Post-Workout Nutrition Guidelines

Prograde Workout

Prograde Workout

Recently I wrote about the importance of proper post-workout nutrition and why we need it to feel better and look better with exercise.

The bottom line is that if you're not fueling your body correctly both before and after you exercise, you're just spinning your wheels without getting anywhere.

To read the entire article and learn about what works best for nutritional recovery, click here.

Posted Apr 21, 2010 by Cassandra Forsythe.

Comments for This Entry

GravatarBob Stupchek04:16PM on April 21, 2010


Unless engaging in 2-a-day training, multiple bouts of endurance exercise in one day, or in a training phase where you're training a specific area with very high frequency, isn't speed of glycogen replenishment rather overrated (again, outside of endurance trainees with heavy weekly training volumes) unless you happen to be going ultra low carbohydrate for every second of the day outside of the window around training?

Likewise, even if you were going low carb most of the time, wouldn't this be even less of a reason to make a big chunk of your allotted carbs from the nutritionally void dextrose and maltodextrin (some have even contended that most maltodextrin is derived from GMO corn, which isn't good, but I haven't closely followed things on that front)? I realize that the ProGRade stuff mentioned had added vitamins and minerals, but I'm always torn on this one.

Some experts are keen on special pre and post drinks, while others still advocate certain whole food choices (or whey + carbs from some mix of fruit and starchy choices).

Admittedly my best gains were when I consumed 1 serving of Biotest's Surge prior to and during training and another one right after and then followed that up with a meal an hour or two later, if possible. This was back when I didn't question much and couldn't care less what anyone said one way or the other. I decided to do it, I trained hard, and the results were there, regardless of whether somebody told me it was in spite of, not because of what I was doing nutrition-wise, or not.

Now it seems that while many talk of looking for common threads, everybody has divergent views, whether it's whole foods against specialized drinks, timing, the actual positive or negative impact of any given amount and timing of consumption, or what have you. Lyle McDonald will tell you one thing, Alan Argaon might echo that or make slight alterations to it, and they both will likely tell you that the folks over at TMuscle are full of it with some of their latest ideas about around-training nutrition.

All in all it makes me wonder if I need to start reading less of what gets written and go back to just making a choice, consistently sticking to it, and continuing on if the results are there.

GravatarSue10:33PM on April 22, 2010

Cassandra I'm not convinced of the need for pre and post workout nutrition. Its just a way for more product sales.

GravatarJeremy Stone05:59AM on April 23, 2010

Ummm Sue, Pre and Post workout nutrition is important as Cassandra states, now you dont have to get certain products for it all you have to do is eat regular healthy food before and after. The supplements are just easier to take and more time efficient thats all.

GravatarCassandra06:22AM on April 23, 2010

Hi Bob - the research on pre-post workout nutrition is done with both endurance and strength training athletes, and it's not always done after multiple training sessions a day or after super long training sessions. There is research after normal (although well-structured) sessions that shows replacing any lost glycogen with a carb-protein mix has many benefits for protein synthesis and performance in the next session.

HOWEVER, not everyone is looking to perform better the next time they train, nor do they care about gaining any new muscle tissue. For those people, eating well is important, but it doesn't necessarily have to get technical.

Whole foods probably do work just as well as supplements, but, it's very hard to say that with any back-up considering all the pre-post workout nutrition research is almost ALWAYS done with a supplement. Only a few times have foods like chocolate milk and raisins been looked at, and they've showed benefits, but no more so than a pre-made concoction.

And, supplements are never suggested to be the basis of your entire diet. You should definitely eat real food all other times of the day, especially foods rich in phytochemicals, antioxidants, fiber and whole food proteins. You can't replace that with ANY supplement.

Sue - like Jeremy said, yes, pre and post workout nutrition is just as important as your nutrition the rest of the day. Supplements at certain times and especially after intense training sessions just improve your recovery and make getting the right ratio of nutrients in much simpler. But, you still need to eat well all other times as I said previously. And, if you're not really training all that hard or care about your performance, you really can just eat whatever you like. Either way, you should do what you feel is best for you and what makes your body feel best. I can't argue with that and no research study can pinpoint your exact needs. You use research as a guide and then try the best variation for yourself.

GravatarMike Navin10:19AM on April 28, 2010

"Only a few times have foods like chocolate milk and raisins been looked at, and they've showed benefits, but no more so than a pre-made concoction."

But the added benefit of chocolate milk is that it doesn't take as much out of your wallet as the pre-made concoctions.

I eat a banana before a workout and chocolate milk after and compared to when I was doing the whole finely tuned carb to protein ratio for years prior, I don't see any difference.

But if I had to guess, even if I left out the banana and chocolate milk, I probably wouldn't see any significant downward changes (and I mean "significant" in a real world sense, not in a statistical sense).

Gravatartyson b03:28PM on June 07, 2010

I have an incredibly busy schedule and I'm usually forced to do my workouts at night after I get out of work (approximately 8:00 or 9:00). This was a problem because by that time I'm usually already tired from being at work all day. I tried those 5 hour energy drinks which would help for about 15 minutes before I collapsed from exhaustion.

