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Real Pre And Post Workout Tips For Busy People

Real Pre And Post Workout Tips For Busy People

As I struggle through my day after a gruelling session of Judo (taking up sports like this at age 50 plus is bloody crazy, but hey what do you do?)  I realised that I had to look at ways to recover quickly, rather than just muddle through the next day in a haze of exhaustion.

Nothing happens in a vacuum in life. Generally there is an iceberg principle to the successful execution of anything. Ninety per cent of the success of a venture is the behind the scenes stuff that no one sees.

A boxer gets 50 million for half an hour’s work? No he doesn’t; he gets $50 million for dedicating his life  from a young age to be the best in the world at something. Even the individual fight – it’s 30 to 45 minutes, that’s the tip. But without the training camp, he’s not successful. That’s the part of the iceberg under the water.

When it comes to working out, whether it’s preparation for a specific competitive sport or just to look and feel good, the workout doesn’t happen in a vacuum either.

When I was younger and trained like a maniac I was completely ignorant of this. I shouldn’t have been because it seriously affected the effectiveness of every single workout I performed.

When it comes to weight training, it’s a simple equation. The more weight you can lift for more reps, the greater the training effect is.

Problem is, when it comes to training advice on the Internet, it can be either time consuming, costly or contradictory (or any combination of these 3).

So with that in mind this is my no bullshit guide to what I do pre and post workout, that is none of the above. It’s lovely to be able to have a post workout massage for example but if you workout 4 times a week, work, commute and have family and friends, do you really have time or money for the indulgence of a post workout massage after every workout?

But why should you listen to me? You are listening to the voice of experience that’s why. I’m 50 years old and can still bench press over 300 pounds, with arms that were shrinking (down to around 17 from 18 inches) that I have managed to build back up to over 18 inches again.

And in case you think, oh yeah, but you obviously have good genetics – no I don’t. I was a skinny kid and struggled for every ounce of muscle I ever put on as a young man. I wasn’t naturally strong either. Every bit of strength I got was from putting in the work.

So lets go through the list. I want to go through it quickly and concisely because I don’t want to get bogged down in superfluous detail. The format is what I do, when, and why it works.

1. Half hour prior to workout:

Small amount of cola, with 2 scoops of instant coffee and 5 grams of creatine.

A glass of chocolate milk.

Why?

1. The coffee is a tip I picked up from that Kali muscle dude on the Internet. He calls it hyphy mud. I was skeptical, but tried it. I can guarantee you it works. When I say works I mean it adds sets and reps to your workout. With a given weight you can normally get 10 reps with you will get 17 reps with. Don’t take my word for it. Try it yourself.

2. Caffeine taken pre workout is known to lower post exercise soreness by up to 47%. Where they got that percentage from I don’t know, but try it and see.

3. Creatine has stood the test of time as a supplement. The reason it has is because unlike so many other products touted as the next best thing to steroids, it actually works. When I say works, I say in a measurable way. You can use the tape measure to see it adding size. No staring in the mirror with this supplement imagining you can see the fat falling off and the muscle going on.

4. Creatine helps stimulate natural growth hormone production.

5. The chocolate milk is apparently scientifically proven to help your workouts. It has also been shown that consumption of nutrients prior to a workout assist in recovery after a workout.

The workout itself. No matter what you do, the idea is to stimulate, not annihilate. Work hard, but work within your self. If you are doing weights and you can do 10 reps with a weight, do 8. You’re not a hero for going to the limit, you’re an idiot. Anything you do that is counter productive to your end goals is foolish. This idea alone is worth the price of admission.

Immediately post workout:

Sports drink (I mix from powder to save on cost).

Protein shake with whey protein and creatine.

2 magnesium tablets.

Why?

1. The sports drink has electrolytes that need to be replenished to assist with recovery. You need to look at the formula, but the key ones you really want to replenish are magnesium and potassium.

But aren’t these drinks just sugary crap? So? Post workout there is no problem with a bit of sugar.

Isn’t water better? Does water have potassium and magnesium in it? No? Well I guess not then.

Please note, creatine is better absorbed with a little bit of sugar.

2. The magnesium is essential to replenish the magnesium lost through hard exercise. Replenishing the magnesium helps a great deal with recovering the central nervous system, which is extremely fatigued by weight training.

By the way, I continue to re-hydrate with sports drinks until I feel human again, including all of the next day if I have to.

Half hour after the workout:

5 grams of glutamine.

Why?

1. Glutamine is extremely important to exercise recovery. Ordinarily glutamine is in adequate amounts in your diet, especially if you eat meat and dairy. However, it gets severely depleted with heavy exercise. So to speed recovery, supplement.

2. Glutamine, like creatine, also helps to naturally stimulate the release of growth hormone.

3. You don’t take the glutamine and creatine at the same time because apparently they both use the same uptake mechanism.

Immediately after the workout:

Warm down stretches. I am embarrassed to write this here, because in the interest of honesty, I must confess, I don’t always do it. After a hard workout I know I should, but I am usually knackered and couldn’t be bothered. But – do as I say, not as I do.

Some of you may also have heard of a thing called contrast showers. That is where you alternate between warm and cold water during your post workout shower – bursts of 30 seconds each. So why don’t I recommend them. Well it’s like anything. There are things that are good in theory and there are things that are actually doable. Contrast showers are good in theory. I’ve tried them and frankly, even though the cold shower makes you feel amazing afterwards, the unpleasantness of the cold is not something I can get beyond.

Post workout meal:

Plenty of carbs. Yes, sorry paleo people, carbs are back due to this. Scientists say (I love using that one, completely unsubstantiated) that carbohydrates are essential to recovery from exercise because they help the immune system recover. I didn’t know this, but exercise actually depresses the immune system.

Immediately after the workout and the next day:

Foam rolling. It is something I have recently discovered and now I heartily endorse. I have been told of the benefits of foam rolling before, but never bothered. Now I regret that. When you do it you will notice right away. You don’t need  to spend a lot of time doing it, just a few minutes to get the results. I will expand on the use of the foam roller in a future post.

Finally, do’t forget sleep. This is so important that I am horrified that people see sleep as semi optional. It’s a badge of courage – “I was working on this project and I’ve been averaging 5 hours sleep a night for the past week”.. really? You’re an idiot. It would be nice to have more time in your life to get more things done, but you don’t. Lack of sleep = lack of performance, both mentally and physically.

Now.. a word on cost. I am always mindful of the cost of supplements, because I know there are so many shysters out there spruiking garbage that does nothing at very inflated prices. I also know that the average trainer doesn’t want to go mental and spend every penny they have on supplements.

Glutamine and creatine are both exceedingly affordable. A 4 kg pack of creatine can be bought on the Internet for as little as $70. If you are using 5 grams a day for non workout days and 10 grams for workout days, that will last you about a year and a half of continuous usage, even longer if you take a break from it every couple of months. That’s about 14 cents a day. Glutamine is slightly more expensive but not much more.

Magnesium is the same. A six month supply will set you back about $25.

Finally the sports drink. I buy it on powdered form because that way it costs about 75 cents a drink, as opposed to $3 or more a time.

So there you have it. If you try this, you will find you will get real results at a price that is peanuts.

Image Source: Flickr creative commons.

About The Author

Shaun

A guy obsessed with stripping down whatever field he studies to get the optimum return from effort expended. Sort of like Tim Ferriss, except with zero fame.

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