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best post workout food

Hi. Hope y’all can help me out. Have just started HST…took my baseline measurements (5RM, 10RM, 15RM) and then took the requisite 12 days off before beginning the protocol…which I started a couple of days ago. I really want to do this right, as I don’t think I’ve been making the gains I should be. So, I currently take Surge just before and right after the work out, but I can never figure out the BEST post recovery meal to eat about one hour AFTer training. The situation is a bit complicated by the following. I don’t get to the gym until 8:00-8:30 pm or so at night, so I wonder if taking a carb meal one hour after I work out (which is about 9:30-10:00pm) is NOT a good thing - given how it seems eating carbs late at night only increases fat storage.


I’ve also decided to do the Massive Eating program while on HST, as I do feel I need to put on size (I’m 5’8" and about 160 with 15%BF, 42 years old).
As I said, I want to do this right, as best as I can, and would really appreciate anybody’s feedback and suggestions as to how I can make this an optimal experience. Thanks to all who reply.

Lorne, there is a long, currently active thread that I started about eating carbs at night. Maybe you’ve already seen it. I asked for real evidence that making only the change of eating more carbs at night (in other words, you’re holding everything else, especially your total calories, constant) led to fat gain, and there wasn’t much. So I’m not convinced at all that adding carbs at night will increase fat storage over what you would experience otherwise.


That said, it seems to me like you’re a bit at cross purposes here. You’re at 15%BF and are 42 years old with a relatively low LBM. To me, that says “fairly slow metabolism”. I understand that you want to put on size and that’s fine. But starting at 15% you’re going to probably put on more fat with the muscle than you would like. So you either accept this probability, or you change your plan and get your BF level down to 10% or so before you start bulking.


I also will insert a non-plug for HST here (although I know a lot of the other DPers love the program). I personally gained fat and lost muscle on the program, so I don’t think it’s the best. But although a lot of people got great size/strength gains from it, I don’t recall anyone’s getting leaner using the protocol without a large change in diet to go along with it. So in that sense it’s not like Meltdown or something, which will lean you out considerably without a major change in diet. And it’s not like GVT where you’re just doing so much volume that you can eat a lot more and put it to good use.


Just some thoughts.

Lorne: That last meal really depends on how you respond to the late night carbs. It will help you put on weight. But… If you are looking to keep your BF in check (or lower it) I would probably lower your carb intake. Stick with the p&f meal in that case. Personally, late night carbs don’t work for me.

My suggestions is this why not eat an hour before you workout and then just have a MPR like GROW after you work-out.

I wouldn’t be too worried about the fat storage at night, because the carbs you take in should help out the recovery, and not go to fat, even though it’s at night. For the meal, I would suggest a casein based protein (i.e. low-fat cottage cheese) and a higher glycemic carb (i.e smart start cereal) as Berardi recommends. Good luck.

Smart Start??? I respect Mr. Berardis opinion a lot. But I’ve ALWAYS read that you should consume a liquid meal for your post-workout meal. Right?

He was referring to the SECOND post-workout feeding, not the initial one.

Mammoth 2500. The best muscle size and weight gainer there is, and it tastes decent.

Lorne, I strongly agree with Char-Dawg AND John Berardi about dropping BF first and then turning your energy and efforts towards bulking. You’re only talking about dropping 8 pounds of BF to get to 10%.



If you’ve read Berardi’s writings, he addresses the topic of whether to drop BF first or bulk first if you have both body composition goals. To recap, if you drop BF to low levels and then put on one pound of weight, since you’re relatively lean, most of the pound you put on will be muscle. If you have a high BF% and put on one pound, then a much higher percentage of that pound will be fat.



Berardi also addresses carbohydrate timing. The two best times for P+C meals are first thing in the morning and your first solid meal after your workout even if that workout is late in the evening. If you’re worried about the carbs, use green-veggie, fibrous (non-starchy) carbs for your post workout meal. So the majority of your meals would be P+F meals, and 2 would be P+C, with carb grams kept to <100g.



Your’re not talking a lot of carbs either way, Lorne. If you get 49g of carbs from your post workout drink and say you had oatmeal for breakfast (22g per 1/4 cup dry measured), that would leave a maximum of 29g of carbs for dinner. Take in your good carbs and you should be just fine.



Those are my thoughts on the subject. Best of luck to you, Lorne!!!

