T Nation

Whole Foods!

With so much time spent on post workout drinks,I was wondering what some good options were for whole foods during this critical time? I understand that liquid form is ideally the “best” way to go, but I sometimes find myslef wanting some whole food right after, and dont care to wait, so does anyone have any suggestions as to some whole meals that would be good to take in? Also, is there any literature staing the differnce between whole foods and liquid foods replacement of muscle glycogen, and improvement of nitrogen balance, which can decifer how much one is better than the other?

I eat a medium baked potato with 1 1/2 cups of cottage cheese over the top of it. Approx 45g pro, 40g carbs, and 4g fat.

Thanks bud that is a good recipe, but I am looking for a little more rhyme and reason. particularly why certain whole foods are good to have immediately post workout, and the potential (if any) benefits of using them as opposed to liquid nutrition. Just to throw out what I have been doing. On certain days I will do training in a fasted state, after this my body is screaming, and I only want to eat foods (obvious psychological reasons) I have been opting to eat my oats an apple, along with some honey, then I throw down my GROW. On these days I eat my meals about two hours apart, and I try to consume extra carbs in the earlier meals. Does this look like a good plan?

Drink surge and eat a solid meal 45 minutes later if you can’t stand the wait. Liquid calories/carbs/protein are preferred b/c the absorption and utlization of these nutrients is far better and faster than solids. Your solid meal should be a P+C meal as you may well know and could be whatever you like, preferably keep it low GI healthy foods though. Does that help?

Whole Foods…a damn good grocery store! Oh, that’s not the actual topic. Let me see if I can shed some light on the subject, Mista J-Dog.

As far as muscle glycogen replenishment, there is some data comparing liquid to solid meals. As far as protein synthesis after exercise, there is no research to date covering whole-food vs. liquid meals. This would require very, very controlled environments and would be rather difficult.

What we do know about protein synthesis is that small doses of essential amino acids (EAA) (i.e. 6g) is sufficient to maximally stimulate protein synthesis; likewise, a large dose of mixed amino acids (MAA) (i.e. ~30-40g) does nearly as good of a job in terms of protein synthesis.

However, protein synthesis is only half of the equation. Muscle nitrogen status is a function of both protein synthesis and protein breakdown. Therefore, to achieve the most positive muscle nitrogen status, protein breakdown must be suppressed as well. This stems from the insulinemic response from carbohydrate ingestion.

Okay, now that all that’s clear, I’ll talk about muscle glycogen resynthesis. It should be immediately pointed out that a combination of protein and carbohydrate allows for maximal glycogen resynthesis in the hours after training. This is likely due to the enhanced insulin response with the two macros combined. Dr. Ivy’s lab showed that Endurox (i.e. 4 to 1 ratio of carbs to protein) led to greatest glycogen replenishment and performance.

Sucrose and glucose and glucose polymers (i.e. maltodextrins) apparently all do an equally good job of replenishing muscle glycogen stores. However, while these liquid carbohydrates result in 5-6% resynthesis per hour (and up to 7-8% when combined with protein after training), fructose only results in about 3% resynthesis.

There is much less information using whole foods, though. Some research shows that muscle glycogen resynthesis is 48% higher when using high GI foods as opposed to low or moderate GI foods over the course of 24 hours. This mattered not if the foods were liquid or solid in form.

That’s really all the data that I can share at this time.

Therefore, if whole foods are the choice, I would suggest at least some liquid protein for more readily available aminos, and high GI carbs, preferably with a lower fiber content.

As always Timbo nailed it on the head! The best bet is to consume a liquid P+C beverage immediately post workout and then eat a P+C meal about an hour afterwords. Lately I have been eating some all bran cereal with a scoop of whey and a chicken breast with a slice of whole wheat bread. Or I might have some cottage cheese also.

As always, great info from Timbo.

The baked potato was a good suggestion, IMO. I have read that a baked potato is rapidly converted to glucose, which I believe is what you want, post-workout.

Try Tofo Ice Cream to get a massive insulin spike. It is like tops on the GI scale. Mix in some quality protein and it should be a great post workout meal. Toffuties are tofo ice cream sandwiches. I, like most people here, am not a great fan of soy but small amounts are fine.

To be more specific about the potato, a microwave “baked” potato is supposed to be “almost pure glucose”, whatever that means…

thanks gentlemen, as always the advice is apprectiated. I like that tofu ice cream, but I wonder about the fat contat, but hey if I am ever stuck I will keep it in mind. I really like the idea of adding hiney to my oats and an apple for post workout whole foods. But all the ideas are great, I will not stop taking my post workour drink, but for those days that I decide to go whole foods I will keep the info provided in mind, thanks again:)

I would just like to point out tofu is soy protein (like you all didn’t know that) and if the ol’ tofu ice cream becomes a regular thing then we’re talking about ingesting rather more oestrogen than we should be (like you all didn’t know that too). Bur hey, I gotta say white rice (like the quick cook microwave stuff) is a great high GI carb, throw 1 whole egg and 4-5 egg whites in and you’ve got egg fried rice (once you’ve fried it). It depends on the size of the eggs and the amount of rice but you should be looking at about 40 grams of rapidly digesting protein and about the same of rapidly digesting rice with 7 grams of good fats (hey, its under the magic 10 gram mark!).

Well, Johnny Boy put a little more emphasis on it than I would, but I’ll just say this:

Tofu is not a food that will make you look good nekid.

Thanks again fellas, yeah timbo I have to agree with you there, but it is good to know those things, say I needed the fix, just knowing that the tofu is high GI, is another reason for me to stay away, unless the situation calls for it:)

Machine said:
“…Liquid calories/carbs/protein are preferred b/c the absorption and utlization of these nutrients is far better and faster than solids…”
Sorry dude- can’t agree.


As Timbo says later:
“…There is much less information using whole foods, though. Some research shows that muscle glycogen resynthesis is 48% higher when using high GI foods as opposed to low or moderate GI foods over the course of 24 hours. This mattered not if the foods were liquid or solid in form…”

I’d like to decipher Timbo’s post a little more here (Timbo doesn’t mind, do you bro?:-)).


As he was implying, on the (albeit small) amount of data we have, there is little difference between rate of glycogen resynthesis with a solid or liquid meal- PROVIDED ( a BIG provided!) the carbohydrate source is the same in each.

As far as the protein source is concerned, although data is scarce, you would EXPECT a similar sort of scenario- i.e. simpler, broken down proteins (amino acids, polypeptides) whether in solid OR liquid form on consumption, would pass through the stomach and be available in the intestines at a similar rate. And yes, there is a favourable effect of both amino acids and simple carbs being readily available in the bloodstream on glycogen resynthesis (Insulin secretion).


The fact that solid and liquid meals appear to be equal as regards transport of nutrients into the blood may seem surprising on first glance- most people would indeed assume that a liquid meal would pass straight through the stomach for ready availability for absorption in the intestines. Whilst this may be to some extent true for water alone, other liquid meals containing nutrients behave somewhat differently, and are subject to the same gastric exposure ( acids and enzymes) as solids. After all, when the meal hits the stomach it’s already in a semi-liquid form from saliva and chewing.

But one thing I don’t think Timbo made clear enough, is that we are talking above about the SAME constitution of macronutrients in the liquid and solid meals.


So…The reason most of us CHOOSE the liquid meal post-workout is:


a) It does not leave us feeling bloated, and we are ready to eat again sooner


b) Liquid is the EASIEST way to get those broken down proteins and CHO’s that are most rapidly absorbed. Popping a whole load of amino’s and dextrose tabs is inconvenient, and I think you’d be missing out on the favourable effect on absorption seen with di- and polypeptides in the intestinal brush border.

Hold on though Janderstein, I’m not trying to blow you out of the water completely- One benefit your solid meal may have over liquid is the PHYSICAL distension of the stomach. This may lead to increased gastric emptying times of liquids present in the stomach simultaneously (containing the partly broken down sugars and aa’s), and subsequently faster absorption / glycogen replenishment.(1)

Tying in with this, if we WERE to decide on a solid post-workout meal, it would be advisable to take in some fluid WITH that solid food, to provide some extra support to the gastric fluids as a vehicle for nutrient transfer into the intestine for absorption to occur.(2)

Regarding the baked potato thing- hmmm, I’d be a little worried about the fibre component affecting absorption/digestion. But I guess if you skip the skin… (or use the microwave as suggested?). Unfortunately for me, the chewy skin is my favourite part!


To summarise, I would actually agree with Machine on his first statement- “…Drink surge and eat a solid meal 45 minutes later if you can’t stand the wait…”
This seems to give the best of both worlds. With plenty of fluid ingestion too, you’ll be feeding the guts and bloodstream with about as much nutrients as it can handle in so short a space of time.


