Pre and Post Workout Nutrition for Bodybuilders

A quick rundown of what to do and when to do it.

Pre- and post workout are the most important times to eat and supplement for maximum gains. Here, we focus on the basics — protein and carbs, the two most critical nutrients of your pre- and post-workout meals — and break them down into three categories: gold (best), silver (second best) and bronze (you get the point).


 GOLD: Supplement Combo 

WHEY PROTEIN — Fastest-digesting protein available

WHEN: Within 30 minutes before workouts

WHY: To boost energy during your workout, decrease muscle breakdown, and enhance recovery and muscle growth post-workout.

HOW MUCH: 20 grams

WAXY MAIZE — A slow-digesting, complex carbohydrate product

WHEN: Within 30 minutes before workouts (mix with whey protein)

WHY: Provides long-lasting energy that won’t inhibit fat burning during the workout.

HOW MUCH: 20-40 g

 SILVER: Supp/Food Combo 

WHEY PROTEIN — See above

APPLE — A slowdigesting carb

WHEN: Within 30 minutes before workouts

WHY: Slow-digesting fruits provide long-lasting energy for the workout and won't inhibit fat burning. Polyphenols in apples can enhance fat burning and muscle strength.

HOW MUCH: 1 large (110 calories, 0 g protein, 30 g carbs, 0 g fat)

 BRONZE: All Food 

CHUNK LIGHT TUNA — A low-fat, faster-digesting, whole-food protein

WHEN: About 60 minutes before workouts

WHY: Whole food takes longer to digest than whey, so you’ll need to give yourself a solid hour before training to get some of that protein digesting.

HOW MUCH: 5-oz can mixed with 1 tbsp fat-free mayo (136 calories, 28 g protein, 2 g carbs, 1 g fat)

ORANGE — A slow-digesting carb

WHEN: 30-60 minutes before workouts

WHY: Long-lasting energy for workouts that won’t inhibit fat burning. Vitamin C in oranges can boost nitric oxide levels.

HOW MUCH: 1 large (86 calories, 2 g protein, 22 g carbs, 0 g fat)


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