Thanks for clearing that up Monty. Yes, Surge right post-workout, and then cottage cheese and smart start an hour later.

Lorne…I would not be overly concerned with that last meal of the day being a carbohydrate meal, particularly due to the fact that you’re in your “window of opportunity.” By that I mean that your insulin sensitivity is at its height and nutrient partitioning will be great. The first thing your body will want to do with nutrients is restore lost energy reserves and recover from the exercise. The last thing will probably fat storage. That said, I would also recommend at least some casein protein in that meal (cottage cheese plus low-carb GROW is dynamite!) along with a low to moderate glycemic carb, perhaps something grainy, unprocessed and relatively high in fiber (i.e. oats, low-fat granola, etc.).

I have my post-workout Surge at about 10:30 PM and then have my 2nd post workout meal between 11:30 - 12:00. I usually then go to sleep as soon as possible. When trying to gain wieght I mix 1c lowfat cottage cheese, 1 scoop of low carb grow, 1 banana, and 1c of low fat granola. Berardi recommended this concoction and it has worked great as my second post workout meal. It has something like 700 cal, 100 g carbs, and 50 g protein. It still has that 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein that is recommended during that 2 hr postworkout period. For me most of the calories are utilized for protein synthesis and repair as my body fat levels stay fairly constant at 10%.

Like the others I think you might be better off by first lowering your body fat and using a more traditional 2nd postworkout meal, consiting of protein and lower amounts of carbs.

However, if you don’t mind putting on some fat to go along with the muscle that cottage cheese concoction will definitley do the trick.

Y’know, I always wanted my name to mentioned in the same breath as John Berardi’s! Thank you.


Lorne, how 'bout some comments on our comments?

Char-dawg is right, you’ll find it extremely difficult, if not impossible, to lose fat and gain SIGNIFICANT LBM simultaneously. Choose one option- either get lean then bulk (which will probably raise your BF a little again, but that’s ok if had previously been lowered), or else bulk, then get busy cutting using a high intensity workout and lower carb diet (e.g. Meltdown training and T-Dawg or Fat fast). As far as the post-workout nutrition goes, there is a lot of controversy on this one. IMO I’d say that as long as you maintain a steady calorie intake during the day, and don’t gorge yourself later on, you should be fine. The surge won’t be enough to fully replenish those tired muscles, though it will start the process. Take in a good meal as prescribed, and don’t worry too much about the carbs (provided you’re not started on T-Dawg or similar!). Your body NEEDS it having trained so late, and will put the fuel to good use (your muscles not your belly). Just my 10 cents. SRS

Hey Char-dawg:
THANK YOU SO MUCH for your feedback. I really appreciated the time you took to answer my question in such detail. I wanted to take a few moments to reply to the advice you generously offered. From what I wrote you surmised that at 42, with 15% BF, I probably have a slow metabolism. I’m glad you brought this up because I am very confused. I know this may sound DUMB, but I can’t TELL if I have slow or fast metabolism…for example…I will eat a big breakfast (9 egg whites, a cup of oatmeal, and a piece of fruit), I then hop on my bike and cycle to work (20 minutes). Sometimes I find myself hungry before I get to work even…only a half hour after breakfast. That seems to indicate fast metabolism. But, on the other hand, I can’t get rid of a smooth gut, and get my BF low…indicating perhaps SLOW metabolism. Any thoughts? (I don’t own a car, so I do all my commuting and “driving” by bike, so don’t know if that means I need to up my calories or not.)
Secondly, it sounds perhaps I should consider following another training protocol instead of HST…given my current BF. Would Meltdown be appropriate or GVT instead? Finally, I am still confused as to the best post workout meal…it sounds like the FIRST post workout meal should be liquid ( I down a serving of Surge right after workout…does that count as a MEAL?) IT also sounds like the SECOND post workout meal should be casein based protein plus a high glycemic food (like cereal perhaps). do I have that right? If I finish my workout at around 9:45 pm. I then, usually come home, and down a couple cups of cottage cheese, but find I need about 2-3 maybe four tablespoons of peanut butter mixed in…to feel satieted. (cottage cheese alone, or with carbs, doesn’t leave me feeling full.) Don’t know if this is hurting or helping me…taking so much PB so late at night. Hey, CHar-dawg, again, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR HELP! As a newbie, I can use ALL the help I get! Look forward to your reply.

