Peri-Workout Nutrition, or “nutrition around your training-pre/intra/ and post” is a confusing topic. There are hundreds of opinions, dozens of studies, thousands of protocols. While research does need to be evaluated and taken into consideration; the “bro science,” personal experience side of the story must also be considered and even self-applied.
This is directed towards a certain demographic. If you have 3 months worth of glycogen in your body that you’re trying to get rid of, probably disregard the carb info. For the hard-gainers, or those with a significant amount of volume within a training day (both skill and resistance training sessions accounted for), those looking for an extra edge in their training and recovery, this info is for you.
Within an hour pre-workout: During this time slot, stick to powdered Essential Amino Acids (if you tolerate Whey Protein well, possibly a shake, if that is all you have or need to do,) as this will help to reduce DOMS (delayed onset muscle fatigue), and preserve muscle tissue from breakdown. For the hard-gainers, and those with several training sessions that day/high volume, utilize a powder combination of (pick one) Dextrose, Cyclic Dextrin, Karbolyn, or Glucose. Combine this with Fructose (either powdered or juice such as orange). Shoot for 50-200 g Carbs Total. Combine these with sodium (either a spoonful of salt or several salt tabs,) and the Essential Amino Acid powder, 5-40 grams. If you enjoy stimulants, drink coffee, or combine with 100 g NO-DOZ (caffeine pills). Start this process 15 minutes before training, and continue sipping throughout, like and IV. The amounts will be based on your size, and energy requirements. All of this can be purchased on Amazon. The poor man’s version of this, not the most ideal but better than nothing, is a Gatorade, mixed with added salt and the Essential Amino Acids. Preferably Essential Aminos over BCAAS. All of these work synergistically; the two carb sources, caffeine, and sodium will all increase the rate of absorption and delivery into the body. For those looking to add 20+lbs or have significant volume demands for the day, potentially drink one of these concoctions throughout training, starting 15 minutes prior, and a secondary one post training to ensure glycogen stores are adequately replenished and nutrients are readily available for any damage needing repair.
For those looking to drop weight/body fat, potentially just stick to the sodium, caffeine and aminos pre/intra and post. Especially being in a calorie deficit, it is more important to have a supplemental amino acid source to mitigate muscle tissue than it would be for those looking to gain weight and are in a calorie surplus. The more nutrients provided by a surplus diet makes it less as important to supplement with amino acids or protein. The carbohydrates will actually be a bigger focus for those looking to increase weight.
Remember the big rocks, supplementing will only give you the 1% increase to already well-structured training, eating, and sleeping habits. There is no magic, don’t step over hundred dollar bills for nickels, pick the low-hanging fruit first, and then add in things like this drink for added recovery benefits.
Sources: Stan Efferding, John Meadows, and Charles Poliquin. Their self-application and research were referenced in this blog.
AUTHOR: KALEB WERSLAND – DIRECTOR OF NUTRITION
FOLLOW THE AUTHOR ON INSTAGRAM: @KALEB_LW