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So you want to get the most out of your training session to fuel muscle growth.
If you’re training in the afternoon or evening, you’ll certainly have a full meal before hitting the gym (later workouts have been shown to produce better results than morning workouts – see here).
The protein sources we use at this time will have an impact on the success of our workout. So let’s have a look at the best options.
Here’s what we want…
A protein that’s not too fast, nor too slow, at being digested.
AMOUNT, TYPE AND TIMING OF PRE-WORKOUT PROTEIN
The solution is simple – stick with real food for your pre-workout nutrition.
A meal with a good 40g serving protein, some carbs and some fat will digest at the rate of about 4-5g protein per hour.
And you’ll probably eat about 2-3 hours before starting to train. If you take in 40g protein, that protein will be trickling into your bloodstream right up to the workout, and right throughout the training session, too.
There is an option of having some whey in addition to real food here. A smaller 20g serving of protein from whey has been shown to create an anabolic response in the pre-workout period .
So I suggest you shoot for 40g total protein in your pre-workout meal and either get it all from real food, or an even 20/20 split from food and whey.
Note: Do make sure that your training routine is actually stimulating growth in the first place! All you need for that is to get my totally free 3-day and 5-day/wk THT workouts; just enter your details below for immediate download. It will tell you the best exercises to use, the best rep ranges, the right number of sets to do, the best training frequency – everything you need for the best gains ever.
BEST SOURCES OF PROTEIN
We want protein in this period that:
(1) Contains all the amino acids (it is a complete protein)
(2) Has a very high bio-availability score (so your body can actually use all that protein).
This leaves us with the following best sources:
(1) Whey (remember that 20g limit pre-workout)
(2) Eggs (whole or a whole/white combo)
(3) Red Meat
Cow’s milk is also up there as a possible 6th option. Perhaps you might have your whey with milk.
EAT THIS BEFORE TRAINING
- Carbs will ensure you have enough short-term energy to power high-intensity muscular contractions.
- Fat will help give you longer-term energy to help you endure the full length of your workout.
So you might have…
Chicken (enough for 40g protein) with some quinoa and buttered vegtables.
Whole eggs (including the yolks) with some sweet potato and a glass of whey mixed with milk.
NOTE: I put together a short “10 BEST PORTABLE PROTEINS” guide that you’ll love. Being away from home doesn’t mean you can’t get your protein in. It’s easy with my handy guide.
Just enter your details below to get it immediately (don’t worry, I operate a zero spam policy)
Thanks! Here's what you wanted. Enjoy...
Very simple and easy. And by doing this, you’re doing all you can to give your body what it needs for an optimal workout!Click here for the 5 best proteins to eat before working out to build muscle Click To Tweet
So go eat and train hard! Questions can be asked down below 🙂
Reference  Stimulation of net muscle protein synthesis by whey protein ingestion before and after exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 2007 Jan;292(1):E71-6. Epub 2006 Aug 8.
P.S. Want treats like these “Buff Bars”, Protein Cookie Dough, “Buff Cookies”, Protein Bread…and many more to “cheat clean” and fuel muscle growth in the tastiest way possible? I eat this stuff all time. See my Buff Baking anabolic cookbook.
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I highly recommend MyProtein for all your supplement needs.
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- I also recommend to US readers this Optimum Nutrition whey (and here's a low-carb whey)
- And this quality, inexpensive creatine ~ Mark McManus
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More great tips. Thanks Mark!
Good stuff Mark. I’m still a guy that has to workout in the morning. And don’t believe it’s all bad. There is other evidence that morning workouts are optimal in that HGH levels are at their highest in the AM. Not to argue but just stating that there is and has been further studies on best times to train. I think personally, its what works for people.
Thanks for this added info!
Hey Mark, what is the reason for limiting 20g whey for pre-workout? What happens if one were to have more?
@Jason. The catabolic hormones are highest in the am. And strength is quite considerably diminished. But if you have, then go for it 🙂
@Victor. I’m going by the study I referenced, which was done on 20g whey. You can’t get the other 20g whey because it will digest too quickly as I stated in the article. We need protein that isn’t too slow, nor too fast in the pre-workout period.