T Nation

Pre- & Post- Workout Nutriton


I'm on a cut, at 18% BF, ive got some flab i'd like to get rid of. I'm currently taking a pre-workout, At Large Nutrition's "Results" which is a combination of beta-alanine, creatine, and ~50g of dextrose.

Burn fat is my main goal, so i'm trying to keep carbs <100/day. i train 4 days a week, cardio 1-2 days. Do i need to be adding/is it best to add carbs post-workout if i'm already ingesting quite a large amount PRE workout?


at 18%... this is what I would do

  1. Meat and nuts pre-workout (and whatever else meals you have pre-workout, have only veggies and berries carb-wise)

  2. There are no BCAA's/protein in this 'Results' supplement, I just looked it up. BCAA's before anything else. So get some BCAA's in, or Anaconda/MAG-10 if you can afford it. You can add 1 scoop of Surge Workout Fuel if you'd like, it's actually my favorite supp.

  3. Post-workout (~1 hour after lifting), get some carbs in like 1 cup of rice, or 1 sweet potato, etc. The rest of the meals, no carbs.


Thanks Andy. unfortunately for me i've got more than half a tub of Results left, but MAG-10 / Anaconda are on my list for when i run out. So i'll add some BCAA's, and post-w carbs. appreciate it.

Calorically, currently i try for 50-70g fats, 60-80g carbs, 220-250g protein, comin out to around 1800cal/day. recommend any change in those numbers?


Don't really know man, 1800 sounds a bit low but that is all dependent on how hard you lift, your metabolism, etc. Regardless I don't really count calories, I just make sure to get enough protein in at each meal, get the carbs in peri-and-post workout, and have a moderate amount of fat at other meals. Like for breakfast is meat and nuts, or eggs/grass-fed cheese/coconut oil that I cook with. Another meal will be pork + veggies + avocado, another is 2 scoops Metabolic Drive and 2 tbsp almond butter... you get the point. I also take Flameout/FA3 for fats.

I really just hate keeping track of calories (and macro-nutrients for that matter, I just count carbs), it's annoying to me.


true, and i typically dont! i was down to ~8% BF in Aug of last year, was training as well as muay-thai fighting, so my body was pretty cut up. then school started and dropped the class and started going out with friends drinking/eating wrong, wound up fat! haha, but i got my shit together, so now im just trying to return to my old self. But thanks for the feedback, will follow your pre- & post- recommendations.


When I'm dieting for a contest, and I target the majority of my carbs pre-workout, I don't have any carbs afterward. The obsession with the 'post workout window' is in addressing what you just depleted so your body can recover and repair for your next session.

However, if your body is optimally fueled, and primed PRE workout (and even during as well), you will not suffer the same catabolic situation that most people do after training. I switched my focus from POST nutrition to PRE/PERI nutrition 2 years ago, and have continued to step onstage each year weighing more, and being even more cut. No questions in my mind :slightly_smiling:



Stu - On a practical note, I seem to do much better with carbs PRE workout as well. I workout mostly in the evenings during the week, so it's 8pm or so by the time I get back home for my last meal. I'm definitely not 'carb friendly' so a ton of carbs at that time, then bed would not be the best.

I've done the POST w/o carbs before bed thinking that the training would take care of the carbs and don't think it was wise for me in terms of composition (lifts still go up though). That's not to say others wouldn't do well.

On the weekends I workout earlier in the day like late AM or early afternoon. That leaves a lot of room for carbs POST w/o if I chose.

I do like having the 'fuel' ahead of time though.


Steely: I usually train in the evenings as well, so after a long day, downing 3 Finibars definitely contributes to a productive training session (noticeable strength benefits). On weekends, I train early, using the Finibars as my breakfast, so of course the rest of my day is going to have some carbs as well (There's a cute little diner near my apt that Cat n' I like to frequent after hitting the gym on Sat mornings for turkey and swiss omelets and oatmeal ... such a meat-head couple!)



Good stuff here guys. I've actually wondered about this myself as most of the meal timing articles I read are geared towards folks that train earlier in the day.

Like the both of you, during the week I train at night due to my long commute which has me up early and home late. I recently switched to having most of my carbs throughout the day with a big meal @ 16:00 (pre workout) and then I sip waxy maize (40g) intra workout followed by a protein shake made up of 50/50 whey/casein. After that it's straight to bed so I get at least 7 hours before starting the routine all over again.


Scott Stevenson wrote an article for Muscle Mag about this ("Meals on Steal"). He stresses intra WO meals (shakes). I workout at 5 AM, so this is pretty much my only option.


good discussion guys. For someone at 18% BF I think it is just a faster way to lose fat with having carbs post-workout (not directly after, but in the meal an hour later). That way, the lifting session itself can burn some fat.

In terms of someone more advanced with a leaner physique like, Stu, pre-workout carbs are great.


new here but can't but comment on the intra WO vs post WO nutrition.... seems that a large drink after WO builds better muscle (aka turns on protein sysnthesis) than sipping it during WO. Am J Clin Nutr 2011;94:795-803. Hot off the press....


And this is exactly what I'm wondering. Does it make a difference if the intra workout drink is all carbs and the post workout drink is all protein?


This is an interesting article but is doesn't disprove any of the anecdotal evidence that Stu has provided.


In other words, drink a big ass protein only shake post workout for the best possible protein synthesis.


Regarding the above, one thing that I found beneficial in my fat loss efforts in the past is to stop looking at fat loss in these terms (i.e. how much fat you can burn "during" your workout, or over X short period of time). I don't believe the body works this way, and even if it does, who gives a shit? It's way too much effort for such minimal reward. Particularly if you're going to undermine your muscle-building / strength-training goals in doing so.

My point is: starting to think about fat loss over the day or even week was much more effective a strategy for me over the long haul. Translation: if a pre-workout carbs+protein drink followed by a post-workout carbs+protein meal/drink is the most beneficial approach for your resistance-training goals, then do that. It's far more important to maintain and possibly even grow muscle during the four to five hours per week window that you're dedicating to that pursuit. Who cares what fat you burn while you're training anyway? Your focus and efforts should be aligned to the task at hand. Worry about fat loss the remaining 163 hours of the week through smart food choices and calorie restriction.

And to answer the OP's original question: I don't feel that you need to "count" the carbs in your pre- and post-workout drinks against your intake goal. It's the workout that's causing the elevated need for carbs; that shouldn't affect whatever you calculated your needs to be outside of training. If you determined that eating 1800 calories on a typical day would produce your desired results, would you not eat more than that on the day you hiked half way up a mountain? I hope you would.


25 grams of protein is approximately 1 scoop of whey depending on the brand.

Carb intake before and during is not addressed in the article...


I'm glad this topic is at hand right now. What advice would you folks give to those who workout twice a day concerning peri-workout nutrition? Say you're playing a sport or you have some sort of mandated training in the evening so you do your weight training in the morning. I would assume this necessitates carbohydrates around both periods of time, but would the consequent increase in calories be detrimental to fat loss? Thanks in advance.


I see your point and i've read that as well. in a couple different places. SO you suggest meat&nut then a post workout carb instead of the pre? do you think i'll experience a sort of lack of energy/"pump"/gains due to the missing carbs/beta-alanine/creatine?


totally agree with you as well, and that's what i've been doing, im not DYING to lose 10% in 2 weeks, im trying to find a plan, that i can stick to week in and week out. I think i'll stick to my pre-workout, i like the body-buzz i feel from the surge of carbs and it definitely helps the intensity of my workouts. realllly appreciate all the feedback guys. STOKED to hit the gym @6 tonight.