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This is a confusing area for a lot of beginners getting into strength training for the first time.

How much protein do I need, within what time frame? Should I take whey protein? Brad… 30 minutes before I start? What about carbs…? High G.I or low G.I? Do I need to load up on fats? If so, how much?

I asked all of these questions. And thanks to Google and it’s ability to generate several million responses — confused me like no other!

To be honest, if you are a newbie still figuring out the difference between a dumbbell and barbell — focus on the big picture of your nutrition first.

Focus on getting enough protein every day. This study recommends that you aim for a protein intake of 1.3–1.8 grams per kilogram of body weight (0.6–0.8 grams per pound of body weight) everyday, to stimulate maximum protein synthesis.

I know… it’s a lot hey? If you are restricting your calories or doing frequent High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) sessions— the amount of protein required is skewed slightly higher!

If you are only getting 56 grams of protein everyday and your lifting heavy things in the gym — you will lose those gains! No matter how “perfect” your nutrient timing is, or how closely you follow this article.

I’ve made that mistake and I was pissed…!

Let’s move on.

Pre-Workout Protein

We know that getting enough protein everyday is important for weight training. But what about immediately before a weight training session and, if so, within what time frame?

If you look at any of the research here, here, here, and… here! You will see that pre-workout protein is not nearly as important as we’re told IF…and only IF we already have elevated levels of amino acids in our blood plasma.

What does that mean, you might be asking?

In other words, if you’ve had a giant 200 gram rump steak (60 grams of protein! Source: CalorieKing.com.au)— 2 hours before a planned weight training session — you can skip the pre-workout protein shake.

Like my lunch below. I wouldn’t need to have a pre-workout protein shake if I was going to the gym 2 hours after having this awesome meal.

Your body would have broken down the protein within that steak into the amino acids necessary to immediately repair the damaged muscle tissue from your upcoming weight training session.

Research confirms that it can take up to 6 hours to completely digest the food you’ve eaten.

However, if you are like me and wake up at 5:15 am to weight train (yep, I am a little weird) — you will need amino acids to ensure you are anabolic (primed to repair/build muscle) for your weight training session.

This is why I either have 30 grams of whey protein with water or 10 grams of Branched Chain Amino Acids (BCAAs) within 30 minutes of my weight training session.

Branched…what? I know… I know… More terms!

Stay with me, I will get to it…

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Pre-Workout Protein Types

According to the geeks in this study, there are protein types which are better than others as a pre-workout for short-term muscle growth due to their faster rate of absorption and leucine content.

Those same geeks will tell you that high levels of the amino acid leucine found in whey protein, is superior for stimulating maximum muscle protein synthesis.

And before we go further down the pre-workout discussion rabbit hole; BCAAs are merely just leucine, isoleucine, and valine strung together with a “chemical string” called peptide bonds!

And yep, leucine is the most important amino acid in that sequence.

BCAAs are a popular supplement to take while training in a fasted state (typically the moment you wake up, you’re fasted) which also elevates blood (plasma) amino levels for when you commence lifting heavy things and putting them back down again 🙂

BCAAs and fasted training is for another discussion.

In summary, I will only take BCAAs if I plan on training in a fasted state — which is most mornings! If I am weight training later in the day and have not had a serving of whole-food protein of between 20–30 grams of protein (white fish, beef, chicken, etc,) in the past 2 hours, I will have 30 grams of whey protein in a shaker, with water.

In the photo above, this amazing fish that I had in Bali, Indonesia, supplied me with the protein necessary for a weight training session 2–3 hours later. No whey protein shake “within 30 minutes” necessary.

And yes, if you decide to take 20–30 grams of whey protein with water upon waking up, before heading into the gym for a weight training — you won’t be in a fasted state.

It’s not a big deal — it just means you’ll miss the added benefits that fasted training will provide.

And for the same benefits of taking whey protein pre-workout, the research geeks in this study also claim it is a great post-workout aswell.

This is why I usually have 30 grams of whey protein (with water) within 30 minutes or so after finishing my weight training session.

Protein Brands To Use Pre-Workout

At the moment, I am taking Optimum Nutrition Gold Standard whey protein. Sometimes I go through experimental phases of trying whey protein from different suppliers.

By the way, those HPLC bars in the photo are absolute rubbish! I was taking them while travelling through Asia as getting some protein is better than getting no protein (when travelling!)

On my YouTube channel here, I often do product reviews to different supplements. You might like it! Subscribe too 🙂

If you are curious on the full run down of whey protein — I run a complete 4 hour online video course that explains precisely how much protein you need to build muscle, lose fat, etc. What to look for when buying protein, cutting through all of the consumer BS that supplements companies often try and sell us on.

Go and check it out here.

I hope you found this helpful. Just some science-based advice mixed in with my own experience of lifting heavy things as a fitness model competitor.

If you need any help or have any questions, please leave them in the comments below. I will be happy to help you out!

LEARN HOW TO CREATE YOUR OWN MEAL PLANS AROUND THE FOOD YOU LOVE THE MOST, WHILE BUILDING THE BODY OF YOUR DREAMS.

90% OFF LIFETIME ENROLMENT TO MY MEAL PLANNING MASTERY COURSE

LEARN MORE
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