For those that don't know I find Alan to be one of the smartest in the field of sports nutrition. Top five to me. So when he speaks I listen. Here are some of his thoughts on pre and PWO. Hope everyone is having a good holiday weekend. (I decided to keep the following original guidelines up because they're still valid, & not much different at all) INTRO GOAL CLARIFICATION & THE NATURE OF OPTIMA pre, during, & postworkout nutrition is different for different sports. most of the data on this subject pertains to endurance athletes, and doesn't necessarily apply to bodybuilders. this is the classic conflict of arguments when different goals aren't clarified. what i'm gonna discuss is nutrition for bodybuilding resistance training, so let's get that straight before we dive in. another important concept to bear in mind is the fact that nutrient timing is of secondary importance to total amounts of each nutrient. i also want to make it clear that we're nitpicking over what's OPTIMAL. for example, total amount of carbohydrate is in fact more important than its glycemic index. it's important to note that there are quite a bit of confounding (validity-challenging) variables related to GI, which i covered in depth here. keep in mind that it's the general theory and format that you should focus on, because there's no way that i can provide a comprehensive list of example meals without boring myself to death, and everyone has their personal taste. INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES variations in total amounts will be determined by your general body mass & individual phyz, you'll just have to trial & error it out as with all plans. littler guys will do fine at the lower ranges, mega-mooses will do well at the higher ranges, and average joes will find the middle of the ranges to be good starting points from which to monitor progress. i'd like to make it perfectly clear that this article is an attempt to cater to the majority of trainees who may read it. as with all advice from ornery oracles, you MUST adapt it to your individual response & measure it against your progress, or lack thereof, and adjust accordingly. i highly recommend that you feel free to go "outside of the lines" of what i've written if/when necessary, and find out what works for you as an individual. the concept of trial & error being the ultimate judge - despite sound theoretical starting points - is not emphasized nearly enough in tutorials. without further ado... PRE-PREWORKOUT: THE GLYCOGEN FACTOR glycogen is the limiting fuel for exercise in the glycolytic range of the energy substrate continuum. this means that even though bodybuilders aren't gonna be running marathon or growing impotent from sitting their asses on a hard bike seat doing the tour de france, glycogen is still important for muscular work in the rep ranges that primarily cause hypertrophy. many bodybuilders i know are on a "permanent precontest" phase, and keep their carbs low no matter what, and are really frustrated with their gains. actual amount of total carbs daily is another discussion, but suffice it to say that it's really tough to gain muscle - no matter how much protein you're chuggin' - when you're constantly averaging below 2/3 of your bodyweight a day in carb grams. this may be warranted on a cyclical basis for some folks during a precontest cut, but for general purposes & gaining muscle, you're better off averaging somewhere above this amount -- unless you've either been pathologically afraid of, or ****bolically challenged by carbohydrate for a long enough duration for your body to adapt & get by on amounts chronically lower than this. PREWORKOUT OBJECTIVE the objective here is to promote sustained carbohydrate & amino acid availability, minimize muscle catabolism, and spare glygogen as much as possible. it's important to note here that research is quite conflicting on the issue of GI & exercise performance. much of the latest studies show no real difference. the actual amount & physical nature of the meal depends on how soon your schedule allows you to eat or drink before training. there are at least 2 acceptable scenarios.. COMPOSITION scenario one: a solid, full-sized balanced meal finished 60-90 minutes preworkout consisting of 30-60g protein (0.2-0.25g/lb target BW) + 40-80g carb (0.33g/lb target BW). there are endless examples of how this can be constructed, & heres just one: ---- 5-8oz of any type of land or sea animal flesh ---- 1-2 cups of whole grain product or starchy vegetable or legume /or/ fistsize sweet potato, etc. Have your preference, focus on total amount rather than food subtype. ---- 1 or more cups fibrous vegetable like salad greens, broccoli, cauliflower, asparagus, spinach, kale, cabbage, onions, even carrots, etc, etc [or] scenario two: a liquid meal or shake finished 30-0 min preworkout: ---- 20-50g protein (0.15-0.2g/lb target BW). Whey is preferred for its BCAA content & gastric tolerability for most. ---- 40-80g (0.33g/lb target BW). Any fruit works well here, so does old fashioned oats. a solid case can be built for a combination of both. whether you include water/milk is a matter of digestive tolerance. milk just gets the anabolic/anticatabolic cascades rolling for those in a severe hurry to gain muscle. adding fat to this shake can slow the release of nutrients & benefit those who train for significantly more than 90 min, offering extra protection against energy dips - especially if you don't consume a dilute carb solution during your workout. note that most people will do fine without the fat. to reiterate the factor of individual differences, don't be afraid to go outside of the listed guidelines & exceed the upper limit of listed carb intake as needed to power you through your training. conversely, don't be afraid to dip below it given your gastrointestinal tolerance for exogenous substrate during or pretraining. DURING WORKOUT OBJECTIVE the same objectives as the preworkout meal apply here (to promote sustained carbohydrate availability & to a lesser degree amino acid availability, minimize muscle catabolism, and spare glygogen) - with the added objective of maximizing water availability & minimizing gastrointestinal upset. COMPOSITION again, be aware that we are talking bodybuilding workouts and not triathalon training. i am an advocate of keeping it simple and watering yourself down thoughout the workout with.. you guessed it, pure water. if you did your homework with the right construction & timing of the preworkout meal (& of course if you're sipping your preworkout shake during training which is fine too), there's little need for the bodybuilder to take in much else. now granted, if you were a boxer, triathlete, soccer player, basketball player, or marathoner at risk for catabolizing a lean mass and jeopardizing your liver glycogen status by trudging away for far past 90 minutes continuously in an endurance event, definitely sip the gatorade-type 4-8% carb solution throughout the workout, and shoot for 40-60g carbs/hr. there's a huge body of research that shows the benefit of that tactic.