It has been preached many times that you need to get your post-workout meal right in order to promote proper recovery and growth after training. So much so that protein, carbohydrates and fats are closely analysed to ensure you are maximising results from your post-workout meal. It is also touted that your pre-workout meal is important for ‘fuelling’ your workout. This why some people consume a protein and carbohydrate rich meal approximately 1-2 hours before heading to the gym. However research into the benefits of a protein and carbohydrate rich pre-workout meal have been lacking until recently.
Gentle et al (2014) recently looked at the effects of a pre-workout meal on muscle breakdown. The study looked at markers for muscle breakdown across 2 different subject groups;
1. Carbohydrate (1 g/kg) + Protein (1g/kg) group
2. Carbohydrate (2g/kg) only group
Meals were consumed 90 minutes prior to the exercise protocol with blood samples taken throughout.
Gentle et al (2014) found that muscle breakdown was significantly lower in the Carbohydrate + Protein group as opposed to Carbohydrate only group. Other results also indicated that shooting accuracy during the basketball task was better in the Carbohydrate + Protein group in the 4th quarter compared to Carbohydrate only.
Results indicate that consuming a carbohydrate and protein rich meal is beneficial to reducing muscle breakdown. Although the study looked specifically at basketball players, using a basketball protocol, the basketball protocol consisted of explosive movements such as sprinting and jump height which makes the results applicable to weight training and other sports that require explosive movements. These results indicate that your pre-workout meal composition can be vital to your recovery and growth from each session as well as enhancing your performance within each training session.
Whilst the results of this study may be obvious to some who already consume a carbohydrate and protein rich meal, this is one of the only studies to re-enforce this point and prove the benefits of a pre-workout meal.
Gentle et al (2014), A randomised trial of pre-exercise meal composition on performance and muscle damage in well-trained basketball players, Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 11:33 – http://www.jissn.com/content/pdf/1550-2783-11-33.pdf