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Nutrition Is The Key!

Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition is Key!

For your mass gain workout to be maximally productive, your pre and post-workout nutrition must be supplying the body with the right nutrition at the right time. If you don't do this, if you forget to eat before or succumb to that desire to fall onto the couch and "veg" for a couple of hours after your training, you are cheating yourself out of muscle gains.

While you will only be in the gym engaging in intense resistance exercise for less than one hour, it is what you eat in the 90 minutes before and the 90 minutes after that workout that can determine how effective that hard work will be at moving you towards your goals.

This "four hour window" (90 minutes before, 60 during, 90 after) will be the most important period of time in your program in terms of feeding your body for muscle growth.

It is during these four hours that you can significantly enhance your ability to build muscle. The body will be both most in need of muscle building nutrition and most receptive to it.

Sample Pre and Post-Workout Nutrition Plan

5:30 Workout

Pre-Workout Nutrition

Your pre-workout meal is the second most important meal of the day, topped only by the post workout meal. The goal of this meal is to prepare the body for the assault you will soon be putting it through.

During intense exercise, as stored energy is used up, the body will turn to glycolysis to replace this energy. Glycolysis is the process of converting sugars (carbs) into ATP and ultimately the very energy you need to contract a muscle. Therefore, it stands to reason that you want the ingredients (carbs) that make energy to be readily available. Not having them will impair your ability to workout to your full potential.

The pre-workout meal needn't be all that different from one of your normal meals (assuming you make eating for mass gain a practice). It should be focused on protein and complex carbohydrates. It is important that both of these macronutrients be present. The meal should be consumed about 60-90 minutes before exercise begins to allow the body time to digest and make the nutrients available to the body during exercise.

Complex carbohydrates in your pre-workout meal will help ensure you have adequate energy levels for your workout. Another practice to consider is consuming simple carbohydrates (fruits, fruit juices) and/or protein in a quick drink 15 to 30 minutes previous to the workout to provide the body with an immediate energy source.

Post-Workout Nutrition

The basic goal of weight training for mass gain is to force the muscles to break themselves down (catabolism) and then rebuild (anabolism). When the workout provides sufficient trauma to the muscles, small tears in the muscle fibers and connective tissue are created. In the hours and days following the workout, the muscles will attempt to rebuild themselves and become stronger and better able to deal with such trauma in the future. This process is called adaptation.

Notice that I said they will "attempt" to rebuild themselves to be stronger. In order to accomplish this goal, they need to be provided the raw materials to do the job - They need good post-workout nutrition.

The muscles need carbohydrates to replace their drained fuel sources (muscle glycogen) and they need protein to begin the rebuilding process. The better the materials you provide them, the better work they will be able to do. The sooner you get them the materials, the sooner they can get started.

The goal of proper post-workout nutrition is to quickly and efficiently refuel the muscles and then provide them with the raw materials they need to rebuild themselves to be bigger and stronger.

Coach Dee