T Nation

What to Eat Around Training?


Hey guys,

When uni starts back up again I'll be training at a local MMA gym a couple times a week. I already plan to eat a decent P+C meal about 1.5 hours before training(tuna and couscous or chicken wraps something like that) and then a solid meal as soon as possible after training. At the moment my goal is to bulk up.

I have two questions:
1. For longer session (two classes strung together so about two hours) what could I have to stop any muscle breakdown? I was thinking a small whey shake between the two classes.

  1. The case I can't have a solid meal right after training, say where I have to drive home and I won't be eating for about 1.5 hours after training would a small whey+milk shake right after training be a good idea until I get something decent in me?

My background is in Krav Maga, and lessons are less intense and a lot more techniue based, closer to home and rarely last over 1.5 hours so I have never had to worry about this sort of stuff.

Any ideas would be appretiated! Thanks.


I wouldn't worry too much about losing musclemass during your 2 hour training session, but if you want to get some protein in I'd suggest you try BCAAs, should stay down better than whey shake. If you are bulking up why would you have a small whey shake after training? Just down a big whey shake with carbs and milk if thats what you please, bulking up and 1.5hrs before meal after 2 hrs of training your body should know where to put those calories.


The muscle wasting effects of a 2 hour workout are probably over stated.

Simply staying hydrated, eating well in general, and not getting hurt is likely all you need.

That being said, if you have your diet in order otherwise and are concerned:

BCAA's are great research/performance wise. The issue is they are very bitter/acitic. I would not be a huge fan of chugging them anytime I am too winded/worked up to drink something heavier. The mixes that taste good tend to be spendy for what you get.

I will say that the Old School Surge Recovery works awesome post workout, if you add some creatine and Powerdrive it winds up being the best recovery dring I have ever tried. Like takes you from feeling "too exhausted to move/vomit" to "actually pretty good" in about 20 minutes. If you are really fucked up, a half a Spike Tablet swallowed with it is magic. The issue is that your blood suger will crash 40 minutes after you drink it.

Surge Workout fuel works pretty well. It tastes decent and seems to be easy enough on my stomach that I can drink it pre or during workout without any issue. I would not say the same thing about just a whey type shake. It is fairly expensive, but the ingredient list is tailored to solve the problems you are concerned with. If I had to pick a supplement to prevent catabolism peri workout this would be it. I would not hesitate to use less than a full serving to keep costs down. You can make up the difference with cheaper protein at other times and not be too far behind.

I also like casein hydroisolate products, provided they taste decent, but have never used the ANACONDA product Biotest sells.

If you are going to order from Biotest, get some Flameout also. It is cost effective compared to most every other source when you do the math on EPA/DHA.


Robert A


i wouldnt recommend the mid way shake i tried doing this for a while during kickboxing, i have never had more trouble keeping my stomach during sparring however. to me tuna and couscous or chiken wraps seems a little light to eat before hand. an hour before any training i like to make sure i take in a full complete meal. the difference the extra carbs and calories make is ridiculous compared to when i myself would eat things like wraps.

that being said if times an issue try half a liter of greek yogurt with honey and olive oil with 2 protien scoops worth of oats mixed in.

if i have time i prefer 5 strips of bacon 4 eggs served on a bed of mashed avocado with 2 slices of super dark pumpernickel bread some hand squeezed grapefruit juice and a pot of green tea for some caffine. i consume this every day prior to training.

also candy or pop something immediat and fast, simple sugars post workout to replenish glycogen in the muscles i think this is one of the most important steps to recovery on a high workload and especially if your concerned about losing muscle

then personally i like to chase that with 1.5 liters of organic whole milk


Thanks for the replies guys,

Robert A:
Biotest supps are difficult and expensive to aquire down in here in Australia so I may have to make do with some other brands that are more readily available.

Westdale Warrior:
The reason for the small meals is because I'll be hitting up training straight after class. The only time for me to eat will be in the 5-10 minute toilet break mid-class so something small and portable is needed.

