Nutrient timing of your protein/carbohydrate meals/shakes is a matter of preference. Some people like to train fasted, whereas others like training with a full stomach. Still, consuming a balanced ratio of protein/carbohydrates pre- or post-exercise is probably beneficial to enhance muscular adaptations to resistance exercise.
FOOD IS FUEL: PRE WORKOUT CALORIES SUMMARY
- Food fuels performance, but supplements do not replace a well-balanced diet for muscle gain.
- Pre nutrition protein/carbohydrates resulted in similar gains in muscle mass as post-workout nutrition.
- Sports drinks with carbs and protein can be equally effective for gaining muscle before intense workouts or after physical activity.
- Food for energy is essential for exercise session recovery. Not eating enough after a workout can affect glycogen replenishment
Food for fuel nutrition for performance is divided into pre-exercise nutrition and post-exercise nutrition. Post-workout meals are important after strength training for the repair of muscle, muscle glycogen replenishment, and building muscle. Most trainers recommend a protein/and carbohydrate drink immediately after weight training to elicit anabolic responses in the recovery phase. The recovery phase increases protein synthesis and replenishes glycogen storage post-exercise (i.e., glycogen replenishment is especially important within the 2-hour workout window).
Many lifters will crave carbs after a workout. Consuming a fast-acting carbohydrate post-exercise can increase insulin and spike amino acids post-exercise. Traditionally, rice or potatoes have been advocated, but many lifters ask is cereal good to eat after a workout. Cereal with some whey protein can be just as effective as a sports drink for recuperating after exercise.
Most bodybuilders focus on post-workout nutrition, but pre-workout nutrition is important for energy levels, especially if you train on an empty stomach. What if you consumed the same amount of protein and carbohydrates as a pre-workout supplement rather than after your workout routine? Are gains in muscle mass different from pre and post-exercise nutrition? Researchers set out to determine if pre- or post-exercise nutrient timing enhanced muscle mass gains and fat loss in resistance-trained women.
43 resistance females, aged between 18 and 30, had at least 6 months of resistance training experience. The females were divided into three groups:
- Group 1 took a protein/carbohydrate drink pre-workout
- Group 2 took a protein/carbohydrate drink post-workout
- Group 3 was a control group (no protein/carbohydrate beverage)
The nutrient cocktail contained 16 grams of carbohydrates, 25 grams of protein, and 3.5 grams of fats. The subjects maintained their normal diet throughout the study. The resistance exercise protocol was performed twice per week for six weeks. Body composition (i.e., lean mass, body fat) was assessed at baseline and after six weeks.
FOOD IS FUEL FOR PERFORMANCE
At the end of the six weeks, both the groups receiving the PRE AND POST workout drink resulted in a greater gain in muscle and more strength than the control group. The PRE and POST workout combined gains in lean mass were about 1.76 pounds or .8 kgs compared to .33 pounds or .15 kgs for the control group.
The fat loss was similar among the group; however, the PRE and POST protein/carbohydrate groups tended to lose more body fat than the control group. Fat loss was -1.06% for PRE, -.7% for POST, and .44% for the no-supplement group. Bench Press strength increased by +12 pounds for the PRE and +10.5 pounds for the POST group, whereas the control group gained +5.5 pounds on the bench press.