T Nation

Help - Pre-Post Workout Nutrition For The poor!


For those of us that cannot afford to buy that many (if any) supplements what would work for a good pre-post workout drink (like Surge)? If two scoops of Surge contain 25g of protein and 49 carbs, wouldn?t a scoop of protein powder work and a one banana? Or protein power with two spoonfuls of sugar?

Thank you all for your help.



Try a scoop of vanilla protein powder with orange juice. Sounds nasty but actually tastes pretty good, kind of like creamsicle. And the orange juice has the simple carbs your looking for.


Berardi has answered this before: skim milk.


Skim Milk?

When did he say that?

Is any of these opions as good as, or nearly as good as Surge?

Thanks for your time.



whey protein powder
powdered gatorade


I wouldn't use fruit juice. Yes fructose and sucrose are simple carbs by they are metabolized differently. They are primarily processed and used by the liver to refill liver glycogen or from triglycerides. Fructose also doesn't cause a significant rise in blood sugar.

We can't always go by the molecular structure (simple or complex), we have to look at how the body reacts to it. Remember maltodextrin is a complex carb, but is great for PWO because it is absorbed very quickly.

Berardi talked about skim milk in his review of the 2004 ACSM conference. You can read it here.



It was in a past T-Nation article, I think maybe a conference report of some sort.

No, none of these things are as good as Surge, but they're better than nothing at all and work in a pinch. I stick to Surge, but I'll use skim milk post-workout if I'm waiting on an order to come in.


Get yourself some dextrose or maltodextrin from your grocery store. It's usually found in the sugar/baking isle.

This will provide you with the perfect carbs (short of the d-glucose in Surge) for your workout shake.

You want to stay away from fructose as another poster said because it lacks the ability to refuel muscle glycogen stores, only our stores of glycogen in our liver. Which makes it a very poor choice pre/post workout.

You're going to want to take the dextrose, or maltodextrin, and mix it with whey protein to get the same ratio found in Surge.

Hope this helps! Oh, and dextrose/malto is cheap!


The grocery store huh? Interesting... I guess you just add enough to get about 50 grams of carbs in your protien shake?

Thanks... I woulda looked like a jackass if I walked into GNC and asked for it... Ah, they would've probably looked like jackasses to because they wouldn't have known what I was talking about... : )

Thanks again...


No problem! If your regular grocery store doesn't have it, for whatever odd reason, then should stock it at a health/co-op place.

But, I've never had any problem finding it at the store. It's usually down on the bottom rack, or where they stock their bags of regular sugar.

And, if all else fails, get the regular sugar since it's a combo of dextrose/malto.

Going into GNC is a riot! It brightens a sad day when Biotest is out of stock, to see them struggle. Of course I ask left-field questions just to confuse them. :stuck_out_tongue:


Whoops, I forgot to add that there should be a nutrition label on the package giving you the caloric intake per serving. My mind's failing me as to exactly what it is, but yes, but add enough to meet your carb postworkout requirements.

As for those, I'd follow the ones listed on the Surge label:

< 200 lb = 50 grams carbs/ 25 grams protein

200 - 225 lb = 62 grams carbs/ 31 grams protein

225 = 75 grams carbs/ 37 grams protein

If it's not on the label, it's not hard to google the measuring amounts.


So basically mixing Gatorade powder (sucrose and fructose) with whey is a waste of time because it doesn't illicit an insulin response?


Well, after making an adventure to the grocery store after class, I've found that only a few grocery stores carry malto or dextrose as individual products. I guess I was lucky when I lived in Sioux Falls, SD, they did.

So, I just picked up some regular sugar, since it's a dextrose/malto combo (but one molecule, instead of individual, thus slowing digestion slightly).

But, it did occur to me, that you can buy maltodextrin at brewery shops. Sounds crazy, but I remember doing it before. Hopefully you'll be able to find something somewhere!

As for the latest Gatoraide powder question, I'm unaware of the exact proportions of sucrose to fructose, since I've never been a big fan of Gatoraide (because of the fructose).

But, I have seen our own JB recommend it, and hopefully more T-men will know the more than me.

Just going on the small info I have on the Gatoraide and the basic fact that fructose is not ideal in any way for post workout, I'd suggest shying away from it, in favor of either regular sucrose (table sugar) or individual malto/dextrose.

Hope this is making some sense, I just finished taking an exam, so my brain is a little out of it.


I use a whey protein powder that contains some hydrolyzed whey, and some maltodextrin


Sucrose, or table sugar, is glucose and fructose bound to each other. There's no maltodextrin in normal sugar.


My apologies, thanks for pointing that out!

Like I said, my brain is fried for the night, I should know better than that.


Insulin response comes from higher than normal blood sugar (to keep levels in check and to store the excess - often as fat). Food is what has the potential to raise blood sugar. In sufficient quantities, just about any food will raise blood sugar. The difference is how fast and for how long.

During exercise, muscles will pull glucose out of the blood to replace 'burned' glycogen. Consequently, blood sugar can get low. In the absence of incoming food energy the body can go catabolic and break down fat (ok) and lean tissue (not so ok). It is not so much that you want to spike your insulin levels but you want to quickly replenish glycogen, blood sugar, and provide extra energy for repair and growth.

Fructose has to be metabolized in the liver and then released to the blood. It takes longer to get there than glucose does, which goes straight to blood sugar. That said, you can use slower release carbs to a degree as long as you consume them early enough.

My choice for a workout drink is ~30g worth of chocolate whey + 1/4-1/2 cup of oatmeal. Throw in the blender for at least a couple mins. A bit chewy but tastes like choc chip oameal cookies.


I had some fun with my Dad's blood glucose meter to see which had the most profound effect after different workouts, to see which had the most profound efect after each one.

Powerade plus Whey plus skim milk plus ground up sweet tarts (they have good malto dextrin levels) actually elicited the best response.

It's fun to experiment, but don't work your gi grappling the next day. (ouch)