But it seems like Whey is out for during the workout, might save it for post with some dextrose, just to keep off the catabolism and help in recovery until I can get my hands on a nice solid meal. The only reason I suggested it for during was because I have been using Whey pre/during my weight workouts as suggested by Berardi, but like you guys have pointed it out, keeping it down during some heavy sparring/pad work or ground work might prove to be a challenge.


For a lot of folks (3 big meals a day, IF - Intermittent Fasting, and so on) the idea that 2 hours of training will lead to atrophy is a bit ridiculous. Even if you are a hulking giant that burns 5000 calories a day, you can afford to go a few hours without food.

Out of all the things I've tried, a few bananas is my favorite pre-training food. Intense cardio after a big meal or protein shake never ends well for me and no food leaves me light headed. Bananas are cheap, portable, easy to digest, and the potassium (supposedly) helps prevent muscle cramps.


you honestly cant go wrong with sipping on BCAAs during your class or midway through it


Im going to have to give a big +1 on a banana

im not much for supplements past
fish oil
joint supplement
and some PW protein usually in food.


Thanks for all the replies, I'm starting to get a better idea of what I should be doing.

While I have you all here I think I might as well shoot another question:

In a week I'll be attending a KravMaga course which will consist of ten, nine hour days.

I'll have a chance for lunch (which I'll just hit up the local resturants) but I also have two 5-10 minute breaks, one in the morning and one in the late afternoon.

Any ideas on what I should be eating in these?

I'm guessing BCAA's and some simple sugars during training?

I'm concerned with nutrition because when I got back from the last course I had lost a lot of strength and have made great gains since then and do not want to lose them.


I did not realize you were in Australia. Just as a point of refference:

The Surge recovery is essentially a very fast protein (I think they are using whey hydroisolate, but have managed to make it not taste like vomit since it is normally very bitter) and Glucose.

Surge Workout is again a fast protein and some different forms of carbohydrate.

I don't know what supp sources you have, and would not comment on products that are in direct competition with Biotest, since this is their board.

Whey and banana's pre and post workout are probably good to go. I am going to come right out and say a lot of "strength loss" is neural. Think of it as being "out of practice". It should come back after a few workouts, the first of which you may swear you are weak as a kitten. Same thing if you are out of practice sparring for a while. At first everything hurts, you are stiff, you might even be flinching away from punches or chokes make you panic. After a month you are back. Don't fret the month.

Now, and in the interest of comedy:

You Aussies can drink beer for breakfast (and Tooheys of all fucking things) and eat Vegimite like it doesn't taste and smell like original sin. There is no chance you are going to be unable to keep down some strawberry whey isolate and gatorade/sports drink powder made with extra water.


Robert A

EDTA/Nerd note: BCAA's are insulinogenic. You may find that they lead to blood sugar spikes. These may or may not be an issue with you.


try cows blood.if that dont work,go back to black coffee with chocolade filled croissaints :))


I think muscle wasting in general, is vastly over stated.

Certainly I think it's highly unlikely it happens at ALL in well fed individuals. Maybe if you were a IFBB pro who actually needs to stay on gear just to maintain that level of development heh.


even if you lose some muscle,its quite easy to rebuild it via muscle memory mechanism.




All the guys dismissing the muscle-wasting impact of long workouts (2+ hour sessions), I've got a question...

...or a concern with what you're saying.

Sure, an event wont be that much strain/breakdown, but if 5-6 days a week you're training 2-4 hours a day, would you still feel the same way?

I ask because I've really 're-embraced' carbs to keep my energy levels up training so much, but I don't have it

"down" yet, as I've ended up gaining too much weight (not fat... if only I were lanky enough to move up a weight-class).

I really need to figure out how to eat enough to feel energized through a multi-hour training session, without putting on weight. I think pretty clearly my body wants to be 10-15 pounds heavier than I try to walk around at.

Just to put those numbers out there, I try to stay under 190, usually right around 187, so I can pretty easily make my cut to 170 for a fight.


