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Last Updated on January 7, 2021

The ultimate guide to timing nutrients around your workouts for maximum muscle-building and fat loss.

As a red-blooded, iron-loving athlete, you are in a constant cycle of breaking down and rebuilding muscle. When you lift weights, you break down muscle tissue but you don’t grow in the gym. You need muscle protein synthesis to happen in order to repair and ultimately grow new muscle. If you end up breaking down more than you can build back, you won’t end up with a lot of muscle mass on your frame. In order to maximize protein synthesis and minimize breakdown, you need hard yet strategic training, and perhaps more importantly, a nutrition protocol – one based on proper timing with relation to your workouts. And while you should slightly cut calories when you are trying to lose fat, you shouldn’t cut carbs out. The goal is always to build muscle and that requires hard, carb-fueled workouts. Consuming the proper nutrients before, during, and after training can dramatically affect your physique and strength results.


Before training, you need to prime the body to build muscle and enhance muscle protein synthesis. You also need to get enough nutrients to provide sufficient fuel to promote a workout intense enough to deliver a muscle-building stimulus. The ratio of macronutrients as well as the rate of absorption are two critical factors when choosing the correct foods. The meal should be consumed an hour before to allow you to digest. You don’t want to have any bloat or digestive issues occur before your workout. If you need longer, go ahead and take that time.

Another thing you need to think about is proper food choices. Protein in the form of whey, white fish, chicken and turkey best are the best protein options. For carbs, we need to provide some energy without spiking the insulin level too much, blunting the fat-burning potential of your workout. Modest portions of slow-burning carbs such as oatmeal and sweet potatoes are better choices. These carbs will slightly raise insulin, protecting your muscles from excessive breakdown while preparing your body for an anabolic post-training response. If you feel like you need some extra calories for energy and satiety that day, you can add some extra fat such as almond butter or avocado.


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