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Pre-workout snacks/meals


prasantrin
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That's not a diet; that's a death sentence!

Even when I'm restricting my calories, it's a rare day to see me under 3000... :blink:

Nonetheless, it did work.

Here's a snapshot from about a month ago (Monday, 1/23/2006):

Meal 1: Whey/casein shake with 2% Lactaid

Meal 2: Salad with grilled chicken breast

Meal 3: Whey/casein shake with 2% Lactaid (pre-workout meal)

Meal 4: Seared tuna steak, five-pepper salsa, steamed veggies (post-workout meal)

Meal 5: 2 cans of water-packed tuna with Mrs. Dash

Also six fish oil capsules and about a gallon of water.

Total: 222 g protein, roughly 30 g carbs and about the same amount of fat. I probably broke something like 1300 calories there, about 3000 less than what I usually consume.

I wouldn't recommend this for most people who want to lose weight, but it did work for me. If you want more details about the diet, send me a PM.

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Wow, there is a lot of really bad advice on this thread. I would really suggest you (or anyone) consult a book or website on the subject. There is plenty of information out there to clear up most questions. In my opinion, this thread would do more to confuse than actually help...

Just one man's opinion

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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There's a lot of bad advice in books, from physicians, friends, nutrition experts, and fitness experts.

The thing most people need to realize about pre-workout snacks and meals is that you shoud do some playing around to see what works for you. Some people like me, can just go and go and go without worrying about eating, not eating, eating large amounts, etc. Others can't.

A book is great for getting some ideas, but the thing is, people still need to go out and find if things work for them. A lot of the advice that I've seen on this thread is vaguely valid because it really has worked for someone. Whether that's placebo effect, or otherwise, doesn't matter. As long as it gets the person through their workout, that's one step better than they were before. And that's the cold, hard truth about the fact.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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There's a lot of bad advice in books, from physicians, friends, nutrition experts, and fitness experts.

The thing most people need to realize about pre-workout snacks and meals is that you shoud do some playing around to see what works for you.  Some people like me, can just go and go and go without worrying about eating, not eating, eating large amounts, etc.  Others can't. 

A book is great for getting some ideas, but the thing is, people still need to go out and find if things work for them.  A lot of the advice that I've seen on this thread is vaguely valid because it really has worked for someone.  Whether that's placebo effect, or otherwise, doesn't matter.  As long as it gets the person through their workout, that's one step better than they were before.  And that's the cold, hard truth about the fact.

Yeah, well you can eat anything and get through a workout. The person asking the question doesn't need us to tell them that. I assume the person who asked the question wanted an answer with a little bit of science behind it. If you want to answer that by just saying "do what works for you", I don't think that really adds to the discussion. I'm sure the person is aware that they can do "what's right for them", what they want to know is what's best for them. From that point of view, there is a lot of bad advice in this thread. There is a lot more science behind well respected books and websites than there is in some guy telling me to eat simple carbs before a workout, or lots of protein immediately after.

That's all I'm sayin'...

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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I'm still reading! And don't worry, I've not been scared off, nor am I accepting everything as truth for me. I had a general idea of what I needed, but was looking for specific examples of what people usually ate (knowing, of course, that each person would have a different answer).

I like the idea of using other nut butters--they're a bit expensive in Japan, but alternating them with peanut butter will help prevent peanut butter overload. I've also started eating cottage cheese (also really expensive in Japan--I don't know why!) with some fruit (not just for workout days, but as a late afternoon snack, too).

I love trail mix/granola/GORP, but I used to eat them as snacks all the time. I kind of fell of that wagon (I found some raisins and walnuts in my desk yesterday--they're probably from before summer!). It's portable and good to have around as a snack anytime of day.

I'm going to start experimenting with different foods--see what helps me through a workout (cardio or otherwise) and what doesn't. What works for some people doesn't always work for others (as someone else mentioned). And a lot of the ideas are great quick breakfast ideas, too, so even if I can't use them as workout snacks, I can use them for breakfast.

I'm actually trying to build up my muscle endurance, too, so I'm going to be increasing the number of reps/set using the same weightload, then probably end up with sets of 24 reps. Unless I get bored with my current circuit, that is. I do a form of supersetting (I do back-to-back opposing muscle groups, but I give myself a 15 second rest between sets).

Thanks to everyone for their advice, and keep the food ideas coming! I might give in and try a whey mix one day, but I'd have to find them, first!

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I think that what one eats pre/post work-out depends on what kind of excercise one is doing, and what one's goals are.

I run 5-6+ miles when I work-out, and my reason for working out is not losing/maintaing weight, but for my physical and mental well-being. I work out at 2pm, so I have a balanced, substantial lunch at 11am (protein, veg, complex carb, h20). If i ate later, I would get ill during my run, and if I ate less, I would definitely crash.

