T Nation

pre-workout meal

This is a long post, so bear with me.

Increased levels of excitatory neurotransmitters will improve the neuromuscular efficiency of the muscle.

Catecholamines and Acetylcholine are essential for peak performance. There are others too.

  • Tyrosine is an aminoacid which converts to dopamine, epinephrine, norepinephrine (all catecholamines) in the brain. Rich sources are eggs, beef.

*Choline is an important part of acetylcholine. Increased levels of choline lead to higher acetylcholine production. Acetylcholine is critical for muscle contraction (snake poison from certain species can paralyze you by blocking the receptor sites, inhibiting Acetylcholine).
The richest sources are Beef Liver, Egg Yolks, Soy Lecithin (according to Cy Wilson, it does not affect Testosterone levels). Beef is another rich source, but only has roughly one fifth of the ammount found in egg yolks and one seventh of that found in beef liver.

NO CARBS and NO TRYPTOPHAN-RICH FOODS. Tryptophan converts to serotonin which calms you down and can inhibit maximal activation of the muscle. It is found in Turkey.
High carbs prior to a workout will lead higher serotonin levels as well, especially if coupled with tryptophan.

Veggies - these neutralize acidity in the body’s fluids. Body fluids make up 60% of an adult’s body weight. They should have neutral pH, blood being an exception at 7.4 pH. Acidity in the body can inhibit higher threshold motor units, which we want to tap into for maximal strength. Glutamine and calcium may have the same effect.

Green Tea - the caffeine will increase the firing rate of the motoneurones, as well as increase levels of epinephrine/norepinephrine. Theonine, an aminoacide abundant in green tea, lowers cortisol levels and increases alpha wave activity in the brain which translate into higher concentration levels. Theonine increase dopamine, precursor to epinephrine/norepinephrine, and lowers serotonin - which is why it relaxes you without making you groggy or sleepy the way kava kava does.

Vitamin C - improves hormone profile in your favor, helping reduce cortisol, increase testosterone.

Creatine (?) - not in the supplemental form, but through food. Herring is extremely rich in Creatine, having 6-10g/kg (roughly 5g/lb). Salmon has 4-5g/kg. Beef has 6.5g/kg. Chicken has 4g/kg. Who knows, it may not make much difference, but heck, with the benefits of having beef for added tyrosine/choline, it’s a nice side benefit at a minimum. Who said you need supplemental creatine?

B-vitamin complex throughout day - to help maintain nervous system and aid in the production of neurotransmitters (vitamin B5 is necessary to convert choline to acetylcholine, but you find it almost any food)

Another possible good choices are sardines and anchovies for DMAE, which converts to choline in the brain. It’s a far more effective source of choline than lecythin and choline bitartrate.

Adding to this apropriate cothing for the environmental conditions (temperature, humidity - in hot humid temperatures, more exposed skin and ventilation to the forehead - one of your body’s best radiators - is essential to prevent early fatigue of the CNS due to heat), psyching up (by tapping into your emotional drive and what makes you push yourself - certain tunes will usually help a lot with psyching up, along with visualization).

For post-workout, you would want to improve relaxation, and increase vasodilation to speed up recovery and the uptake of nutrients to the muscle.
NOW tryptophan seems like a good choice, to promote serotonin which does both. It also reduces the catecholamines, which constrict blood vessels. Tryptophan-rich foods might be a good choice for that postworkout meal, as you lie down in the couch half asleep.
Carb-rich foods will also increase serotonin levels, besides all the critical recovery function they aid in.

I’d like some input. I followed these guidelines prior to my leg workout, and what do you know, I squeezed 355 lb squats for 8 reps - the most weight I’ve handled yet. This is CONSIDERABLY more than my last session - 295 lbs for 8 reps. My pull-ups seemed much more effortless, and sense of fatigue wasnt as pronounced. Fatigue from set to set was reduced as well - instead of dropping from 12 to 7 to 6 to 6 reps, I went from 13 to 10 to 10 to 9. MUCH better.

Could it be just a good day? Yeah. But I honestly think there is something to it.

You went up 60 pounds for reps? That’s hard to belive just from eating differently.

I can relate to your findings also. I havebeen consuming much of the same preworkout, with the exception of turkey on occasion. It has seemed to work for me . I am not sure it helps as much as you have stated, but it is worth experimenting with.


Sounds interesting Diesel, so from this information what pre-workout meal did you come up with???, and i assume you must have had it 1.5 to 2 hours before you trained???

I thought the government banned L-Tryptophan years ago?


would love to get this for sleep and mood…anyone ever experimented with it?

If you have to take all of that into account to get a good workout in, you are a pussy. Sad, but true. It’s all in your head.