Hey Tampa-Terry, thanks for your reply. I really appreciate you advice. I’m rather new at this, and I benefit greatly from the experience of iron game veterans like yourself. I hope you can answer some of the questions I have in response to the feedback you gave me. It sounds like I should NOT be doing the protocol I started, i.e. HST AND Massive Eating…rather, get my BF down to 10% AND THEN do HST and Massive Eating…do I read you correctly? If so, can you suggest a program that would be appropriate. I JUST began my HST this week (afer a 2 week SD layoff), so I haven’t invested a LOT of work in the HST so far…therfore, I’d have no problem switching to something more appropriate. But what about diet? If not massive eating, then what, for example? I’m only about 160 pounds now, and thought that bulking up first would put me bump my weight up to something more reflective of all my training efforts. I really want to break beyond the 160 mark! I think I need to get back to JB’s article on P+C and P+F eating and read it…do you know what the title of that article would be? I was under the impression that as long as I didn’t mix P+C or P+F, I could eat these meals at ANY time of day, without regard to time…sounds like I need to pay attention to WHEN I eat these combinations as well. so, any advice or help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. Thanks again. Look forward to your reply

Lorne- in answer to your query about taking in too much too late. I guess it COULD be a factor, but I am still not convinced. One thing I was wondering about though, is that if you are skipping meals during the day, your body will go into catabolism (breakdown) of your hard earned PROTEIN before using your fat stores. This is because there is no other protein source arriving from your belly, and the body needs protein CONTINUOUSLY. Even if you took in some “snacks” during the day, it woudn’t feed the protein need. (Although it might reduce the breakdown slightly, as there would be an alternative energy source).
Hence, you may actually be taking in the right amount of calories, but the nutrient profile and the TIMING are poor.
My diet/training advice remains the same. However try to BALANCE your calorie and macronutrient intake during the day, vs lots at night- it may be the fast in the day that is your undoing. 9 egg whites, 1 cup oatmeal, 1 piece of fruit is NOT a big breakfast for a man of your size! Just go add up what it comes to calorie wise- 9 egg whites = ~150cals; 1 cup oatmeal = ~150 cals. 1 piece of fruit = ~50cals. Total? A measly 350!! I would suggest adding some yolks to those whites, and also some wholegrain toast? If you’re not following the Massive eating program where fat plus carbs is a no-no, then some peanut butter wouldn’t hurt here either. At least that’ll set you up for the day- start as you mean to go on! Probably the BEST advice I could give you here is to keep a food log. Yes it’s tedious, but you obviously spend enough time fretting for it to be worthwhile. (Good article by Shugart- “The Missing Ingredient”- give it a read).
Just to clear up the Massive Eating thing (this is the name of JB’s program)- you mentioned you avoid P+F, and P+C. Is this just a typo, or have you got the gyst of this diet wrong?- go read it again, and it will all probably become clear. Best of luck again, and give us all some feedback in a few weeks.

Hi SRS! Great advice. Thank you so much for the support and feedback. It really helps. Will be glad to post my developments along the way. Wishing you well!

What do you guys think about the set-point theory though when it comes to this type of situation. I was in a similar situation. I have been really busy at work for the last 6-8 months on top of taking my series 7, 63, and 55. I ended up at 5’10 190 and 25% body fat!!! yuk. I used to be 188 with around 12%. So i just turned into a blob. I jumped right into HST and have been going for 3 weeks. I gained 10 lbs and am now 200. However my bodyfat is still 25%. It seems i am at my setpoint and am gaining muscle to fat in the same ratio. My thinking is that if i end up 210 and still have 25% bodyfat won’t I be in a better position mass wise then if i dieted down from 190 10% I’d be 161. Then if I go down to 10% from 210 I’ll be 178. 2 more things to mention, the way I’m going I could easily end up at 215. Also my bodyfat is by one of those 40 buck bathroom scales and i think it might be lower. I know Joel Marion had said I few things about set point that might apply here. Let me know if you guys think what i am doing is all wrong.

well i’m doing massive eating right now. i sip half a surving of surge during workout and the rest post. 1.5 hours later i eat a 1/2lb steak(or chiken) and baked potato(or rice) with whole wheat bread. is there anything wrong with this? its usually around 9pm that i eat my last meal. if i get up in the middle of the night i slam a mrp. maybe my logic is flawed(or i’m lacking knowledge) but wouldn’t a steak or chiken meal be better than a mrp for a 1-2 hour post workout meal? thanks in advance