T Nation

The Pre-Workout Nutrition Debate


I have read all the threads from CT regarding the nutrition protocols and it all seems to make great sense. However, for many of us, finances can be an issue and we can't spend what some others may have the luxury of spending.

I am curious to see what others are doing. People that are familiar with the science behind the protocols but have to try to accomplish them by different means. By different means I mean solid food and whey. Is there something or a combination of things that you are taking pre and during your workouts that you have had good success with. What are you using to spike the insulin levels towards the middle to back half of your workout and how much protein are you ingesting at that time.

I don't care about what supplements you are taking i.e. SuperPump250, NO-Explode, etc., unless its something like waxy maize or bcaas.

Trying to find what people have found to be the best combination's and timing as they try to replicate the protocols.



So pretty straight forward feed before, feed after. Have you tried any of the protocols or any other strategy?


I've been doing the recommended current protocol: however I was thinking...

-60W: Shake consisting of blended oats, whey isolate.
-30W: powder form gatorade + creatine + 5g leucine.
-30W: Above totaling to 80g carbs, 50/50 sugar vs. oats, 50g whey.
-15W: 50g whey isolate
0W: 25g whey isolate + fructose or maltodextrin sipped throughout workout
+15W: 50g whey isolate + 5g leucine + creatine
+90W: solid meal

Any critiquers have at it...I just threw this together with what I would do on a seconds notice of not having the recommended supplements.


Honestly, its greatly individual, and what works for CT or whoever else, may not work for you. Some people find that pre-workout carbs make them lethargic and tired. Some people swear by stimulants, BCAAs or whey.

However, no matter what protocol's I've tried in the past (just about anything you can think of), one "pre-workout" never seems to fail- a solid meal of hearty food containing carbs, protein, and a little fat 1-2 hours before I work out. This is followed by a "peri- workout" mix that is sipped about halfway through my workout and downed by the end.

No pre-workout routine is gonna make up for lack of consistency in the gym and/or calories taken in on a daily basis. My best advice to you is to experiment with a carbs and no carbs pre-workout, and gauge your intensity and progress in the gym. From there, you can get an idea of how your body responds to carbs, and you can tweak your workout nutrition from there.

Lastly, I think its important for everyone to avoid WEIGHT training on a completely empty stomach regardless of goals.


10mins before Workout; 10-15g Maltodextrin/Dextrose, 2g Creatine Mono, 2g Beta Alanine, 1 20g Scoop Whey

Halfway Through workout until the end I sip on 40g Maltodextrin/Dextrose, 2g L-Leucine, 2g Beta Alanine, 1 Scoop Whey

40mins PW - Solid Meal Carbs + Protein

1hr30mins - Solid Meal Protein & Veg

That's what i've been using, being from UK its difficult to get hold of CT's recommendations so i went with Dr Berardi's guidlines for carb/protein PWO really.


I have noticed my performance has increased following a similar plan with the ingestion of P, Carbs and BCAA for before, during and after. What I am having to do as an aid in recovery is take DMAE and L-Tyrosine to help me prepare and recover for my next workout.

My kids summer camps and clothes and school projects take my money so all I have left is the Pro-complex Protein (60P, 14BCAA, 10Glutamine) and Fast acting Carbs plus vitamins.

If O.K. with OP, I would like to ask people to thrown in if they train in the morning and how their protocol is different from an afternoon training session with time to ingest plenty of solid food. I am not saying at 9am. I mean between hours of 0400-0700 hours before work. I think it would be hard to ingest solid food.

I know it is for me, but the gym is not crowded with the Azz clowns and on a few minor occassions, I have had to take a small container of Protein and carbs in order to make through the training session.


No Problem, good idea...

I have done nothing special but I am sure that I can do better and probably see decent results from doing so. In the way of supplements I use VERY FEW. I always workout during my lunch hour M-F and have 2 large solid meals in me by then. I eat my 2nd meal which is generally 8oz chicken breast, 1-1.5 cups brown rice and then some green veggies or fruit at 10:30 am. I usually finish that around 10:50 (eat while working :>0) and I am in the gym at noon. About 25-30 mins into the workout I have a banana and start my whey shake. PWO shake around 30 min after and then solid meal like chicken, brown rice, sweetpotato about 90 min after. I welcome any critiques to shed light on something I may be doing wrong and am not aware of.



Have recently been trying the protocol by CT. It has worked well for me, but it is really expensive. I have been able to pay for it now since my job has paid for it, but it will not be as easy to afford during the year seeing as I am a student. I am trying out Vitargo + BCAA's (Xtend) and will report how that goes compared to the protocol.


When you say "Job has paid for it" do you mean that because you are working you can afford it, OR, they are actually paying for it for you!


First, let me say that I think the full-blown protocols are just too damn complex and expensive ( I already spend quite a bit on supplements), though I do follow their logic. So, I use a somewhat modified version. I have the ability right now to train whenever I want--within reason--as I'm a returning adult student (finishing minors in Exercise Science and Kinesiology in preparation for entering a M.S. in Applied Sport Sciences graduate program), and I'm self empolyed:

dieting at present*

1) breakfast, using amino pulsing(HC+leucine), 15min. later protein shake+oatmeal and berries
2) pre-workout (~ 3 hours before): tuna on whole wheat thin rounds bread or sprouted bread, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. Whey to round out protein needs (I don't like a large pre-workout meal).
3) 20 min. pre-workout 1 scoop Surge recovery + 5g. leucine (I walk to the gym: about 20 min.)
4) start of workout 25g. hydrolyzed casein: will use "PeptoPro" in future and drop dasage in half due to superior level of hydrolysis
5) 1 scoop of Surge recovery mixed in 24-32 oz. of water and sipped on during first half of workout.
6) immediately post workout: 2 caps Curcumin 500, 2 caps Rhodiola
7) post workout+1 hour: 25g. hydrolyzed casein, 5g. leucine, 50g. "Pure Karbolyn" (A Vitargo like engineered carb), 5g. creatine, 1g. beta alanine.

The 1 hour between the end of my workout and the post workout shake allows for amino acid (and particularly leucine) levels to decline, thus allowing for another spike. By the way, David Barr spoke about this idea of waiting 1 hour post workout before consuming your shake a couple of years back. He related research which showed that waiting increased protein synthesis rates over consuming a protein shake immediately post workout.

What's interesting is that I'm returning after about a 4 month layoff and I've noticed that both my strength and muscle mass have returned faster than after layoffs in the past. I also experienced much less soreness after returning to training this time.



Haha, no! I can afford it myself. I wish someone paid for it for me! It gets really expensive. I work during the summer as a swim instructor and lifeguard. Biotest Supps don't fall under one of the benefits for my job.


Cool. I will have to check that out.