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The old saying that you are what you eat is especially true when it comes to your pre and post workout meals. What you eat before and after your workout will have a big impact on how well you perform at the gym, how quickly you recover, and the results that you’ll see in the mirror. Regardless of whether you’re trying to build muscle or burn fat you’ll be at a disadvantage if you completely ignore your pre and post workout nutrition. While many nutrient timing principles have been debunked, what you eat around your workouts continues to remain important because nailing down your pre and post workout meals can help speed up your progress more than any other meal you eat throughout the rest of the day. So let’s start first with pre-workout. When we workout muscle protein breakdown rates will shoot up. Whether your goal is to bulk up and build muscle or burn fat while preserving muscle you’re going to want to do your best to keep protein breakdown rates lower and protein synthesis rates higher. Since amino acids are the building blocks to your muscles they are absolutely essential for increasing muscle protein synthesis. Without those amino acids circulating through your bloodstream not only are you missing the fuel necessary for the synthesis process, but your protein breakdown rates will stay elevated, putting you into more of a catabolic mode where your body is breaking down muscle…which we obviously don’t want. Now some studies show that having protein before your workout won’t enhance muscle growth (1) Meanwhile, other studies show the exact opposite that having pre workout amino acids and carbs can even provide more benefits for your muscles than having them post workout. (2) And the reason why these studies show different results is because it depends on what you already ate throughout the rest of the day….
1. Study Shows that protein timing does not provide any added benefit to strength, power, or body-composition changes
2. Amino Acid consumption may be even more beneficial before exercise than after exercise:
3. Eating Carbs pre-workout Can help Postpone fatigue:
4. 77% carbs vs 2% carbs effects on performance:
5. Having Carbs Pre workout Will provide energy
5.5. Carbs will stimulate protein synthesis better than the same amount of fat post workout
6. Fasted training will burn more fat during the workout, but the body will compensate by burning more carbs for the rest of the day
7. Exercising while fasted increase post workout anabolic response to food
ingestion of a caffeine-containing energy drink can enhance resistance exercise performance to failure
8. The branched-chain amino acid leucine occupies a position of prominence in that it alone can act as a stimulatory signal for muscle protein synthesis
9. protein intake immediately after exercise may be more anabolic than when ingested at some later time.
10. pre- and post-exercise meals should not be separated by more than approximately 3–4 hours
11. “Insulin responses are positively correlated with plasma leucine, phenylalanine, and tyrosine concentrations.” “..carbohydrate can be applied as a nutritional supplement to strongly elevate insulin concentrations.”
12. a carbohydrate supplement in excess of 1.0 g x kg(-1) body wt should be consumed immediately after competition or a training bout.
13. the addition of approximately 1500 kcal from fat to these meals did not alter muscle glycogen resynthesis or glucose tolerance the next day
14. A 2003 meta-analysis showed individuals ingesting creatine, combined with resistance training, obtain on average +8% and +14% more performance on maximum (1RM) or endurance strength (maximal repetitions at a given percent of 1RM) respectively than the placebo groups.