Step 6: Workout Nutrition

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Step 6 – Workout Nutrition


[op_liveeditor_element data-style=””][text_block style=”style_1.png” align=”left”]Quick Summary:

If you are exercising for less than 60 minutes, pre-workout nutrition may be more beneficial

Pre-workout nutrition may help with delivery of nutrients to your working muscles

Your workout nutrition should contain both carbohydrate and protein

Exercise more frequently for shorter duration vs. less frequently for longer duration.

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The SIMPLEST Solution to Workout Nutrition
This is was not discussed in the video. If you train for less than 30 minutes, you don’t need any sort of workout nutrition. If you exercise intensely for more than 30 minutes have 10g of BCAA before your exercise or 20g of whey protein after you exercise. You can do this and be done with this step in the program. ? If you would like a more detailed and potentially more elegant approach, continue reading.

Workout Duration and Intensity
Your workout nutrition isn’t necessarily always going to be the same, as the duration of your workout, and the intensity of your workout, will vary. You should adjust your workout nutrition accordingly. As a general rule, I use the following with clients when scripting their workout nutrition.
– 60 minutes or less -> Pre Workout Nutrition
– More than 60 minutes ->Post Workout Nutrition

Workout Nutrition Profile
Workout nutrition has traditionally been carbohydrates (think Gatorade and Powerade) as these drinks were initially developed for athletes training in hot weather for extended periods of time. They were designed to replenish fluids and electrolytes (sodium, potassium, etc) lost from sweat while also providing energy (in the form of sugar). I’m sure that you would agree with me in my assertion that the major consumers of sports drinks do not fit the athlete profile I just described. However, the marketing behind workout nutrition drinks and supplements would lead you to believe that you need them and that these calories are essentially free calories that don’t contribute to your total calorie intakes. Those two things might not be true for you.

If you are exercising less than 30 minute, having a workout nutrition drink in any form probably isn’t going to impact your performance and recovery unless this was an all out effort, gut busting training sessions (one that you probably couldn’t repeat 2 days in a row). So if you are training 30 minutes or less, just drink water. If you are training 30-60 minutes, opt for pre-workout nutrition and beyond 60 minutes a little pre and a little post (split your drink in 1/2) would be an approach that I recommend.

Regardless of which workout nutrition protocol you are choosing (with the exception of drinking water), I recommend that you shift the importance of drink make up towards protein. Protein is essential for recovery, you can get carbohydrates later if need be.

Here is a balanced recommendation that you can use as your base (this is also approximately the make up of chocolate milk).
– 25-30g carbohydrates
– 10g protein/BCAA

Supplement Examples From the Video

Recovery Drink: Surge Recovery. This should be reserved for very high intensity training of 60 minutes of longer.

Build Your Own Recovery Drink

Select a sports drink (like Gatorade), or Generation UCAN, or Super Carb (a cyclic dextrin supplement like that shown in the video). Only rely on carbohydrates when your workouts are 60 minutes or beyond. Adding carbohydrates to your diet via workout nutrition for a workout less than 60 minutes is unnecessary. You can get all the same benefits by just eating carbohydrates at your next meal following exercise. If you are concerned about consuming excess calories, and are at or around 4hrs of exercise per week, feel free to ditch the carbohydrate component of your workout drink entirely and just opt for the protein side (if you choose to do this, up your protein to 20g from protein powder, and stay with 10g of BCAA).

Protein Powders: Since the recording of this video, there have been personnel changes at Gaspari Nutrition such that I am not 100% confident in their quality assurance process anymore (it could be fine, I just don’t know). I am no longer using IsoFusion. My recommended protein supplements are: Muscle Matrix, Modern Protein, Metabolic Drive, or Raw Meal.

Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs): This is currently a very popular supplement. BCAAs are a collection of specific amino acids (the building blocks of protein) that have a branched structure. One of the amino acids, leucine, found in BCAAs is directly responsible for turning on the muscle building process at the cellular level. This is really important, as exercise essentially breaks down muscle, so after exercise you need to jump start the muscle rebuilding process (think of this as the most basic form of recovery from exercise). BCAAs are found in protein like beef, chicken, milk, fish, eggs, and protein powders (which are most commonly made from milk proteins like whey). There really isn’t any compelling scientific evidence to show that BCAAs are superior to a simple whey protein supplement when taken after exercise.

Product Recommendations: Modern BCAA or AminoX.

From a usability standpoint, they are different in that whey protein and protein shakes have a thicker milkshake like consistency and come in flavors like vanilla or chocolate. BCAA drinks are more like a sports drinks and come in flavors like fruit punch, mango, and lemon-lime.

I generally prefer BCAA drinks as I like the taste. But I encourage you to choose what you like best. Picking a BCAA drink over a whey protein drink for before or after you workout is a minor tweak to your program and will have minimal effect compared to the much larger effects of the other steps in this program and the act of using workout nutrition vs. not using it at all.

More Frequent Training Sessions
This program is about nutrition, but the one point that I would like to emphasize on the exercise front is that frequency is key. Exercise provides a unique and powerful stimulus to your body and modifies (for the good) the way that your body processes and distributes carbohydrates. Exercising for 4 total hours a week distributed over 5 or 6 days is better (in my opinion) than distributing that 4 hours over 3 days.[/text_block][/op_liveeditor_element]


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