Pre, Intra, and Post Nutrition: Why It Matters

The Importance of Pre-Workout Nutrition

  1. Sustains energy
  2. Boosts performance
  3. Provides the body with circulating amino acids
  4. Preserves muscle glycogen, minimizing muscle damage and breakdown
  5. Stimulates the release of insulin (anabolic hormone)
  6. Aids in recovery

What to eat and when to eat it?

The main components of a pre-workout meal should be protein and carbohydrates. While healthy fats have their time and place, they digest slowly and will not give the quick energy we need during workout. Protein will provide the body with necessary amino acids to prevent muscle catabolism and ultimately aid in muscle growth and recovery. Carbohydrates will keep the body energized during workout. The time of the preworkout meal, will dictate the type of carbohydrate needed (quick digesting vs. slow digesting). A pre workout meal consisting of quick-digesting or simple carbohydrates is recommended if the meal is eaten within 30-60 minutes before the workout because they can be broken down quickly for immediate energy.  A pre workout meal consisting of complex carbohydrates is recommended if the meal is consumed 2-3 hours before workout because they will provide the body with a slow-releasing source of energy.

 

The Importance of Intra-Workout nutrition

  1. Protein synthesis is maximized via training. Training also induces protein degradation. therefore without proper nutrition, the body will actually begin to break down the muscle instead of taking advantage of the elevated rate of protein synthesis. A.K.A.- No gains 🙁
  2. Increased insulin response = activation of mTOR
    1. mTor is a cell signaling pathway that is directly related to muscle growth and protein synthesis
    2. mTor is activated by:
      1. Mechanical Stress (weight training)
      2. Growth factors (growth hormone, insulin, etc)
      3. Amino acids
    3. Therefore, supplementing the body with a simple carbohydrate, protein source, or BCAA mix will help activate mTOR
  3. Spare protein
    1. Insulin slows protein degradation and muscle catabolism
    2. Keep protein synthesis going during workout

Muscles need amino acids, which is why the body breaks down any available protein when lifting or participating in strenuous exercise. Consuming nutrients during a workout helps spare muscle glycogen and decrease muscle catabolism by providing a steady source of both glycogen and amino acids. Sipping on a shake or intra-workout drink will be anti-catabolic.

Additional benefits of intra-workout nutrition:

  • Maintain steady blood-glucose levels
  • High insulin levels (anabolic hormone)
  • Low glucagon, epinephrine, and cortisol levels (catabolic hormones)
  • Fat oxidation
  • Decreased protein and muscle breakdown
  • Faster, more efficient recovery
  • Minimized inflammation
  • Maximized muscle growth

What to eat and when to eat it?

Pair a protein and a carb source that will be sipped during the workout

Protein: 20-30g of protein isolate

Carb: 30-50g high glycemic carbs

 

The Importance of Post Workout Nutrition:

  1. Recovery, Repair and Rebuild
  2. Replenish lost glycogen (stored energy) stores
  3. Increase muscle protein synthesis; Reduce muscle protein breakdown

What to eat and when to eat it?

A post-workout meal should be consumed immediately after workout for maximal recovery and results. The longer one waits to consume a meal, the less effective it will be. A quality post-workout meal should be comprised of adequate protein and carbohydrates The protein supplies the body with the amino acids necessary to repair and rebuild muscle. Amino acids are the building blocks of muscle and are needed in order to grow. Post-workout carbohydrates will promote insulin release, increase glycogen stores, and increase protein repair. The amounts of protein and carbohydrates consumed varies from person to person. It is dependent on many variables such as weight, lean body mass, training intensity, specific goals, etc.