Please remember all the research done on eating before and during training is on muscle wasted non trainees who have just learned to pick up weights. Of course they're going to grow or maintain.
For hardened athletes with great diets anyway, the most riddiculous thing ever to be fed into the whole athletic scene is to eat like bodybuilders. Stick to your normal meals with only necessary sups to maintain and stay healthy.

Going into training on the hungry side in a slightly fasted yet homeostatic state is best. Going in over carbed is just as stupid as going in under carbed.
Training is for training. Learn to develop a little character and hardness by only drinking water during training. IN a fight, in and out of the ring you don't get the benefits of hydration electrolytes, bcaa's or carbs so why set yourself up for failure with a psychological and physiological dependancy?

Fuck me... gone are the days when guys would just get in there and train. We now have to pre plan a simple training session with one months worth of supplementation and diet programming just to make ourselves feel comfortable


SB, it sounds like you're doing a Phase instructor training, no? We call them Phase trainings here, anyway, y'all's system may have a different name.

During the 5-10 minute breaks I eat Shot Bloks and Payday candy bars & slam surge workout Fuel. Actually I bring a little cooler & stock it with several bottles of water, Surge WF, & Gatorade, plus one protein shake. I also eat loads of BCAA's. Here's the link for Shot Bloks & Paydays. I always bring extra Shot Bloks, because everyone wants some.

Bring more liquids than you think you'll need.

It helps to open the packaging on whatever you bring & set it out where you can access it extremely quickly. Very frequently our short breaks never materialize and lunch is 5 or 6 hours into your training day. Under those conditions you need to be able to sneak off and grab a bite or slug a drink as often as reasonably possible.

My partner at my last Phase made little peanut butter half sandwhiches & would gobble one of those. He rotated the PB sandwhiches with bananas.

Don't eat too much during the break or you'll puke.

Before the morning session I eat an egg with some potatoes.

Every night after training eat everything you can cram down your gob ingesting as much healthy fat as you can. You will lose weight anyway.

Taking ice baths at night will seriously help your overnight resilence.

Good luck, and on test day don't hesitate or leave anything on the mat.

That is waaaay more than you asked for, so I'll shut up now. GO SB!


Miss Parker,
Since you use Surge Workout Fuel, I would appreciate your opinion on its effectiveness during a training session. Thank you.


Well, I like it quite a bit, but only if I'm going to be training for a long time. I don't use it for any training session under a couple of hours unless it's going to be particularly grueling, because it's expensive & I don't feel like I need it for a normal 1-2 hour session.

My husband is a competitive mountain biker & loves SWF, but he also uses it for longer rides.

Another thing about it is that it seems to really shine when you're training in the heat. We had more than 69 consecutive days of over 100 degree heat last summer with no rain. Training outside is a whipping no matter what, but SWF helps more than other drinks seem to.

I forgot to mention earlier I also use PowerDrive & Alpha-GPC at Phase, for neural recovery & to help my brain not shut down when the training starts wearing on me.


Well, there are too possible options in your case.

1.) Learn to cut better. I can't help you here. I do not even know if it is a good option since dropping 20 pounds seems pretty good to me.

2.) Weigh less prior to the cut. Lets focus on this one since you wrote "gaining too much weight"

It is possible that you need to lose both fat and muscle in order to stay down a weight class. This may mean shifting/altering your weight room work.

You can certainly eat "less" of something. The issue is how is that going to work for your training. I am of the mind that it is ok to "suck" a bit in practice. I realize you want to never have an off day, but hard work is tiring and it is ok to be tired.

If you think adding more cabs are causing both your increased energy and your weight gain how realistic is it to cut back on them by half of what you "embraced". Short term goal of losing a few pounds from your walking around weight.

For this purpose lets set the parameters for energy loss at "I feel more tired deep into the training session, but I am still able to participate fully." Meaning, dragging by the end and feeling exhausted is fine. Having to dial back weightroom intensity is ok, may even help. Having to sit out times in training is not ok. Getting injured is not ok.

If you think cutting down carbs, especially not around workouts is degrading recovery can you swap them with other methods such as foam rolling, massage, stretching, etc.?

Does this sound workable?


Robert A