Stick to the basics… Don’t get caught up in the details… Don’t miss the trees for the forest… Keep it simple, stupid. In a day and age when progressive information is more readily available than ever, it’s all too common for people to preach the benefit of the “basics” and completely ignore the benefit of being detail oriented.

There’s merit in building a foundation and prioritizing focus, after all we can’t build a 3-story mansion without first starting with the basement and foundation. However for those capable of building a mansion, it would seem foolish to build a large structure, only to completely neglect the furnishings and decorations.

If you want to be good at something, then sure- once you have the basics down, keeping things simple will be enough. If, however, you want to be great at something and reach closer and closer to your true potential, the basics aren’t the end- they’re just the beginning. While being consistent with a nutrient dense, daily food intake and performing a regular, progressive training routine can build the foundation of your mansion; some may not be content with an empty collection of walls and stairs.

Below is an in depth guide to structuring your diet around workouts to maximize performance, enhance recovery, and take the guess work out of which details are worth focusing on, and which to let fall simply through the cracks.

 

Pre-Workout Nutrition

The size, quality and timing of pre-workout meals can be great for improving training performance and aiding in the training adaptions achieved through resistance training. Schedules, financial and macronutrient budgets, differences in digestion, preference in food choices and even gender can play into the overall structure of an athlete’s nutrition around workouts.

Generally, sufficient protein for muscle retention and recovery, enough carbohydrates for energy, and adequate dietary fat and water within a reasonable time prior to training can help to ensure consistent gym performance, and greater long-term adaptions to exercise.

Protein

We all know just how popular protein is in the fitness community, and for good reason! Protein intake in the meal prior to a workout isn’t much different than any other time of day. Research has shown that 25-40 grams leucine-rich protein is likely ideal for optimizing stimulation of muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is just what we encourage shooting for in your pre-workout meal as well.

The rationale behind this theory is that 25-40g protein from most lean, complete protein sources will contain 3g or greater leucine content, 3g being the sweet spot for stimulating muscle protein synthesis within a meal based on available research. [1]

Some common protein sources for bodybuilders, along with the serving size and leucine content of each is listed below for reference.

Source Serving Size Leucine Content
Whey Protein Isolate 30g 3.3g
Grilled Chicken Breast 175g 3.1g
Greek Yogurt 300g 3.0g
Sirloin Beef 115g 3.6g
Sirloin Pork 129g 3.1g

 

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