Post work-out, a muffin and a decaf-soya latte.

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Yeah, well you can eat anything and get through a workout. The person asking the question doesn't need us to tell them that. I assume the person who asked the question wanted an answer with a little bit of science behind it.

Yes, but a little bit of science can easily be debunked by a little bit of novel physiology. There are lots of people who will simply yak if they work out on a full stomach. There are a lot fewer people who can eat a 6 course meal and go run a half-marathon... or people who can stop in the middle of a metric marathon and drink 2 beers and continue on.

Also, and here's the big thing: the science behind how to effectively fuel yourself is primarily a procrastination ploy and excuse-generator. We know the real way to physical fitness is hard work. But, we'd rather have a "quick" or an "easy" or a "secret" way.

But, maintaining your weight, keeping it off, or gaining physical fitness is just like running a marathon: don't start too fast, and never, ever stop. Diet barely makes a difference to normal slugs like me, except in extreme cases (like race day on a marathon). It makes a lot of difference to Lance Armstrong. But, there are orders of magnitude difference in performance levels.

And, yes, I have a good idea of it. I have wrestled (and dieted) for more than a decade. I have run marathons, fenced, ridden centuries, and currently work in a fermentation engineering lab where we optimize all sorts of diets for bacteria and yeast. After all of that experience, I can definitely tell you that diet is fairly well in the realm of diminishing returns for the work-a-day job/exerciser.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I usually do Pilates and pretty hard-core yoga, so pre-workout eating tends to be high in protein with some carbs to keep me going and lots of water for hydration. The form that all takes depends on the time of day and what I feel like and how much time I have. I really try to avoid anything heavy before a workout, but don't stress too much about specifics.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Yeah, well you can eat anything and get through a workout. The person asking the question doesn't need us to tell them that. I assume the person who asked the question wanted an answer with a little bit of science behind it.

Yes, but a little bit of science can easily be debunked by a little bit of novel physiology. There are lots of people who will simply yak if they work out on a full stomach. There are a lot fewer people who can eat a 6 course meal and go run a half-marathon... or people who can stop in the middle of a metric marathon and drink 2 beers and continue on.

Also, and here's the big thing: the science behind how to effectively fuel yourself is primarily a procrastination ploy and excuse-generator. We know the real way to physical fitness is hard work. But, we'd rather have a "quick" or an "easy" or a "secret" way.

But, maintaining your weight, keeping it off, or gaining physical fitness is just like running a marathon: don't start too fast, and never, ever stop. Diet barely makes a difference to normal slugs like me, except in extreme cases (like race day on a marathon). It makes a lot of difference to Lance Armstrong. But, there are orders of magnitude difference in performance levels.

And, yes, I have a good idea of it. I have wrestled (and dieted) for more than a decade. I have run marathons, fenced, ridden centuries, and currently work in a fermentation engineering lab where we optimize all sorts of diets for bacteria and yeast. After all of that experience, I can definitely tell you that diet is fairly well in the realm of diminishing returns for the work-a-day job/exerciser.

You're right. Science is bad. Anecdotal "evidence" from a small group of people on the internet is good. :blink:

I knew a guy who smoked, drank, and ate like crap. Lived till he was 92. Instead of using scientifically proven principles of health, let's follow his lead. I mean, we all know marathon runners who died at 31, right??

"It's better to burn out than to fade away"-Neil Young

"I think I hear a dingo eating your baby"-Bart Simpson

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You're right. Science is bad. Anecdotal "evidence" from a small group of people on the internet is good.  :blink:

I knew a guy who smoked, drank, and ate like crap. Lived till he was 92. Instead of using scientifically proven principles of health, let's follow his lead. I mean, we all know marathon runners who died at 31, right??

Now you're catching on!

New York Times on why science doesn't always make sense.

The thing you're missing is that diet is a multi-body problem, which means that there are local maxima and minima, but there is never one solution. What works in one case, will not work in all cases. The thing that's important in pre-workout snacks and meals is the workout, not the snack or the meal.

What's even stranger, is that you can train yourself toward eating, not eating, having a water-only fast, eating after, eating only chips, etc, etc, etc, and it will all work for you once you get past the initial lag phase of the training. We are amazingly tunable, metabolically speaking.

I always attempt to have the ratio of my intelligence to weight ratio be greater than one. But, I am from the midwest. I am sure you can now understand my life's conundrum.

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I like the idea of using other nut butters--they're a bit expensive in Japan, but alternating them with peanut butter will help prevent peanut butter overload. I've also started eating cottage cheese (also really expensive in Japan--I don't know why!) with some fruit (not just for workout days, but as a late afternoon snack, too).

what about making your own hummus? chickpeas are protein, aren't they? i don't like peanut butter, so i use hummus instead.

