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The Optimum Pre-workout Nutrition?


Lately I've read that Pre-workout nutrition is increadibly important. I, not knowing a huge amount about nutrition, have formulated some questions on this topic that I'd like to ask T-Nation community.

1.) Without Purchasing Biotest supplements, what would be an optimal Pre-workout meal?

2.) How close in proximity should this meal be eaten to the workout?

3.) How should we use a Pre-workout meal to harness the effects of insulin.

4.) While we're at it, I wouldn't mind the answers to 1, 2 ,& 3 in respect to post workout nutrition as well.

James Keeton


Carbs, that's why Surge has dextrose in it. It's the most quickly absorbed fuel for your muscles.


Depends on your goals, dick. Err, James Keaton.


Well, pre-workout nutrition is very important. Low GI carbs plus some protein will do you good, generally... oats+protein+almonds or something (beef salad w/ some black beans is also good). Eating that 2 hours or so before lifting is a good start, you'll have to see what works for you.

In my case, I'm watching my overall carb intake and trying to limit it to 100g a day or so since I get love handles easily. So instead of oatmeal pre-workout, I'll eat a regular protein+veggies+fat meal 2-3 hrs prior. I'll have my carbs peri-workout and post-workout. i.e. I'll eat a Finibar pre-workout, that is 40g of carbs or so there, enough to fuel me (I don't need more than that for my workouts, I do Olympic lifting mostly so there are many workouts with not much time under tension, which is important for carb intake). Post-workout, I'll have 50-60g of carbs (plus protein) about 60-90 mins later. I usually stick to basmatti rice, Ezekiel bread, oatmeal, or white/sweet potatoes.

For your question 3, you want to spike insulin just prior and during your workout, which is where a shake should come in because if you eat a meal to spike insulin around workout time... well, who wants to lift on a full stomach of food? Your pre-workout meal shouldn't spike insulin too soon.


Thank you for creating this thread. There have never been any threads created or articles written by this that answer your questions.

Oh wait....there's this white, rectangular box in the top right corner of my screen that says otherwise.....


While you're at, why not read all the articles on the Anaconda protocol considering it goes into detail on all of these questions. You may not be able/want to purchase Biotest products but the information was put out there for free.


This is the best book I have ever found on the subject. Everyone should have a copy IMO. Read this book, it should answer your questions and be a great reference moving forward.


I apologize if I came off like a "dick." I figured these were legitimate questions. I also feel like the easiest way to format a question is with bullets or numbers, so I guess that yields a blunt, pompous air.

However, If you feel like it's not a quality question, not a properly worded question, a question you see all the time, or just simply not worth your time; feel free to not comment in the thread and click away. I know I know. Crazy concept.

Also, I don't hate Biotest. I'd just like to know how to do without.

Thanks for answering my question.


This is the best book I have ever read on the subject. It will answer your questions and provide a reference moving forward.


The best book I have ever read on the subject is:

Nutrient Timing:The Future Of Sports Nutrition
by John Ivy & Robert Portman

It will answer your questions and be a great reference moving forward.


I'm gonna buck the trend and say no pre w.o. nutrition may be more beneficial when total cals and macro breakdown is spot on. Point being when you eat you tend to get lackadaisical. I feel my concentration and endurance are better when I go into training without consuming anything before.

I'm not talking about going into training malnourished or after a day of below maintenance cals. Besides the lean gains crowd, others here on this very site feel the same way. Sorry supp companies : (

Post w.o. is another story entirely.


Just to clarify, did you mean pre-workout MEALS/FOOD or pre-workout supplements?


I meant Meals/Food.

And/or the basic principles. (ie Which macro-nutrients when and how they will effect insulin secretion)

It would be cool to have some examples. Like what ya'll do personally for pre/post workout nutrition.


I'll either have some blended protein two hours before my workout or some human protein an hour before. Some days I don't have anything about 4 hours prior to my workouts, and days I train in the morning I go in on an empty stomach.

I have great workouts either way, and except for a fluke here or there, either go up in weight lifted or amount of reps.


I'm the same way. I used to have a borderline NEED to eat a moderate-large meal before training, but I really do think that had more to do with increased fluid retention and improved leverages from the resulting bloat. Shelby Starnes talks about "fat strong" and how letting go of that is a very hard thing for people to do when dieting down. At the time when I was pounding down burritos and dollar menu pre training, I was pushing up into the realm of 220 lbs (I'm 5'6" with small bones, so it's a fairly large amount of bodyweight for my frame, personally). Now at ~195 I am almost lackadaisical about the schedule on which I eat. I usually have my first meal around 1-2 pm, train around 4-5, and then eat until bed time. On days where my schedule dictates that I train later, I usually don't eat a second meal until after I train, and it really doesn't bother me at all. My preferred pre-workout meal is about 200mg of caffeine, and thats it!

As to the OP (sorry for the hijack), a good starting place without supplements would be having a moderate meal consisting of starchy carbs (with some fiber, preferably) and a lean protein source roughly 60-90 minutes before lifting. This could be a turkey sandwich and an apple, 3/4 c oats and a protein shake or cottage cheese, etc.


No problem at all. I find the topic interesting.

Thanks for the example!


I like eating sweets (simple carbs) before i lift. So, some days i'll have fig bars and milk. Some days i'll have some chocolate milk. Hell, i might even drink a quart of Sunny Delight lol.

This being said, I limit my carbs to 2 hours before, and right before training (sometimes during if im in a hurry)...oh and my post workout meal. So i have room to play with different things.


I will throw in my .02. I generally prefer my cardio fasted, but for lifting I like to eat a large meal about an hour before (usually my first large meal of the day if possible).


How would people rate a banana on 2 slices of wholemeal toast topped with 3-400g cottage cheese about an hour or so before/after training?


C'mon man...do you really care? Does it work for you? If so, then terrific. If not, then change it.