Diet and Nutrition

Use It! An Eating Style to Nourish Muscles Throughout The Day

We have all heard about reaping the benefits of a good work out. We also know pairing nutrition and exercise catapults these benefits into a whole different level,; and, it is a given, that eating a protein snack 15-30 minutes after working out helps build muscle and increase strength.
What you may not have heard is that an “eating style” is just as important as a post work out mini meal to:

  1. increase (muscle) work capacity
  2. improve performance
  3. boost recovery time from intense activity

In a blog posted by my friend and colleague Johnny Bowden (written by Charles Poliquin) entitled, “TIP 281: Increase Fat Burning During Exercise,”, it seems an “eating style” can fuel fat burning by an extra 66% leading to enhanced muscle composition and performance.
For strength training it means optimal body composition with larger stronger muscles and for high intensity or endurance work outs it translates into improved performance.
The “style” is to eat specific food groups and avoid others while supplementing specific nutrients. Eat a protein and low glycemic carb pre-workout snack while avoiding dairy and fructose. Drink caffeinated green tea and use Omega 3 and L-carnitine supplements.
Avoid foods like cheese or yogurt and most fruits before exercise. It seems protein in dairy and the fructose in fruit (and commercially prepared packaged items) stifle fat burning leading to fat storage via increasing insulin levels.  Fructose also contributes to building lactate acid levels in the blood,, inhibiting the ability of the muscles to work reducing exercise performance.
Eat snacks like these and wash it down with a little green tea about an hour before the work out:

  • hard boiled eggs and hummus
  • sliced turkey and carrots
  • slow cooked oatmeal with almonds

Speak with a doctor before using supplements. Three supplements may be useful for your performance goals.

  1. Green tea has been shown to increase fat burning by 15% for as long as 24 hours. But you may need to use a supplement to provide the amount of active ingredients necessary to attain this effect 400 to 800 mg/day of epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG) and 125 to 625 mg/day of catchins. One cup of tea provides about 25-90 mg EGCG/cup.
  2. Carnitine levels naturally decline with age. L-carnitine (2-6 grams on an empty stomach about 90 minutes pre-workout) carries fat into the cells to help increase fat burning supports heart health and muscle recovery. Read more about the its role in exercise performance,

L-carnitine can interact with thyroid and blood thinning (coumadin and Sintrom).

  1. Omega 3 (2-4g of EPA & DHA) is another supplement with multiple health benefits including insulin and glucose balance. Beyond health and fat storage is its role in balancing muscle growth. EPA and DHA increases the production of muscle (The rate of lean tissue gain, is the rate of muscle synthesis minus the rate of muscle protein breakdown), helps minimize muscle inflammation and soreness too,

Fish oil may interact with Birth control pills (make fish oil less effective), high blood pressure medication ( fish oil may enhance blood pressure medication so you need                  less) blood thinners and Xenical.
Using an “eating style” to help build muscle and minimize muscle breakdown instead of just focusing on a post exercise snacks (for muscle repair)  will optimize work out results because there will be a better balance of muscle nourishment throughout the day.
Gonzalez, J., Stevenson, E. New Perspectives on Nutritional Interventions to Augment Lipid Utilization during Exercise. British Journal of Nutrition. 2012. 107, 339-349.
Fernandez, J., Da Silva-Grigolettos, M. A Dose of Fructose Induces Oxidative Stress During Endurance and Strength Exercise. Journal of Sports Science. 2009. 27(12), 1323-1334.

About the author

Valerie Goldstein

Valerie raises the bar for health and nutrition know how with unconventional expertise and unconditional support for wellness.