T Nation

Pre-workout Meal Q to Mr. Berardi

A question about pre-workout meal. Is right to eat a meal 3-4 before training and throw some Power Drive and/or glutamine just befere training? If I am right the purpose is to raise adrenalin and noradrenalin levels, which will raise insulin without meal -> increase your strength levels.

The pre-meal carbs will weaken the adrenalin and noradrenalin excration and also GH. This will cause lowered fat-burning ability and -> my body takes longer time to recover and a “waste” of muscle glycogen. So I dont need any carbs 1-2 before and during the strentgh training session. I see people drinking huge amounts carbs drinks during the session. The Gym routine takes only 75mins MAX after that a post-wout shake. Please correct if I am totally wrong? Thanks Mikey

Im not sure I completely understand your question. If you specify your goals (gain mass or lose fat - and dont say both as it is nearly impossible to do so without some type of pharmacological treatment) I can better help. I always eat within 1 hr of training. When trying to gain mass I drink carbs during and when losing fat, I dont do this. Specify your goals, tell me your size and %fat, and tell me what the rest of your diet looks like and I will gladly help.

Another thing to consider is that the workout, in and of itself, will lower insulin levels and blunt the response to carbohydrate ingestion. If you ingest something very close to the start of the workout, you will negate the insulin response. The fat metabolism during strength workout will be minimally affected by substrate ingestion. As long as you are not glycogen depleted during a strength training session, energy will be derived primarily from muscle glycogen. Ingestion of carbohydrate immediately before or during the workout will prevent hypoglycemia and associated, increased perceived exertion. The presence of euglycemia (normal blood glucose) will also attenuate the catabolic events (breakdown of proteins) initiated to fuel endogenous glucose production, in order to maintain blood glucose.

I am on a mass-phase now.My stats are age 22 height 5’9" weight is 184lbs with 12bf. I eat 6x a day and use Zone-diet and 3300cals.( I am an endomorphic).

On training days I eat 1-1½ before a training solid meal or a shake.
Typically it is 40g protein 50g carbs and 1 tbl olive oil. I drink post-wout shake immediately after training which consists of 150g carbs ( 50g maltodextine 50g vitargo and 50g Dextrose and 5-10g creatine) and 15 mins after that I drink 40-60g whey protein and afer that 10g glutamine under my tongue. Looks like a complicated.

Will the plain glutamine, powerdrive or MD6 raise my adrenalin and noradrenalin levels? If so, will these raise my insulin without a meal too? If I eat the pre-meal 1-2h before training the carbs will weaken the adrenalin and noradrenalin excration and also decreases my GH.This will cause lowered fat-burning ability, that's why my body takes longer time to recover, and I am only wasting my muscle glycogen. No matter am I on mass-phase or fat-loss-phase

so would it be wiser to eat 3-4 h before training?


If you do not get enough carbohydrates in within 2 hours of your workout you will not get a great pump in the gym. In essence you will most likely feel flat. If fat loss is your goal you may want to watch the carbs until after the workout but if your looking to add size “bon appetite”.

Again, the fat burning effect during a strength workout will be affected minimally by substrate ingestion. No matter what you eat, muscle glycogen is going to be the primary fuel source. The insulin response will have an adverse effect on blood glucose levels during the workout which can be counter productive. Move the meal to 2-3 hours pre-workout and then have something light within 30 minutes of the workout. The problem with eating 90 minutes before the session is that the insulin peak occurs at 90 minutes. Now, the fact that you are ingesting fat with the carbs, this will be attenuated to a certain extent, but to avoid the problem, eat sooner so the peak occurs before the workout. The carbs that are ingested within 30 min (preferably 15) pre-workout, will not elicit an insulin response, because the insulin levels will be reduced by the workout within minutes regardless.

Try not to get too bogged down by what I call nutritional micro-management. Too often we worry about trying to increase or certain hormones and dont really realize that the % change would be so small that it wont really matter at all toward our progress. And sometimes it is even counterproductive in other avenues. Like TC pointed out, fasting will increase GH. But who cares?!? If you fast you will lose muscle anyway.

With that said, I agree with Steve that substrate manipulations will affect wt training hormones minimally. Endurance training is another issue altogether.

In response to your questions: "Will the plain glutamine, powerdrive or MD6 raise my adrenalin and noradrenalin levels?" Yes MD6 and PowerDrive may increase stimulatory hormones like epi and norepi. So would the ECA stack. This would help with strenght and power as well as facilitating the release of stored fats.

"If so, will these raise my insulin without a meal too?" No they won't. These hormones act to increase blood glucose as well as glycogen use in the cell. Insulin has the opposite effects. So DURING training you dont want or need increased insulin. In fact if you inject insulin during a workout you could go hypoglycemic and die. And again, as Steve pointed out, exercise blunts insulin release as the activity of it's counter-regulatory hormone, glucagon, predominate. You dont want your cells greedily sucking up blood glucose indiscriminantly during a workout. His point is that you dont to eat a big meal and release all that insulin before training and walk into your workout with low blood glucose. That would surely lead to a crappy workout.

You are using muscle glycogen during wt training anyway. Remember that there is minimal fat burning during weight training no matter how you manipulate the hormones. So there is no "wasting glycogen" as you imply. And this has no impact on recovery.

In terms of practical suggestions, forget the epi and norepi thing. You'll get those increases anyway. Forget the insulin manipulation as long as you dont walk into the gym with low blood glucose you are ok. What you should do is eat 3-4 hrs before a workout. Take your MD6 or Powerdrive about 45 minutes before. Then have a snack (protein shake or bar) about 15 minutes before. Train your butt off and you could even sip on a carb drink during (as steve said to stabilize blood glucose and to prevent protein breakdown). Then do the same postworkout meal you are doing now. After you leave the gym is the time to worry about jacking up insulin (which you are probably doing well with the 150g of carbs).

Hope this helps.

Any suggestions to those of us that work out in the morning?? I am typically up at 5:30 AM, drink some water, power drive, and ECA stack (MD6 just doesn’t get me going, I save that for later in the day). I am at the gym by 6:15 doing a short cardio warmup. It’s pretty much impossible for me to eat 3 hours before I work out, and I’m afraid even drinking a protein shake would negate the effects of the power drive and ECA stack (I prefer to take these on an empty stomach). Any suggestions?? Would sipping a carb drink during the warmup and workout serve any benefit? Should it be just carbs, or a combo of protein and carbs?

Mark, You could eat something light (like a balance bar and a shake or something) at 5:30, drink your powerdrive at 6:00 and then be training by 6:15 or 6:30. While training a carb drink would be ok. Assuming that you are on a mass phase. Protein during a workout isnt the greatest idea.

Thanks for replies gentlemen.

I have also thought to add 10g fructose(honey)to my post-wout meal.
Is it so that fructose will fill up my muscle glycogen faster than dextrose(glucose)?.