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I often exercise late at night as well. I usually just make sure that dinner had some carbs and that I drink a lot of water. Otherwise, I wouldn't be too concerned one way or another.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Today I made an interesting observation. I didn't get much to eat this morning--just a bit of granola with milk for breakfast, then at 11-ish I had some cottage cheese with fresh pineapple. I didn't get to eat again after that, and went to work out at 2. There was a big difference in what I could lift. It was much more difficult for me to complete my 2 sets/12 reps, and I could only complete half a set of my last exercise (dumbbell fly--my muscles were trembling so I ended my first set very early on).

This is hardly an observation based on scientific principles, but it seems to point to needing more sustenance before exercising--for me, at least. I just have to figure out if it was timing, quantity, quality, or a combination of any or all of the above that reduced my energy levels.

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If I work out first thing in the morning, I do on an empty stomach.  I have never had a problem with lack of energy.  However if I go straight after work without anything since lunch ( I typically eat a good lunch) I run out of steam very quickly, especially jogging.  What works for me is to have a small bowl of cereal and a cup of tea or coffee just before.  Thisl makes the world of difference.  I guess the caffeine gives me a boost.

Flagging energy levels after work are usually caused by mild levels of dehydration. Try for several days to drink significantly more water at work and see how you tolerater exercise at the end of the day.

Jsolomon

I took your advice and really made a big effort to drink a lot of extra water in the afternoon. It really worked. Not only was my energy level normal but I added an extra mile to my usual 4 mile run. That was just the firzst time however, I will continue to do this and see if this was indeed the problem.

Thanks for the good advice! :biggrin:

Jenny

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I work out--well I do now sigh--at around 3-4pm most days.

Lunch is usually at 1 or so. I need to work on the protein thing. I don't eat a lot of protein, mostly because I don't like meat much. I'm a carbovore, that is, nirvana is a huge bowl of mashed potatoes or pasta. Hell would be a steak. LOL.

Right beforehand, I've been doing fruit, but I need more than that. Maybe milk, I think.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Have you tried lentils or beans? Nuts? Lentils especially are more of a carb food, but they have a lot of good protein as well (and taste just plain delicious when done right). Dairy of all sorts would be good, too - yogurt, cheese, a big glass of milk.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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Ah see, the problem with dairy is that I go to the gym after class. It's tropical country here, so I can't bring it around with me. Then there's the fact I'm fussy about dairy, and there's no supermarket closeby--my school's in the business district. So milk is my only option, since I can pick it up at 7-11 or something, though I do love my yogurt.

I do nuts. I've a bag of pinenuts I can bring on Monday, and daddy brought cashew nuts from his last trip to Myanmar. I can buy roasted chickpeas too.

Excellent! Thank you, Tejon!

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Your best bets are almonds, peanuts, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds (REALLY high in protein!). Perhaps a trail mix made up of nuts, seeds, and dried fruit would be portable and great before working out.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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  • 2 weeks later...

This thread got me paying more attention to how I feel during a workout. The my last couple of interval classes (think lacrosse practice but with suburban moms), I've had more energy and stamina. One morning I had eggs, the other I had a bran muffin with almond butter. So I'm thinking the protein was a real bonus there.

Here's my problem. I've started running, and I'm getting stitches (my term for that sharp cramp in your side that causes you to slow down enough to breathe). I know part of the issue is that I don't have that much time between breakfast (generally 7am) and getting on the treadmill around 9:30. I also do a pilates class at 8:30, so I don't want to go completely without morning sustenance. I think I've probably had steel-cut oats on those days. Should I opt for something else? Maybe a banana to avoid the cramping?

Bridget Avila

My Blog

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Steel cut oats have a lot of staying power, but not a huge amount of protein. I'd add in some nuts or grab some yogurt on the side in addition. Stitches *can* be related to a lack of enough calcium, so the yogurt could help there as well, but I'd play with what you eat beforehand and see what works best for you.

Kathy

Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all. - Harriet Van Horne

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If you are trying to lose weight/drop fat I believe the best thing to do is workout first thing in the morning on an empty stomach. I know it sounds radical however I have spoken to many personal trainers about this and as long as you are not exercising to maximum capacity i.e. sprinting or lifting heavy weights it is the most effective method.

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I was about to ask for opinions about that, except not in regard to hard workouts. This is far from vigorous or rigorous, but recently I've been taking most of my daily walk/runs -- I'm a fast walker and a slow runner -- in the evening after dinner. It's been getting hot during the day, and the evening air is cool and refreshing. It feels good and it feels healthy. Weeknights, the usual is: dinner around 7 or 8, the walk/run about 8 or 9, bedtime about 10 or 11. Does anyone else enjoy a walk or run or light workout after eating dinner?

Life is short; eat the cheese course first.

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