Biotest’s Power Drive contains, among others:

  1. tyrosine, which converts into catecholamines, essential for peak perfrmance.
  2. DMAE, which converts into choline in the brain, then to be used to make acetylcholine.

All I did was play with these ergogenic aids and find natural sources in food. Nothing pussy about being smart. Just ask TC.

I mixed 3-4 whole eggs, very rich in choline and tyrosine, with some beef, rich in tyrosine, creatine, and moderate in choline - all of which are recommended in Poliquin’s ‘Preparing for the ultimate workout’; some veggies to ensure a neutral pH to prevent high threshold motor units from being inhibitted - as per Berardi’s article - and drank a cup of green tea to further increase dopamine while reducing serotonin, 1 hour prior. That’s IT.

What good is strength potential if you can’t access it? If you consistently fail a few repetitions short because you have lower neurotransmitter levels, how effective really will that workout be?

As Poliquin has pointed out in his article on preparing for the ultimate workout, you don’t have to do all this, but if you stand to gain in strength and performance, would you rather half-ass your workout, or would you rather take the time to prepare yourself properly?

We’re chemical creatures, and we depend on the signals you brain sends through these chemicals. An extreme situation is paralysis from inhibition of Acetylcholine. A gentler example is depression and fatigue from low levels of Acetylcholine and Dopamine. Another gentle example is the sleepy feeling after thanksgiving meal, due to serotonin. Another example is the increased alertness and reduced fatigue from a cup of coffee - or from an ephedra product. Another example is how much better you feel with increased levels of Testosterone. It’s a fact you can alter these through diet - and you can get the necessary substances from a supplement like power drive, coffee, ZMA…or you can really spruce up your diet so as to get the same substances, and get comparable results.

Now, if nutrition gives you a real edge in shifting these neurotransmitters, essential for peak performance, in YOUR FAVOR, what do you stand to lose? A boring sub-par workout?

A curse and a fuck because you failed 1 repetition short of your goal?

Brains never killed anybody buddy.

There’s a difference between being smart and wasting your time. If you’re having bad workouts, then yes, you should figure out what’s going wrong. But if all this shit increased your squatting that much, then I really think you were just pussing out before, or allowing the placebo effect to help you out (if that’s the case, then great, I’m all for that).

Seriously, if this stuff helped you out that much, then you must have been on a starvation diet for weeks and pretty much untrained or in some other similar shitty condition before.

Also, taking your word that all of this stuff helped you out that much doesn’t rank very high on the “evidence” chart. If this is your crutch, then I’m glad you found it, seriously.

So you ate some eggs, beef, and veggies and drank some green tea before your workout? You’re a fucking genious.

Holy shit. That whole post to explain that he’s eating stuff that we all do. Thanks buddy. WTF were you eating before?

This defies description.

Ben makes a valid point-This seems like a pretty normal meal by most standards.

Actually, most veggies are still acidic on the pH scale, just not as acidic as other foods.

No carbs preworkout? You’re going against a lot of research, pal.

JB recommends P+F meals pre-work unless it’s first thing in the morning.

holey crap, you guys need to chill.

have you tried what he’s recommending?

who cares if it goes against research? there are many coaches that wouldn’t recommend carbs before a workout due to what diesel mentioned. not to mention you don’t need carbs before a workout. it may create an anabolic environment, but what does it do for strength?

i also know poliquin says that work capacity can be limited by diet. eggs, beef, liver, and veggies are all excellent foods that could possibly make up for nutritional defficiencies.

i swear, people in this forum are getting too negative.

morg, you’re an idiot. He’s saying that eating eggs, beef, veggies and green tea before a workout will result in a huge jump in performance. I’m glad it’s his super pill, but that’s just mind-numbing in nature.

he’s just saying what worked for him. again, have you tried it? if not, please refrain from calling it stupid.

seriously, what’s with all the name calling? are you constipated or something?

diesel, what did you used to have before workouts?

morg, you post dumb pictures calling people retarded and gay. Heed your own “advice”.

As far as Diesel’s pre-workout concoction, it’s a load of crap. It’s fucking food!! Eat something before you workout. Wow. There’s no way that his preWO meal actually made the entire 60 lb jump on his squat. No fucking way.

morg, if you honestly think that eating eggs, beef, and unspecified veggies and drinking green tea is the Super Special Combination that will result in a 20% improvement in peformance (as purported), then please remove yourself from the gene pool.

I’m not saying this is a bad idea, but there are about a billion ways to solve the pre-workout puzzle, so the revelation here isn’t that amazing.

(morg, I’m actually surprised to see you posting in this forum, since they don’t allow pictures here.)

ok, I found something in diesel’s first post. He said you want to restrict blood vessels using tryptophan. That is retarded. Nutrients will be shuttled to muscles quicker with open blood vessels.