Pre & Post Workout Nutrition

Victor Martinez Gives You the Lowdown

1) Do Intra-Workout Shakes Power Workouts?

 So many guys drink intra-workout shakes with BCAAs [branched-chain amino acids] and simple carbs in them while they train. It never made sense to me that we would need those shakes if we are eating a couple of food meals with protein and carbs prior to our workouts. Do you drink intra-workout shakes or just water when you train, and why?

      The only thing I will ever have in my water is BCAAs when I train. You have to remember that your body needs energy and a blood supply in your stomach to digest anything. And when you train, you want that energy and that blood supply to go to the muscle you’re working. If you’re drinking shakes loaded up with protein and carb powders, now your body has to basically divide its resources between digesting those and fueling the muscular contractions and your pump. I want to focus on my workout, and I want my body to be able to focus on it too. The only exceptions I will make to this are if for whatever reason, I started training a little later after eating my last meal than I had planned on. To avoid going catabolic, in that case I will sip on some protein and carbs during the workout.

2) Have a Post-Workout Shake, and a Big Meal an Hour Later

 Do you prefer a shake or a real meal after training, and why?

      I like shakes for the simple reason that my appetite is just not there right after a workout. I could get down a few bites and then I would be full. But if it’s a shake, I can get down 70-80 grams of protein and 60-100 grams of carbs right away, then hit a nice big meal an hour later.

3) Pasta as a Perfect Post Workout Meal

 Whenever I see diets listed for bodybuilders, the carbohydrate sources are usually rice, sweet potatoes and oatmeal. Why isn’t pasta usually eaten? I’m trying to gain weight, not get ripped, and pasta is something easy for me to cook and mix up with ground beef, ground turkey or even just chopped-up chicken. Is there something wrong with pasta, and should I not be eating it?

      There’s nothing wrong with pasta at all. It’s great for gaining weight, especially for guys with higher metabolisms. I still eat pasta in the off-season. People tend to avoid it because they associate it with getting fat. Sure, if you eat a giant plate of regular pasta and meatballs with a quart of heavy tomato sauce every night, along with a few rolls of bread and butter, you will probably get fat! But you can get whole-wheat or even gluten-free pasta these days, and have it with ground turkey or turkey meatballs and just enough sauce to give it flavor. That’s actually a perfect bodybuilder meal, especially to have post-workout. Pasta gets a bad rap these days, mostly because it’s the type of carbohydrate the low-carb dieters point to as being the worst, but it’s not so bad.

 4) Best Post-Workout Meal

 I’m a little confused about the post-workout meal. From what I understood, you’re supposed to have a lean protein source along with a complex carbohydrate so that it digests faster and gets into your system to start the whole repair process for your muscles. That would mean egg whites, chicken breast, turkey breast or white fish. But I hear about a lot of pros who will have steak instead. I think Ronnie did that in a couple of his videos, for example. What do you recommend? Should I go with the leaner protein sources, would red meat be better, or does it really matter?

      Pre-contest, I will have chicken at times but more often I will go for white fish because that’s what it takes for me to get into really sharp condition. I won’t ever eat white fish in my pre-workout meal in the off-season, because it digests too fast and then I’m starving halfway through the workout. Pre-contest is different, because I will suffer as much as I need to. In the off-season, I like to have chicken or ground beef with pasta as my pre-workout meal. It helps me stay full and gives me good, sustained energy throughout the workout.

     I do think ground beef is a better choice than steak for your post-workout meal in general, because it digests a little easier than steak does. A lot of guys do swear by the fastest-digesting protein sources like egg whites and white fish for their post-workout meal. The only thing to keep in mind if you do that is that you’ll probably be starving again in less than two hours. Personally, I think if you’re having a post-workout shake with BCAAs, it’s probably not that critical which protein source you have in your meal a little bit later.

Victor Martinez Gives the Lowdown On Pre & Post Workout Nutrition