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Workout Nutrition: Is it Really That Important?

True Protein Blogger 1 by Adam McCabe reviewed by our Nutrition Team 06 February 2015

You can't out-train a poor diet!' Understand the role of nutrition in your program and how it can make a huge difference to your training outcomes

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Workout Nutrition: Is it Really That Important?


It is no secret that nutrition and eating well is an important factor when it comes to looking and feeling good but when it comes to athletic fitness and model-like physiques, nutrition is king!

Think of your body as a race car. It relies on the right amount of the highest quality fuel and the best equipment available to be able to perform at its fastest and most efficient, and be at the top. The human body is no different and needs the very best fuel you can provide to be able to perform to its very best. Providing those clean, efficient, high quality foods and supplements will maximize your output in every aspect of athletic performance and immune system, through to mental cognition and digestion.

Now imagine fueling your body with greasy and sugary foods. They’ll gunk up inside and provide little or no benefit to running your body at its full potential, leaving you underpowered, malnourished and more like a rusty old tractor than a finely-tuned racing car.

The ability to reach your highest potential first comes from understanding the importance of the right nutrition. Think of it like this, a workout takes roughly an hour whereas your diet and eating habits span the entire day so your plan to reach your goals should consider the ratio 70% diet and 30% training. It really is that important, and remember you are what you eat.


Considered to be just as important as the diet plan itself, timing is crucial, especially around your workout. There are 2 critical nutritional windows that you really have to utilize to get the most from your training program. Missing these golden opportunities means you will actually undo most of the hard work you are putting in at the gym!


The first of these critical nutritional windows is before your workout. Between 15 and 30 minutes pre-workout is your ideal opportunity to provide your muscles with the fuel they will need for an intense training session. If there is no fuel to burn your energy, strength and endurance will slump so your workout is already suffering and your ability to perform is hindered before you have even started.


The post-workout window is the absolute ideal time to lock in those gains you have just had to sweat, strive and grind for in your intense workout. This window of opportunity only stays open for about 15-30 minutes after your last rep, when your muscles are at their most absorbent. Having been depleted of fuel stores and minerals from exertion, the body is desperate to soak up as much as possible and start repairing all those torn muscle fibres.

Whether you provide the nutrients required or not, your body will start repairing itself. The major downside to not providing additional materials for repairing means your body will take those materials from other vital processes and become catabolic (breaks down available molecules). This is bad, very bad and essentially means you are in starvation mode. Staying in an anabolic state (builds new molecules) where your body is rebuilding from the materials you put in rather than stealing them from other vital functions is essential to making progress. After all, you will actually end up going backwards if you don’t fuel those gains.


Athletes, fitness enthusiasts and bodybuilders alike have known for a very long time that exploiting these nutritional windows is the secret to achieving those impressive goals. Whole foods are a great source of all the fuel the body needs but unfortunately, the digestive process just is not quick enough to exploit these windows at the perfect times required.

Wolfing down a chicken breast or a steak straight after your workout just isn’t always viable and this is where supplements come in. Their liquid form means they are easy to consume and are digested very quickly. The vital materials will get to where they are desperately needed in plenty of time to ensure the big rebuild goes to schedule and that every last rep, cycle or step was not wasted!

Your body has a long list of nutrients it needs to deal with the intensity of training and getting them all crammed in can be a task in itself. This is why pre-mixed blends are becoming more and more popular. Being able to replenish nutrient stores, improve recovery, increase strength, improve nutrient uptake, and promote muscle growth all in one go really is the ideal way to ensure you are doing everything you can to make your hard work worthwhile.

Blend suggestions

There are many, many ingredients you can add to your pre and post meals. To give you a few ideas on where to start, here are some of the most important ingredients and the correct dosage required over the two essential windows of opportunity.


- 6g BCAA 4:1:1 Stimulates muscle growth | Boosts energy | Delay muscular fatigue
- 6g Citrulline Malate Increased nutrient delivery | Boosts energy | Increased intensity
- 2.5g Creatine Improves explosive energy | Builds lean muscle | Improves strength
- 1.8g Beta Alanine Increased intensity | Improves strength | Increased endurance
- 1.8g Glutamine Increased protein synthesis | Cell rehydration | Improves Recovery
- 1g Taurine Minimise cramping | Boosts muscular endurance | Boosts energy
- 1g Acetyl L-Carnitine Increased focus | Increased intensity | Increased nutrient delivery
- 1g L-Tyrosine Increased mental alertness | Increased focus | Enhances mood


- 30g Whey Protein Improves Recovery | Builds lean muscle | Builds strength
- 30g Dextrose (or 10-20g for weight loss) Replenish depleted glucose | Maximise nutrient delivery | Fast releasing energy
- 6g BCAA 4:1:1 Stimulated muscle growth | Boosts energy | Delay muscular fatigue
- 2.5g Creatine Improves explosive energy | Builds lean muscle | Improves strength
- 1.8g Beta Alanine Increased intensity | Improves strength | Increased endurance
- 1.8g Glutamine Increased protein synthesis | Cell rehydration | Improves Recovery
- 1g Taurine Minimise cramping | Boosts muscular endurance | Boosts energy
- 1g Acetyl L-Carnitine Increased focus | Increased intensity | Increased nutrient delivery

The suggestions above are quite similar to the blend formulations we have created for True PRE and True POST.


Fats should be avoided at these times as they will slow down the absorption of the nutrients you need. These are guidelines for someone who trains regularly and can be applied to both mass/muscle building as well as weight/fat loss as they are essential ingredients for either.

Your diet and calorie intake throughout the day will dictate your weight gain/loss. If you are on a carbohydrate-controlled diet, be sure to choose an Isolate protein powder over a concentrate as it contains trace amounts of carbs and fats and also reduces the amount of Dextrose to your preference. However, it is important to replenish your glycogen stores so avoid cutting Dextrose out altogether.


The absolute bottom line is a common saying in the health and fitness industry "You can't out-train a poor diet!"

If your nutrition program is your weakest area, either because you're just starting out or you simply don't have the nutritional knowledge you need to get results, then take some time to do a little research from reputable sources and make the necessary changes. Personal trainers can be a great source of this info but the internet with all its wisdom will be sure to give you some good ideas.​

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IMPORTANT INFORMATION: all content provided here is of a general nature only and is not a substitute for individualised professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment and reliance should not be placed on it. For personalised medical or nutrition advice, please make an appointment with your doctor, dietitian or qualified health care professional.


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