Saturday, May 03, 2008

Training Nutrition - The Most Important Meal

Stephan Kesting's Grappling Tips Newsletter gives great advice on pre and post workout nutrition, which he considers the most important meals of the day.

Most people agree that the pre and post workout 'meals' should be in liquid form, both to provide you with  liquid to replace lost sweat and to speed absorption of the nutrients. Basically we're talking about an athlete's version of the bodybuilder's shake.
THE PREWORKOUT MEAL (c. 10 minutes before exercise)
This is a chance to get some liquid, fuel (sugar and carbohydrates) and electrolytes into your body before your workout, giving it something to burn up and sweat out. The addition of a small amount of protein helps limit muscle breakdown. A typical preworkout meal might consist of:

  • 12 oz of water
  • 20 to 30 grams of carbohydrates (glucose, sucrose and/or maltodextrin)
  • 5 to 10 grams of protein (e.g. whey protein)
  • electrolytes (mostly sodium, potassium and magnesium)
THE POSTWORKOUT MEAL (within 45 minutes of finishing exercise)
This feeding gets nutrients into your body at a time when it needs them most and also when it is most receptive to them (the 'anabolic window' window again). A typical postworkout meal might look like this:
  • Lots of water
  • 20 to 30 grams protein
  • 80 to 100 grams carbohydrate
  • electrolytes (e.g. sodium, potassium, magnesium)

These formulations have a lot of carbohydrates, and that's not random or accidental. Many athletes are so fixated on protein that they overlook carbohydrates, but carbs help replenish your body's energy supplies AND have stimulate your body to build more muscle. If I had to choose between a postworkout meal consisting either of carbs or protein I'd go with the carbohydrates every time (but obviously having a mix of protein and carbohydrate is the best).

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