So, Janderstein- have you thought about taking in 1/2 of your workout drink just before or during your workout, then popping the rest down pronto on finishing…- Stretch, shower, change, run home, and 45mins later it’s time to eat again- a delicious solid meal. MAGIC!


That’s my 10c for now. SRS

Refs: (1)Berry MK, et al. Am J Physiol Gastroint Liver Physiol 2003 Apr;284(4):G655-62. Effect of solid meal on gastric emptying of, and glycemic and cardiovascular responses to, liquid glucose in older subjects.


(2)Coggan AR, Swanson SC.Med Sci Sports Exerc 1992 Sep;24(9 Suppl):S331-5
Nutritional manipulations before and during endurance exercise: effects on performance.

WOW srs, that was some quality info bud, thank you. As far as my normal routine goes, I try to be very efficient with my money and surge does not come into the picture there, however my own home brew is similar dextrose/whey isolate/glutamine mix. I slam this bad boy down immediately after my workouts, then jam home shower, stretch while in the shower, and after that I eat ( Chicken & yams) :). When I opt for whole foods, it is always the same thing, bowl of oatmeal, an apple, some honey, and my GROW. Since it was mentioned that a microwaves potato has a very high GI, I got to wondering, does microwaving certain carbs raise the GI? I love to microwave my yams, and would hate to find out that it was raising there GI, if any light coupld be shed on that I would greatly appreciate it.

Janderstein- Yes, I too am unsure on this point- I have not heard of the “microwave phenomenon”. Perhaps Lumpy (or others) could shed light on his comments?


I must also just add something directed to Machine after having re-read my first post.

When I dissed his statement:
“…Liquid calories/carbs/protein are preferred b/c the absorption and utlization of these nutrients is far better and faster than solids…”, I was probably being too picky.


In fact, he’s right in a way, in that if a meal lends itself to the “liquid” form, it is generally in a fairly broken down state as regards macronutrients. (aa’s, peptides, simple carbs vs larger particles). So, yes, these types of meals WILL indirectly be absorbed faster.


I guess we then need to get into the DEFINITION of liquid vs protein here. Most of our so-called “liquid” meals, are in fact just suspensions of solids. They are NOT dissolved. So, I suppose we could redefine the controversy here as one between:


a) Regular Solid meals.
b) Small-particle solid meals mixed with a liquid.


Anyway, I’m getting in out of my depth as far as my physical chemistry goes (hated it at school!), and most people will have switched off by this point! Any nuclear scientists in the house to develop this issue? :-)SRS

SRS, my man, it’s great to have you around. Once again, you’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty! Great job.

Well, it’s quite obvious that we can get whole-food CHO sources that provide the same physiological responses as liquid sources. Any refined carbohydrate will do the trick. As far as (white) potatoes, you should find a physiological response that is similar to glucose. You might want to check on that fiber content, SRS, 'cause it really is non-existent!

Now, when we talk about whole-food protein sources, I really don’t see an option that is similar to the CHO story. For this, I think you really need a liquid source. I imagine that milk would do the trick, but I still think that a pre-digested protein would be more efficient.

Your comments on the whys of liquid nutrition are spot-on for many. Most people are not up for the whole-food nutrients right away after a workout–myself excluded. In addition, the liquid nutrition–particulary these ingredients–are going to make you more hungry! Finally, the majority of the research has used liquid nutrition. Therefore, having this evidence makes it easier for companies to market liquid sources of pre/during/post-workout nutrition.

Timbo I feel you on the ease of slamming a drink right after a workout, I thonk it would be kind of hard for me to sit down in the gym and enjoy a quick bowl of oamteal, honey, and some GROW. The shake I am using is working out quite fine, although I am using pure dextrose sugar and have seen that most who “home brew” use maltodextrin. Timbo do you know anything about the possible GI elevation which may oocur when microwaving certain foods i.e. them lovely yams:)

Timbo- thanks for the confirmation on the fibre issue. Not sure why I thought this was a food with significant fibre content- must be the “skin thing”!


Janderstein- From the evidence I’ve been able to come up with, there’s not much research been done into the changes in CHO fractions with microwave vs conventional cooking. However, from the small amount of info I found, it appears that any differences between cooking methods are minimal. -i.e. “Cooking in general” increases CHO digestibility of plants/tubers by reducing the NON-starch CHO component.
Hope this helps. SRS