The Science of Pre, During, and Post Workout Nutrition

The issue of post and pre workout nutrition, or “nutrient timing” is a never ending discussion among dedicated athletes and weekend warriors. The International Society of Sports Nutrition (ISSN) has recently put out a position paper on the issue of nutrient timing. This paper is a must read for those who want the latest science on the issue. Abstract follows with link to full paper:
International Society of Sports Nutrition position stand: Nutrient timing
Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 2008, 5:18
Chad Kerksick, et al.
Position Statement: The position of the Society regarding nutrient timing and the intake of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats in reference to healthy, exercising individuals is summarized by the following eight points:
1.) Maximal endogenous glycogen stores are best promoted by following a high-glycemic, high-carbohydrate (CHO) diet (600 – 1000 grams CHO or ~8 – 10 g CHO/kg/d), and ingestion of free amino acids and protein (PRO) alone or in combination with CHO before resistance exercise can maximally stimulate protein synthesis.
2.) During exercise, CHO should be consumed at a rate of 30 – 60 grams of CHO/hour in a 6 – 8% CHO solution (8 – 16 fluid ounces) every 10 – 15 minutes. Adding PRO to create a CHO-PRO ratio of 3 – 4:1 may increase endurance performance and maximally promotes glycogen re-synthesis during acute and subsequent bouts of endurance exercise.
3.) Ingesting CHO alone or in combination with PRO during resistance exercise increases muscle glycogen, offsets muscle damage, and facilitates greater training adaptations after either acute or prolonged periods of supplementation with resistance training.
4.) Post-exercise (within 30 minutes) consumption of CHO at high dosages (8 – 10 g CHO/kg/day) have been shown to stimulate muscle glycogen re-synthesis, while adding PRO (0.2 g – 0.5 g PRO/kg/day) to CHO at a ratio of 3 – 4:1 (CHO: PRO) may further enhance glycogen re-synthesis.
5.) Post-exercise ingestion (immediately to 3 h post) of amino acids, primarily essential amino acids, has been shown to stimulate robust increases in muscle protein synthesis, while the addition of CHO may stimulate even greater levels of protein synthesis. Additionally, pre-exercise consumption of a CHO + PRO supplement may result in peak levels of protein synthesis.
6.) During consistent, prolonged resistance training, post-exercise consumption of varying doses of CHO + PRO supplements in varying dosages have been shown to stimulate improvements in strength and body composition when compared to control or placebo conditions.
7.) The addition of creatine (Cr) (0.1 g Cr/kg/day) to a CHO + PRO supplement may facilitate even greater adaptations to resistance training.
8.) Nutrient timing incorporates the use of methodical planning and eating of whole foods, nutrients extracted from food, and other sources. The timing of the energy intake and the ratio of certain ingested macronutrients are likely the attributes which allow for enhanced recovery and tissue repair following high-volume exercise, augmented muscle protein synthesis, and improved mood states when compared with unplanned or traditional strategies of nutrient intake.
Source: ISSN Blog
Brink Bottom Line: The ISSN is by far the most forward thinking ‘cutting edge’ science org out there, and always worth paying attention to, and this is one of their better papers.
Full Paper:

  1. Jose Antonio 15 years ago

    Nutrient Timing is the single best (and easiest) strategy in sports nutrition that will enhance gains in performance as well as body composition!

  2. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Agreed. It’s a winning strategy any way you look at it!

  3. JoeMuscle 15 years ago

    Well, since I am taking 09′ off next yr from competing this may be the perfect time for me to test this theory out. Good read, thanks Will!

  4. John Birty 15 years ago

    Pre and post nutrition are the two most important meals you can do in your daily eating plan. Yes, first meal of the day is important and 1-1.5 hours after your workout is important, but none more impotant than your pre and post meal. Pre-meal 25 gr.of whey protien,BCAA, glutimine, arganine, and creatine. 2-5 grams each. Repeat the same for post meal except use 40 gr. of whey protien with 75-100 simple carbs.
    Will enjoy your work keep it up!

  5. Rob 15 years ago

    Hi Will, understanding how important this nutrition is for both pre/during and post, for us simple folk to digest, whats the formula summary?…..what type of protein pre-workout, WPI, casein etc, measurement? with dextrose, measurement?….type of amino acids and measurement etc……then during, and then the same for post workout.
    Please let me know if you have alread posted this.
    Secondly, would this pre-mix be far more superior than a NO of any kind?…..i appreciate your guidence!……cheers Rob.

  6. Author
    Will Brink 15 years ago

    Lots of free article on my site Rob. For example, this one gives advice, based on the latest science, on what might go into the pre/ost workout drink:
    However, this very blog post does exactly that and tells most of what you need to know. Finally, if you really want to know what works, what does not, supplements, nutrition, and training, and save yourself years of wasted time and $$$, I highly recommend you read my ebook BodyBuilding Revealed.
    Good luck.

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