Don't be afraid of simple carbs before workout

August 25, 2008|By CHAD SMITH

"CC" wrote me a note: "What should I eat before my workout, which is under the direction of a team trainer, and includes cardio, weights, and various machines?"

That's a great question, and depending on who you ask, you could get a rack of different responses. Here's my take.

The importance of pre-workout nutrition has been highlighted by the well publicized nutrition of U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps. I believe people are finally making the connection between food and performance. When you have a Michael Phelps eating 10,000 calories a day and maintaining a single digit level of body fat, it kinda makes you look at your 100-calorie snack bar a little differently.

What you eat before you train can make or break your workout, and largely contribute to how quickly you reach your goal. In my experience, and based on the most recent studies conducted by noted researchers such as Joseph Signorelli, John Berardi and Wayne Wescott, there is a clear best path for pre- and post-workout nutrition. And it is so simple, it's ridiculous.


For strength, ingesting a 2-to-1 ratio of simple carbohydrates and protein before, during and after the workout has been instrumental in producing huge gains in strength and muscle growth.

An easy example of this is combining two servings of apple juice with one serving of whey protein powder. Take a few swigs about 10 minutes before your session, sip on it during the workout and finish it after.

Unless you have a diabetic concern, don't be afraid of the simple carbs in the apple juice. Your body will suck 'em up like a sponge during and after the workout.

My clients have reported more energy and better recovery from my killer workouts after adopting this strategy consistently, and you will, too.

Chad Smith is a local certified personal trainer and fitness expert. He can be reached via e-mail at

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