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Pre-Workout Meal
AnandSh posted:
What do you guys have for your pre-workout meal? Do you change it for your cardio / weight days?

I have 6-7 Digestive biscuits with a glass of milk. It's the fastest think I could could come up with. It's the same for weight/cardio days.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE responded:
It's been known for many years that carbohydrate and protein together is an effective source of recovery when consumed after a workout, although there is evidence that it can be helpful before as well. Since you drink milk you'll be interested to know that milk, and particularly chocolate milk, is a great recovery beverage.

Check out these resources, and make sure you read them both completely to learn about the milk.

As for a pre-workout meal, the problem with milk for many people is that it can cause gas, as do many dairy products. It sounds like it works of you, but it might not for others. For this reason some people need something as bllnd as a bagel, and sometimes with a little peanut butter.
Tomato05 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
I also like to have both protein and carbohydrates before as well as after exercising.

Not huge amounts of course. For myself - something like a small piece of fruit (eg 1/2 an apple) and 2 egg-whites (plus1/2 tomato, some parsley and bean sprouts) before. Afterwards something like yogurt and fruit (the other half of the apple), or a protein drink or vegetable juice and yogurt.

I suppose yogurt would work as well as milk.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to Tomato05's response:
Yogurt would work as well as milk, although choose a brand that doesn't add a lot of extra sugar. Extra sugar(s) will cause a steep rise in insulin levels, which can lead to low blood sugar afterward. And artificial sweeteners will cause as much of an insulin response as sugar-sweetened yogurt, and in some cases, even more, because your body senses artificial sweeteners as much sweeter than sugar.
Tomato05 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Thanks, I will remember to use plain low-fat yogurt (no sugar added).

Since I'm not a big milk drinker, I may also eat 1/2 cup of plain low-fat cottage cheese as a variation on yogurt.

This amount of cottage cheese gives you about 15g of protein (1 glass of milk has about 8g), so it is good protein value for calories (90 calories in 1/2 cup cottage cheese, while 1 cup of low-fat milk has about 120 cal) if you're counting calories.
evergreen62 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
I avoid artificial sweeteners for a number of reasons, but I have to challenge your statement: "And artificial sweeteners will cause as much of an insulin response as sugar-sweetened yogurt, and in some cases, even more, because your body senses artificial sweeteners as much sweeter than sugar." Can you provide a link to a study that backs up the notion that it can bump the insulin? Thanks.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to evergreen62's response:

Hi Evergreen,

Yes, it's a fair challenge. I don't have a reference for you. I heard this information at a conference a year or so ago and never investigated it myself. The context of the lecture was the intensity of the sweetness of artificial sweeteners and effects on taste sensation and the difficulty for some people to go back to sucrose after consuming artificial sweeteners. I recall looking at the insulin issue a while back since so many of our patients were reporting weight loss when they stopped drinking diet soda, and recall data where an artificial sweetener caused an increase secretion of GLP-1, and that may even have been in mice. I left it at that, but in response to your post I did a quick review and was surprised at how few studies there were on this topic considering how ubiquitous artificial sweeteners are, but indeed the few I found did not show an effect. Thanks for calling this to my attention. Rich
Amelia_WebMD_Staff responded:
This great WebMD Food to Fuel Your Workout article lists a Top 10 Healthy Snacks/Meals to go for before physical activity!

My favorite would have to be "1/2 whole-grain bagel with peanut butter and banana slices" or the "Poached egg on whole-wheat toast with 1/2 grapefruit". YUM!

What about everyone else?
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to Amelia_WebMD_Staff's response:
Mine is always exactly that: a bagel with peanut butter and/or a banana depending on how long the event/workout is going to be. If I'm hiking all day I make it peanut butter and jelly on bagel or rye bread. It's got lots of protein, carbs, and fat, it packs really well, and it tastes really good. The biggest bonus is that I never feel stuffed from it like you might from a turkey sandwich or other heavy meal. For events/workouts less than an hour, and if I feel I need something, it's usually a banana, and if I'm hungry, then peanut butter on a bagel (usually just half a bagel). I won't drink ergogenic beverages before a short event (less than hour), and I typically stick mostly with water on longer events unless it's hot and/or humid, and then I take along something like Gatorade, or drink one of those beverages if they are serving it at rest stops. Poached egg doesn't sound good to me!
AnandSh replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
Hi Rich,

I have a couple of questions.

I keep reading that chocolate milk is supposed to be a good recovery beverage. But doesn't it have too much sugar, 25g in the article you posted, which is almost the same as most flavored yogurts.

How do you decide what is a good amount of calories for pre/post workouts. I've seen people loading up on protein and carbs post workout with 'healthly' foods. But wouldn't large amounts of food with a lower GI lead to a much higher Glycemic Load. What's the difference.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to AnandSh's response:
Hi Anand,

Carbohydrate/glucose is important for replenishment of glycogen, the glucose that the muscle and liver stores. Since glucose is the primary fuel during weight lifting, it gets depleted quickly and needs to be replenished. As for digestion of it, the fat in the milk probably slows down the excursion of the glucose through the gut, lowering the spike you might see with just glucose. I'm not sure I understand what you mean that foods with a lower GI lead to a much higher glycemic load. As for calories, you could estimate how many calories you burn during the workout and consume that many during recovery. Guidelines don't typically recommend calorie intake as much as percentages of nutrients. The RDA recommendation for protein is 0.8 g/kg to 1.2-1.8 g/kg, reaching the higher end for athletes, pregnant women, and individuals with certain medical conditions.

Do the following math to calculate your protein needs:

1. Divide your weight by 2.2 to calculate your weight in kilograms.

2. Multiply your weight in kilograms times 0.8-1.8 gm/kg (the amount of protein you want to consume).

Here's an example if you weigh 200 pounds and consistently do lots of resistance and aerobic exercise:

200/2.2 = 91kg

91kg x 1.5 = 137 grams of protein per day

For carbs, the guideline is to eat within 30 minutes of starting, and/or completing your workout (for recovery) and to have 0.7 - 1.2 grams of carbohydrate per kilogram of body weight (0.3 - 0.6 grams per pound). A large banana has 30 grams of carbohydrate. The guideline for protein is one gram for every 3-4 grams of carb. Peanut butter has 9 grams of protein per 2 tablespoons. Yogurt is another good source of carbs and protein. Energy bars can also help. The bottom line is to experiment until you find what works for you.

Keep in mind that by consuming all of this you are consuming extra calories and you want to be careful not to gain weight by consuming more calories at the end of the day than you burn.
I hope that helps.

Take care,
Erktee responded:
Thanks for the MATH on calculation of Protein and RDA's ect.ect. Eric
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to Erktee's response:
You're welcome.
FitnessFan86 replied to Rich Weil, MEd, CDE's response:
My question is

"After a pre-workout meal, how long should I wait before working out? Do i start my workout IMMEDIAITELY after my pre-workout meal or WAIT an hour or so?"

In the past, I start workingout right after my meal and somehow never get the energy I needed to workout. My guess it the food I ate before my workout has not yet been broken down to ATP. What should i do? Should i wait a couple hours after every meal to workout or workout immediatly after my meals?

Thank you i hope you can help me.
Rich Weil, MEd, CDE replied to FitnessFan86's response:
Wait 20-30 minutes. It takes about 10-15 minutes for 15 grams of carbohydrate to raise your blood sugar to a level where it would be helpful, but if you have protein and/or fat with the carbs then it may slow down the digestion slightly. In your case, you're not giving it any time to work by exercising immediately after. So give it 20-30, and that should do it. You didn't post what your meal is, but make sure there is carbohydrate in it.

Take care,

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