Up until recently I held the view that the most important aspect of workout nutrition was the post workout shake. It is made up of at least sugar and whey protein powder although I will sometimes add glutamine and creatine to it. The goal of the shake is two fold – first, large doses of high glycemic index carbs will cause a huge release of insulin which will promote energy transport into the cells and secondly, supplying the body with protein and anything that the muscle cells will need to fully recover when insulin levels are high will result in a great cell uptake of these nutrients.
Over the past few months I have been taking large doses of BCAAs before and during my workouts on the belief that supplying my body with the materials it needs to regrow BEFORE my body starts to break-down protein may prevent my body from breaking it down. Check out my rationale for why BCAAs will increase the likelihood that you will increase lean body mass. My experiences with them have caused me to alter my view considerably. If the goal is to prevent the body from entering a catabolic state during a workout, waiting until AFTER a workout to consume the protein shake is already putting the body at a disadvantage from a growth stand point. You are in a much better position if you don’t take the steps backwards (entering a catabolic state) before you enter the anabolic state.
The approach I am taking now is to consume some dextrose (high glycemic index carb) and whey protein before I start my workout. I may consume BCAA’s during the workout if I’m training a large body part (legs) or doing a higher volume or intensity workout. So far it seems to be helping. I’m finding that I have more energy and I’m getting a better pump in the working muscles.