Before and after training – what to eat?

The period before training and for the first two hours after training is critical to stimulate, protect and feed the muscles for ideal growth.

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Now, I can already hear many women (and guys) crying out and say but I am only walking, jogging, cycling or doing cardio, I don’t need to eat for growth!

My answer is (and I mean this in the nicest possible way): you are only fooling yourself!

No matter what sport or exercise you do, be it jogging or be it weight lifting, one of your main goals is to look better. How do you think that is going to happen…just by loosing fat?

I am going to disappoint you here and say that the chances are very good if you only lose the fat and not grow and tighten up the muscles you might even look worse after you have lost the fat than before.

If you want to look better in the mirror that flabby small muscles need to grow and tighten up. Toning means growing no matter who tells you otherwise.

Those muscles underneath that fat has been unused for a loooong time and any muscle not being used get smaller and smaller every year and lose form. That “small” muscle is NOT going to look good when the round fat layer is gone. For many people the fat layer actually give an aesthetically pleasing roundness to the body that make it look much better with the fat than without it.

So, anyone telling me that they only want to lose fat not built muscles, I just smile because they do not know what they are talking about.

Not matter what exercise you do, you need to build up the muscles and feed them correctly to respond best. You want to train as little as possible and feed the muscles perfectly to respond the best they can.

Feeding the muscles and body for exercise is nearly exactly the same irrespect if you’re a bodybuilder or jogger.

I do admit, for those pushing the limits there will be slight changes to accommodate their specific sport requirements. But for 90% of us average people there will be almost no difference.

 

I have done my personal research for the past 8 years and had many trials and errors and devised my pre and post workout eating requirement to be very effective. This same basic structure can be used by men and women alike, especially initially. As time progress and you educate yourself, you can make small alterations to suite you better. BUT ALWAYS small steps, one change at a time and VERIFY that it works before you move on the next change.

 

PRE-WORKOUT

You need to prepare your body for the training. 30 to 45 minutes before training you take the following:

  • BCAA‘s 8g (Branched Chain Amino Acids – take the pill form, they taste very bad in powder form.)
  • Pre workout shake: containing caffeine. You can also take caffeine pills. I am using Shotgun by VPX. But there are MANY other brands and all contain roughly the same basic pre workout muscle feeding mix.

The BCAA’s is the most critical part of the pre workout feeding. It is a specific group of Amino Acids that protects the muscles from being broken down while training for energy. The last thing you want to do while training is loosing the muscle. Protect it!

The pre-workout shake gives you and energy boost and also a muscle volumizing effect. Many cardio only trainers may prefer to skip the pre-workout shake but for cross-trainers, swimmers, gymnasts or anyone doing any form of resistance training, this becomes increasingly important to give you energy to do your routine.

 

During training water is of critical important. Carry your water bottle with you throughout and sip often. I easily drink up to 2L during a 50 minute training session and do not visit the toilet once because I sweat it all out.

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IMMEDIATELY after training:

This is a critical time to feed the muscles as soon as possible.

  • Your muscle requires two things urgently: quick absorption fat-less protein and quick energy.
  • The ONLY protein you should consider is whey (preferably whey isolate). It is clean and is absorbed very quickly by your system to feed the muscles. (Some people use also BCAA’s 8g after training instead of the whey protein although you will find most people use the whey.)
  • No protein contain fat, no matter how small will suffice. No casein type protein will suffice because the get absorbed too slow by your body. I use one scoop of 50g in 500ml of water. For those who do cardio only, I would suggest not more than 25g in 500ml water. I do intense weight training.
  • The best quick energy source is something like a banana (or maybe apple – but apple bloat me). A banana’s energy is released very quickly to replenish your muscle energy to normal levels.
  • The whey protein and banana covers nearly everything your body needs for directly after training.
  • I prefer to also use a combination of strong vitamins and anti-oxidants after training. (I use: alpha lipoic acid, Saw Palmetto, Potent Multi-Vitamin, Co-Enzyme Q10, Potent slow release vit C and Ecklonia Cava Extract.)

During training your body is put under strain and your muscles underwent exercise induced damage which needs to be repaired. vitamins and anti-oxidants create the environment for your body to effectively repair these “damaged” muscles, tendons, etc…

I’ve done it for years and had great success by following this routine of pre and post workout feeding.

 

Another important point: You should consume another small meal within the next 2 hours after training containing whey protein and small fruit/veggies. These 2 hours is golden growth period for your muscles and is probably the most important two hours of the day for growth.

This is especially important for people who take part in resistance training type of sports. It is of less important for cardio orientated sports.

 

Point of Note: Recent research are pointing to the possibility that taking anti-oxidants before or after training might actually slow down the fat burning environment resulting from training. This is all due to IL-6 which increase in the post exercise window where it enhances insulin action and fat burning. Taking the anti-oxindants (especially Vit C and E) stop the releasing of IL-6 and thus slowing down the post exercise fat-loss environment.

My take on IL-6 and anti-oxidants? Well I am not in a position to dispute research but I am not yet convinced and will wait for further developments before I drop my post exercise antioxidants. I’ve used potent post exercise antioxidants for years and had great results in health and fat-loss. The other side of the coin is that if I did not took my post exercise anti-oxidants I might have even greater fat-loss success. Choose for yourself but watch this space, I will definitely report more on this in future again, meanwhile I will continue using my anti-oxidants after training…it just seem to make sense.

 

Wish you all MUCH success and happy training!

Gert Louw

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