However, this problem plagues me no more. After 2 weeks of taking the Dr Max Anabolic Stack , I feel like I could go on for days. Now I'm able to finish all my sets in good form, and I'm finally making the goals I set for myself despite my busy schedule.

Gravatardany01:02PM on July 12, 2010

I really like your blog, the theme is good and the info you provide is really impressive, I am going to come back to check on the e info you put up, best of luck and keep up the good work.

GravatarLisa Crisalle - Nutrition Certification12:56PM on July 27, 2010

Great information Cassandra! Rarely do I see such common sense. Also, one other point that we like to point out is that is is not just about nutrient CONSUMPTION, but more importantly, nutrient UTILIZATION! For that you must look at your enzymes, especially probiotic enzymes. These are the key to utilization - whether it be from whole foods or supplements.

One of the things that we teach (in our Certified Fitness Nutrition Specialist program) is the important roles that nutrients and supplements play and HOW to use them (as Cassandra so clearly pointed out above). Again, utilization is the Key!

You can find out more and download our Free E-Book "Food for Thought & Money In the Bank" at

GravatarJason Rylander11:35AM on October 20, 2010

Does the 2:1 carbohydrate/protein ratio work for both simple and complex carbohydrates?

GravatarMatt the Whey Protein Guy09:47PM on November 02, 2010

To the above comment, avoid using energy drinks at all costs. Those make you easily susceptible to crashing hard as I see you learned. Stick to something like a whey protein smoothie because the vitamins, nutrients, and enzymes give you a constant boost in energy level. Coupling that with fresh fruits can give you an extra added boost.

I recently wrote an article over here you should check out for some great recipes you can use for pre or posts workouts.

GravatarCassandra05:47PM on November 03, 2010

To the second to last comment: How are you sleeping at night? How much caffeine are you drinking? And, have you ever tried working out in the morning to ensure you get it in versus missing it bc you're too tired?
People in America work too hard and too much!! It drives me crazy. We slave our lives away for someone else and then die from lack of caring for ourselves.

Gravatarmarimethod03:30AM on January 28, 2011

this is such a very informative blog thank you for posting! anyway, i find it very helpful to take such supplements before and after working out to be able to "warm-up" your system if you are about to engage in such activity and also if you're done with it.

GravatarTheResearcher01:47PM on March 27, 2011

The article states "Carbohydrates are also beneficial and providing them in a ~2:1 ratio with protein is shown to be best ..." and "It contains the right ratio of carbohydrates to protein" yet the Prograde product lists 2g carbodydrates (CHO) and 24 g protein (PRO), a ratio of 1:12.

Let's assume that the ~ 2:1 CHO-PRO reccomendation is close to what one needs. According to Kersick and co-authors (2008), "Ingestion of 6 – 20 grams of EAAs and 30 – 40 grams of high-glycemic CHO within three hours after an exercise bout and immediately before exercise have been shown to significantly stimulate muscle PRO synthesis").

If so, one would have to add quite a bit of CHO to the Prograde product to bring it to the stipulated 2:1 balance.

Kerksick, C., Harvey, T., Stout, J., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C., Kreider, R., et al. (2008). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (Vol. 5, pp. 17).

GravatarCassandra05:41AM on March 28, 2011

To TheResearcher: you're looking at the wrong product. Prograde WORKOUT has 31 g carbs and 14 g protein

GravatarTheResearcher07:30AM on March 28, 2011

The article ( mentions Prograde Protein: "Around 5-6 grams of essential amino acids from whey protein is shown to be most ideal, which can be achieved with about a 20-30 gram serving of protein from Prograde Protein." By clicking on Prograde Protein ( it leads to the product I mentioned.

Clearly I am looking at another product, but it is the article link that leads me there.

GravatarCassandra07:57AM on March 28, 2011

Yes, you're correct. In the pre-workout window, protein at that dose is optimal, but post-workout, a 2:1 ratio of carbs to protein works better. There should be a link to the Workout product in that last paragraph, but the first link to protein is correct.

GravatarTheResearcher03:35PM on March 28, 2011

Interestingly, Kersick and others (2008) note the following: "While the ratio of CHO to PRO requires additional investigation, a often utilized practical approach is to consume a supplement containing CHO + PRO in a 3:1 or 4:1 ratio within 30 minutes following exercise." I'm using Kersick as a reference only because they review a number of different studies.

Those concerned with the cost of the respective nutrients and the quality of the protein may perhaps optimize by using a good protein (as good as their budget allows) and differentially mix some carbs (pre- and post-workout) as needed (as CHO is comparatively cheaper than PRO).

Kerksick, C., Harvey, T., Stout, J., Campbell, B., Wilborn, C., Kreider, R., et al. (2008). International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition (Vol. 5, pp. 17).

Due to spammers and their disrespect, comments are no longer allowed for this site.