T Nation

PRE-Workout Nutrition


All I remember reading about this is that consuming protein pre-workout can be up to twice as good as far as protein synthesis as imediatley post-workout, and 1 hour post-workout is about 50% better than imediatley PWO, which would make pre-workout protein consumption even better than 1 hour post (again, as far as protein synthesis is concerned).

My question is, what about the carbs?

What kind, and how much?

I'm more carb sensitive than most, but still want to take advantage of them as best I can..


Not going to claim I know everything, but if you get something that's as quickly absorbing as Surge... and drink that through your last few sets, wouldn't that be better than pre-workout?

As a hockey player, I find that small consumption of carbs works well beforehand, as long as you're "loaded" from your last meal the night before or breakfast. I also like to consume small amounts of carbs during my games (but not my workouts) usually in bits of powerbars. I can't give you anything scientific though.


Quite a bit of scope, but I used to eat, 2 boiled eggs, a cup of yoghurt and two or three cox apples, the apples like cox and braeburn are a favourable glycaemic index and contain fibre. The Eggs are decent BV and contain fats and the Casein in the Yog works works quitre slowly. Read guys eating buckets of rice before, I think too many carbs will make you 'un-alert' and bloat you. If you have had a meal before the one I mention above with decent amounts of carbs you should be ok.

For first in the morning workouts its a little harder.


Thanks for the responses.

I just started reducing my calories and have cut out just about all grains from my diet and replaced them with veggies.

Before, my pre-workout drinks were protein only, as I thought that low GI carbs would make me feel lethargic, and high GI carbs would give me quick energy and make me 'fizzle' out before my workout is done.

Anyone else have any opinions?


I actually use Surge pre-workout... The insulin spike is awesome for blood flow and nutrient delivery during a workout which is part of the reason for the increased protien synthesis.

On Dave Barr's anabolic index he previewed, a preworout shake gets the nodd by one point over the post workout shake in regards to protien synthesis.

The big boys at the gym will tell you and show you through their habbits that what you eat all day is really what makes or breaks you as far as muscle growth and body comp. That said I notice a decrease in DOMs when I use Surge or like hydrosylate/(glucose maltodextrin) mix. I also have had positive results with the nutrient timing enabling me to gain some muscle while getting leaner over time.

I don't have the cash to use surge for all my shakes so my post workout is a whey blend (concentrate, isolate, and a little bit of hydrosylate) and a maltodextrin/dextrose mix.

So for me it's shake pre workout, shake post workout, and about 45 min to an hour after my workout I have a nice big 45-35-20 (protien,carbs,fat) style meal.

If you're using Surge or like product waiting approx 15 min or so postworkout to take your postworkout shake would be ideal. Insulin sensitivity actually continues to increase after you finish lifting (if you google it you can find a handy dandy little graph. Your insulin sensitivity peaks within the first hour postworkout, but stays elevated for hours). This works out fine if you are taking a preworkout shake as even though the hydrosylate assimlates into the blood stream quickly it's still around an hour and a half later(IOW you aren't horribly catabolic while you wait to take your shake).

Read the old Dave Barr articles the peri-workout/post workout.

It's good stuff.


Here is the article from Barr that I first read about pre-workout drinks being more effective.


I just couldn't find anything definitive about what that drink/meal should consist of.

I've read good arguments both for and against carbs pre-workout, but I think having high GI carbs does make the most sence.

I just get scared of my body storing fat before it realizes that I'm going to be working out. I understand that there's a delayed time before the body would choose to store the carbs as fat, but there may also be a delayed signal telling the body that it's working the muscles and to use the carbs for them instead of storing them.


Just drink the shake 10 minutes pre workout or so (just a bit before starting your warm up) and not much more. Exercise kinda blunts the whole fat storage thing. The shake enters the blood quickly, but not that quickly. Back in the days of prime time that was the way Barr would council.


how? your still giving your body what it needs after the fact.. . remember you have digestion times and all that nonsense.. . if its allready in your system circulating around when you start hitting the weights it makes more sense that itd end up where you want it. ..


pre-workout nutrition may give you more energy during the workout, allow you to create more stress by doing more sets, heavier weights etc.. and more stress means more results

post workout nutirtion may give you more stress during the workout because your body finds itself running out of energy and thinks "holy crap better supercompensate for next time" ... and maybe your body really soaks up those nutrients after the workout.

so two opposing theories. Which one works best? for you? specifically? who knows, maybe everyone is different. maybe there are racial trends. Who knows. try both and see what you prefer.

either way I think post workout nutrition is important. Also makes sense from evolutionary perspective, you'd hardly expect a hunter or carnivore to have a nice energy snack BEFORE going out for the kill. And you'd expect our physiology to be geared up to make use of the feeding after the kill. But then, we're kind of fighting against nature aren't we, trying to make our bodies bigger and stronger than they need / want to be. they want to be as lean and lazy as possible. if you doubt this, cut back on your training for 6 months and see how strong /big you are.


Theory is all well and good, but why not just go with GOOD science. I know it's hard to bypass the dogma that's so heavily accepted, but this is one of the rare instances where there is solid science regarding supplementation.

[sarcasm]Why do something that's supported by others experiences and research, when you can just rely on previously practiced dogma? [sarcasm]


Matticus already hit the nail on the head here. But if you'd like more definitive information NUTRIENT TIMING is a good read.


I just did a search on Google, and just wanted to be sure about what book you're talking about.

Is it the one by John Ivy and Robert Portman?


Great post.


Another great post. You guys are saving me some time here.


It's a good book for nubs, but a little dated. The Top Ten PWO Myths article brings the info into the 21st century.


Such smart guys!


Because the only good science that exists is WHAT GETS RESULTS FOR YOU PERSONALLY.

Anything else is just a theory of what ~might~ work for you, based on statistics, usually from ill-conceived, badly executed, extremely low population non-randomized non-blind studies. And then passed off as "good science".

Apart from that, if a perfect study shows 99% of people benefit more from doing X, but you are the 1% who benefit from doing Y, then you should try both X and Y and work out what works better for you. But you should try X first because the odds are in your favour.

Don't get me wrong I am not attacking the ideas of nutrient timing nor the tests. I am just trying to emphasise the most important point that you must see if it works for you and if it does, use it.

Also I personally find that the occassional workout without pre or post nutrition does wonders for shaking up the body. That is just me. And it does take longer to recover, I believe. Usually adds a day to recovery I think.

Also it probably depends on the workout you are going to do. If doing low reps and maximum effort, it is a big difference to say 20 rep breather squats that make you want to puke - do you want food in your belly at that time?