From Start to Finish

[half]Your pre and post workout meals are in a dead heat with breakfast for the title of “most important meal of the day”.  Why so important?  If you are like the rest of us, you have a small window of free time in your busy day.  If you are an MTS client, you spend this time and your hard earned dollar on a workout designed for results.  Why not get the most out of your time and money?  Think of these meals or snacks as the bookends that hold your workout together.

Ever get into a tough workout only to feel weak and a bit nauseous?  Of course, but the good news is it’s absolutely preventable!  Your body needs two types of fuel before a workout, carbohydrates for fuel and Amino acids for muscle stamina.  During a workout your body relies on glycogen (sugars) stores in the blood stream and skeletal muscles for energy.  When the glycogen stores get low your blood sugar drops and, in short, you crash, done, workout over!  To prevent this, try a low glycemic (slow) carbohydrate for some sustained energy.  Consume these within 30 minutes prior to your workout.

Amino acids are used by your muscles to sustain movement during your workout.  Your body gets Amino acids from protein by one of two ways when working out.  It can strip protein from your skeletal muscle tissue, which is essentially proteins and water.  This is bad; after all we are trying to build some muscle aren’t we?  A better way to obtain muscle building Amino acids is to consume a lean source of protein within 30 minutes of working out.[/half] [half]Post workout our muscles are in a feeding frenzy.  This creates a window of opportunity for muscle growth and repair.  Now, let’s pause for a minute for you ladies who gasped at “muscle growth”.  For the fairer sex, muscle growth doesn’t mean a striated chest and busting biceps.  This is a huge myth we don’t dive into.  Muscle growth for women means a smooth, lean, and athletic look when proper training and nutrition is introduced.

Okay, back on track.  After a workout your body’s skeletal muscles are broken down.  To repair, they again need Amino acids and carbohydrates.  A lean source of protein (fat slows digestion) can offer the muscle needed Aminos for the rebuilding.  A fast or high glycemic carbohydrate is also essential.  Although we try to avoid these types of carbs, post workout is one exception.  A fast carb immediately following a tough session raises the body’s insulin level.  Insulin is the catalyst which drives nutrients, i.e. Amino acids, into the skeletal muscle.  This is the one time when a suitable amount of fast, or high sugar cards are acceptable.  One more time for you doubters, fast cards can help lean you!  So enjoy!

Whether trying to gain muscle, tone up, or get lean, starting and finishing your workout with these performance meals will help get you there.  Depending on your size and goal, the amounts of protein and carbs will vary.  Talk to your trainer about a plan that suits your training objectives.[/half]


  • Pre-workout protein options: Whey protein powder, Milk, Turkey
  • Pre-workout carbohydrate options: Oatmeal, apple, wheat toast
  • Post workout protein options: Whey protein powder, Chicken, Tuna
  • Post workout carbohydrate options: Fruit juice, rice cakes, white toast with jelly
[/list] Brian King, ACE-CPT