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  1. #1
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    Eating before/after workouts

    Hi All - I've been eating very cleanly and starting a consistent workout routine (cardio on stationery bike or elliptical for an hour 4x-5x a week; strength training 3x-4x a week). Trying to tie in nutrition better with the exercise. I've read about eating a ratio of 4:1 carb/protein after working out to aid recovery, within an hour or so after I think.

    But what about before the workout, and the timing? (Like should it be 1 or 2 hrs before working out, etc.) My goal is losing weight, and getting more fit to be ready when it's warm enough to take the bike outside.

    One more question, what target ratio should I be aiming for on a daily basis (i.e. 40% protein, 40% carb, 20% fat) I'm not sure.

    Thanks in advance.

  2. #2
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    Hi Sunmle,

    I would like some more info before making any recommendations. First, would you like to add muscle mass? How much weight are you trying to loose? Are you doing cardio and weight training during the same sessions, or at different times during the day?

    Adam

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    I've lost 15 already, and looking to lose another 50. Forgive my ignorance, not sure what you mean by muscle mass. I'm looking to tone, lose body fat and increase muscle - so is that a yes?

    The workouts vary, really depends on my schedule which can be erratic. Cardio in morning before breakfast and work, then strength training at early evening usually before dinner. Sometimes though I can't make it in the morning, and I do the cardio after the weights. Some days I just do cardio.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunmle
    I've lost 15 already

    Congrats on that!!!

    As for eating, I always suggest to my patients that they eat carbs the night before heavy cardio exercise the next morning and some sort of protein about 1.5 hours before you start weight training and a lot of protein right after weight training. In your case, I would not worry about taking in any carbs before your cardio work. You want your body to burn calories it already has and not just burn the carbs you eat right before the cardio workout. On a regular basis, you do not need extra carbs for regular cardio workout. You only want to load up if you know you "need to go the extra mile" the next day.

    As for protein intake, I usually have a skinless chicken breast about an hour before weight training, and then a whey protein shake right after. I like the chicken before the gym because it takes a little longer for your body to break it down than a shake and should be available to your muscles during your workout. Whey protein is almost immediately available to your body after you drink it, so it is perfect right after a workout when your muscles need the protein the most.

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    Great, whey protein afterwards is actually what I've been doing, so I'm on the right track there. Thanks for the tips!

  6. #6
    Twincities MN kuan's Avatar
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    Karpems are you a doctor? Can you comment on my theory?

    Carbo load: In theory (mine)

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kuan
    Karpems are you a doctor? Can you comment on my theory?

    I am a medical student with a special interest in sports medicine. I plan on practicing sports medicine full time after i graduate.

    I would be more than happy to!

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by sunmle
    I've lost 15 already, and looking to lose another 50. Forgive my ignorance, not sure what you mean by muscle mass. I'm looking to tone, lose body fat and increase muscle - so is that a yes?

    The workouts vary, really depends on my schedule which can be erratic. Cardio in morning before breakfast and work, then strength training at early evening usually before dinner. Sometimes though I can't make it in the morning, and I do the cardio after the weights. Some days I just do cardio.

    Nice job so far. Looking to tone and lose body fat is the same thing. And unfortunately it's very difficult to gain muscle while you are doing that, you really have to choose one or the other. Of course in the process of decreasing body fat you will look more muscular because they become more visible.

    Keep it up, I also went through the whole thing, loosing about 65 pounds myself.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sunmle
    Hi All - I've been eating very cleanly and starting a consistent workout routine (cardio on stationery bike or elliptical for an hour 4x-5x a week; strength training 3x-4x a week). Trying to tie in nutrition better with the exercise. I've read about eating a ratio of 4:1 carb/protein after working out to aid recovery, within an hour or so after I think.

    But what about before the workout, and the timing? (Like should it be 1 or 2 hrs before working out, etc.) My goal is losing weight, and getting more fit to be ready when it's warm enough to take the bike outside.

    One more question, what target ratio should I be aiming for on a daily basis (i.e. 40% protein, 40% carb, 20% fat) I'm not sure.

    Thanks in advance.
    Before workout is somewhat of a personal preference, and depends on when you are exercising. From a performance standpoint, the goal is to make sure the carb stores are topped up. For me, I find that getting 100 calories or so of pure carb say, 15 minutes before the workout, has a big effect on how well I can workout. This is especially pronounced in the morning - if I've eaten recently, I can go without it.

    My philosophy on nutrition around workout is to try to replace the depleted carbs that I used, so that my blood sugar stays level and I don't get overly hungry. If you're only working out for an hour, the effect will be less there.
    Eric

    2005 Trek 5.2 Madone, Red with Yellow Flames (Beauty)
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    Read my cycling blog at http://riderx.info/blogs/riderx
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  10. #10
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    Yes, your 40/40/20 is correct. If you can do more cardio than an hours worth that would help, hour two tends to ramp up the calorie burn. Also the intensity at which you do your cardio matters, if you're just doing light workouts you may not see as much loss. Sounds like you're on the right track though as you've already lest weight, congrats! You may want to think about investing in a heart rate monitor to gauge how you're doing in your workouts and some have a calories burned feature, but that may not be accurate- more of a ballpark.

    As for your weight workouts, at its most simplistic: high reps with low weight will help you burn fat, low reps with high weight will help you build muscle mass. If you hadn't done much weight work before you will see more "tone" as you do either and the fat comes off, but sounds like your focus is to get the weight off so more cardio and high rep/low weights will get you there sooner. As mentioned above you can't build muscle mass and lose fat at the same time. As the fat comes off you may find you're getting stronger and want to lift heavier weight, which is also good. Your body will burn more calories as your muscle mass increases. Good luck!
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  11. #11
    Where's the pack? race newbie's Avatar
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    There are a bunch of good articles here as well:

    http://bodybuilding.about.com/od/nut.../nutrition.htm

    (there are more links underneath the one you will open on).
    "The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must all pay for success." -Vince Lombardi

  12. #12
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    Thanks race newbie for the added info. I think my strength training is going well, need to step up the cardio. With the cardio I have increased from working at a lower level for 1/2 hour, to a higher intensity for a full hour, and my heart rate is getting better also. I need to keep at it longer though.

    It gets so boring inside at the gym, I can barely last an hour (even with good music), and I'm just a wuss and can't bare to get outside in temps below 50 degrees...so hopefully soon it will warm up a bit. Thanks again for the insight.

  13. #13
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    Just a tip for cardio. I love doing High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). It's basicly sprinting for say, 40 seconds, and then jogging for 20. Repeat for 15 minutes with a warmup and cooldown. It keeps you busy as you need to watch your times. It's a lot more involving compared to just jogging or running for an hour. Also I have always found that intervals always helped me lose the most fat and is the most efficient form of cardio.

  14. #14
    Senior Member Splat-NJ's Avatar
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    I forget what it's called but Hammer puts out a small booklet about nutrition and their products' relation to it. It's an excellent booklet and I've learned a lot from it. I'll eat oatmeal and/or an egg-white sandwich 2.5-3 hours before I ride. By then the food's been digested well enough to not make me nauseous. Post-ride, ASAP, I down a full bottle of Hammer's Recoverite. Great stuff and I felt the results once I started using it.
    Splat

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