Workout Nutrition

How to Utilize Your Workout Window for Optimal Muscle Recovery



You're eating six meals a day, getting the right balance of macronutrients everyday, and you're making strides toward a chiseled mid-section…but you feel like you're missing something. You're six pack is there, but it isn't as defined as you had hoped for. What will give you that extra push toward vein-popping abdominals? The answer may be as simple as peri nutrition.

Peri Nutrition consists of what you consume before, during and after your workout. Why is this so important? When you spike your insulin, your body becomes more anabolic right? Right. "But I thought spiking my insulin can lead to fat storage!" you say. You're right…it can. That is why we want to spike it around the time of our workout, when we will be training and utilizing "the spike." We also want to decipher which type or workout we will be doing. The rate of energy released during an insulin spike depends on which type of carbohydrate is consumed. For example, endurance workout (distance running), complex carbohydrates are ideal because they release energy at a slower rate. For a quick, high-intensity workout (weightlifting), simple carbohydrates are more beneficial for a spike.

For those of you that do not train in the mornings, here is a little side note: Not only is it best to spike your insulin before (pre) and during (para) the workout, it is also imperative to spike you insulin in the morning to take your body from a catabolic state to an anabolic state. While you were dreaming about supermodels, Santa Claus and gumdrops you're body can enter a catabolic state because you are going without food for about 8 hours. Your job it is to put this to a halt! This can be done upon awakening with a meal consisting of protein, a combination of complex carbohydrates and simple carbohydrates. Break-the-fast…get it? Moving on…

There are many ways to spike your insulin properly and I will show you how. I will even take it one step further and give options for those on a budget.

Let's get to it…


You will want to have a solid protein/carbohydrates/little fat meal about 1.5-2 hours prior to training. This will start the "spike" at a slow and steady climb. The small amount of fat and fiber in this meal can curb the spike so it's not so high.

A perfect meal would be (depending on your needs):
rolled or steel-cut oats
mixed berries
1 tbsp of all natural peanut butter
1 scoop of whey protein.

About 30 minutes prior to training (1-1.5 after the solid meal) begin sipping a liquid protein/BCAA/EAA drink that contains a solid array of carbohydrates. The ratio should be 1:1 or 2:1 carbohydrates to protein.

On a budget
Whey protein mixed with Gatorade (or any sports drink)

Money Ain't a Thang
Liquid Amino Acid Supplement (Controlled Labs Purple WrAATH)
Waxy Maize

Para Workout

Continue to sip this throughout your workout. This will insure a steady release of insulin throughout and keep your glycogen levels from rapidly depleting. The combination of amino acids/protein is necessary so that they can be shot gunned right into your muscle fibers, which will contribute to a speedy recovery and induce growth.

On a budget
Whey protein mixed with Gatorade (or any sports drink)

Money Ain't a Thang
Purple WrAATH (Controlled Labs)
Waxy Maize (unflavored)

Post Workout

If all of the above was done properly a simple whey protein shake with 5 grams of creatine and BCAAs of your choice should really be all youneed within 30 minutes of completing your workout. If your goal is fat loss you can take it as a stand alone without any carbohydrates. If you are looking to pack on some mass, add in some carbohydrates, with the same 2:1 ratio. If you wish you can taper it to 1:1 ratio.

On a budget
Whey protein (generic brand)
2 Bananas, or 2 rice cakes, etc. (or any simple carbohydrate)

Money Ain't a Thang
Hydrolyzed Whey Protein (Optimum)
Waxy Maize (unflavored)

The reason why the supplements mentioned above can be mixed into a liquid are to insure rapid delivery with minimal delay. Your muscles need this to perform before a workout and your muscles are screaming for this during and after a workout. As mentioned before, this will aid in faster recovery which will in turn promote muscle growth.

The fitness world is a constantly evolving industry. Peri nutrition is a fairly new concept in the bodybuilding and fitness world. The purpose of it is to keep insulin high when it is most beneficial and when your body is most anabolic, which is before and during a workout. It has been a misconception that after a workout a hefty serving of carbohydrates is necessary…it isn't! If you spike your insulin before and during you workout, then there isn't much of a need for it after. A protein shake should suffice until your next solid meal.

Last, but not least…be sure to consume a solid meal consisting of protein and carbohydrates about 1-1.5 hours after your post workout supplementation. A healthy serving of lean chicken and a sweet potato will do the trick. This will prevent a crash in insulin and provide your body with the protein and carbohydrates your body needs to build those rock abs!

Now get to it and take it to the next level! Good Luck!

Mike Arone

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