Key Nutritional Windows for bodybuilding



Are you missing out on a key nutritional window?   

Peri-Workout Nutrition – Arguably, the most important “meals” of your day when trying to build muscle. I’m talking about the meal before the gym, the “meal” during your workout and the meal after the gym. Let’s break each down and why they are important.  

Pre-workout Meal – Provides the energy needed to power you through your workout. The last thing we want is to try and lift some heavy ass weight on an empty tank. Ideally this meal should be composed of all three macronutrients. Protein, carbohydrates as well as fats. Protein will provide the amino acids necessary to kick start recovery. Carbohydrates will provide the immediate glucose needed for energy. I also like to see a little fat in that meal to slow down digestion, so we don’t run through our carbs and protein too quickly and gas out mid-workout.  

Intra-workout Shake – Pre-workout nutrition goes uncontested in the world of bodybuilding but now we step into controversial territory. This “meal” truly depends on the person’s goal, individual metabolism and how far out the pre workout meal was consumed. I would say at bare minimum here it’s wise to have an EAA blend to keep a constant flow of free-form amino acids in the bloodstream. We want things here that are easily digested to not disrupt the blood flow from our workout. We want blood going to the muscle not the gut to aid in digestion. You could go with an easily digested carbohydrate source here as well depending on the conditions stated earlier.   

Post-workout Meal – Ideally, this meal should take place within 1 hour of the workout. This meal is here to kick start recovery, recover blood glucose levels back to baseline and supply our body with needed nutrients for growth. Our muscles become like a sponge after a workout, ready to uptake nutrients so at this meal I like to see all three macronutrients again and a solid amount of micronutrients from veggies or fruit depending on personal preference and goal.    If you are on the go an easy way to hit these meals is by using Formula19.

Being a fast predigested carb source that does not cause bloating makes this product an easy substitute to any of the meals above. Make sure to read IFBB Pro Gennifer Strobo’s article on Glycolog as well to see why these are a perfect pair for the peri workout window!   My personal favorite meals for this period are below. I like my pre workout meal to be lighter on the stomach personally. Intra will completely depend on what phase of my programming I am in. Post will depend on what I’ve done intra plus what my hunger levels are like during that phase of my programming.  

Some recommendations on flavor mixing as well for intra are:

For a post shake my favorite combos are: