By: Riaan van der Walt

What Should We Be Using Before, During And After Training?

A massive amount of advertising exists, creating hype, myths, and poor advise around supplements for exercise. In this article, I hope to cut through all that and get to the truth of the matter from someone who is not trying to sell you any of these products. Sadly, covering this topic completely in one newsletter is tough, so I will be brief, and stick to these 3 headings. Before exercise, during exercise and after exercise.

Before Exercise:

Timing is most critical here. To get the most out of any exercise session, you should not start training fasted…so Do eat. But, it is also important not to eat anything solid within two hours of any exercise session. This would make you feel nauseous. For the vast majority of us doing the standard exercise session like a gym routine or run, this should be your standard meal as part of a normal day. It is only on the morning of a very long distance race day such as a half marathon or greater that you need to become highly specific about what are you eating.

During Exercise:

Consider for a moment what one of the major reasons is that all of us to some form of exercise. For me, a big part of it is weight management. Trying to keep myself at a low and a healthy body fat percentage. This means that fuelling myself during training sessions destroys one of the major benefits of the training session itself, this being that I burn more energy or calories than I take in, so my body has to use fat. The only exception to this, is an exercise session which is longer than a half marathon. For true endurance activities like full marathons, seriously long-distance mountain bike races and so forth, it is critical to take in some high GI energy like a fuel supplement or shake. The reasons for this are complex, but basically it is an essential part of long-distance exercise.

After Exercise:

This is when most people are interested in building muscle mass after a training session, would drink a protein shake. The question is, is this necessary? Let’s take a step back to answer this: the most amount of protein that any person can use to build muscle mass, is 2g/kg of their bodyweight/day. (Most of us only require 0.8g/kg) this is for the extreme athlete trying to bulk up radically! Calculating that forward into the food, that means myself at 85 kg can only use the protein from about 400 g of meat per day as a total maximum. That is before I have one slice of cheese, one peanut, one sip of milk or anything else that also contains protein. So ask yourselves, what is my body doing with the excess protein from a protein shake? The answer is, converting it into fat and storing it. Unfortunately, this rings tree in the results of virtually all of my clients who are very serious about bulking up their muscle mass and using protein shakes to do it. The vast, vast majority of them are struggling to reduce their body fat percentage despite their extreme levels of exercise.

In Closing:

Although there is a massive culture shifting towards using a powder, tablet all shake to achieve some of the hard work necessary for good health and physical results, the truth is the good old-fashioned way of eating right and exercising enough is how it is done… Best of luck!

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