little bit of everything for your workout. Add in a scoop of creatine monohydrate here.
If you are training for more than an hour, it is important to hydrate regularly, and add a carbohydrate/electrolyte mix to your water. This goes a long way toward enhancing endurance, blunting the release of cortisol, and maintaining strength and power. Adding branched-chain amino acids to this mix, or essential amino acids, will decrease the catabolism of muscle and turn on the mechanisms for protein synthesis as soon as possible. The research is mixed as to whether supplementing during your workout or after your workout is more important.
Since a lot of people either are unprepared to take in all of their nutrients during the workout, or just don’t like it, post-workout is the most common time for the main shake. The important thing to realize here is that a scoop or two of whey protein isn’t the most ideal post-workout shake. Drinking a shake with carbohydrates in it is extremely important for replenishing muscle glycogen, improving rehydration, and adding lean body mass. A combination of carbohydrate and protein is more effective than either on their own for almost all measures of recovery and performance. Add in some creatine monohydrate and you can ensure that you are increasing lean body mass/improving body composition. For protein requirements, you want either 30g of protein or roughly 10g of BCAA or EAAs, both are effective at these doses. More may help, but taking 5 times as much is probably a waste. As for carbohydrates, if you are looking to build muscle or just recover optimally, you want about 3x or 4x as much carbohydrate as protein. So if you have 30g of protein you are going to want to be around 100g of carbohydrate. If your primary goal is fat loss, there is no need to eliminate the carbs around your workout, but instead just lower them. Bring the ratio down to about 2:1.
Personally, I am a big fan of Cytosport’s line of products, so I like to mix about 60g of Cytomax and 15g of Monster Amino post-workout with about 5-10g of creatine monohydrate. I also sip on some Cytomax just before, or during the start of my workouts.
To finish this up…proper workout nutrition is absolutely HUGE for reaching any aesthetic or performance goals, and it starts with a properly formulated post-workout shake. Depending on your last meal, look at adding something before or during to maintain energy and performance levels. Having a mixed beverage is way more effective than a high dose of protein only.
Drink up that post-workout shake!!
It’s About Getting Better!