Feel like getting smarter? Read this whole post 😉


Workout of the Day – “Tater”

look who's back!

6 rounds for reps/calories of
– 30 second bench press
– 60 second row
– 10 second rest/transition back to bench

Use a weight were you can get 15-20 reps for the first round, then things will go down hill from there 😉
We last did this workout on Feb 20th, you can check your old weight & score here.

Deadpan threw a couple questions my way yesterday. Usually, it take at LEAST a month for me to get to answering her. But in my effort to be a better coach to all of you, I’ve decided to answer them “for time.” Here goes.

Hi Max,

I was reading Robb Wolf’s blog on protein shakes(link) and eating carbs post-workout(link) and I actually only have 1 question per topic (only 1??):

– Protein shakes, specifically post-workout – what actually happens within my body when I ingest this within 45 mins-1 hr after my workout? His article emphasizes that real food will always be better and I won’t argue there, but he also kinda made it seem like protein shakes are straight-out useless. I swear I feel less sore when I’m taking the post-work out shake but it could also just be all in my head. I know you mentioned during the Nutrition seminar that because there isn’t much fiber, if any, in the protein shake, the excess protein will just get flushed out of my system rather than my body holding on to it and extracting nutrients over a period of time.

Without having read either article (yet), and with total reverence to Robb Wolf (he’s WAY smart), let me give this a shot. 

The value of a post-workout shake varies according to the workout. I, like you, find that a reasonable post-workout shake makes me feel pretty damn good. The general idea with protein shakes is two-fold.

  1. the desire to get protein back into the blood stream (& therefore muscle) to repair the muscle breakdown that’s happened during a workout. (Reminder, we breakdown muscle during a workout, especially heavy ones, it’s the time in between workouts, recovery, when we’re becoming more awesome)
  2. to replenish blood sugar, and by extension, glycogen stores within the muscle.

On the first one, the general research says that whey protein gets taken up into the blood stream very quickly & the follow-up theory is that it is then readily available for muscle repair. So, according to this theory,  protein shake after workout = good.The catch here is also what you mentioned, as in “How long does the protein stay there/How long is the protein available for repair/How long do those repairs take?” All great questions, and there lies the concern with “shakes.” Because of the lack of fiber, and the fact that they really are “food” in the “pick it or kick it” sense, most protein/post-workout shakes don’t hang out for long in your system. I know that, depending on the workout, it can feel like days before I’m up to par again, and by then that shake is long, long gone.

On the second, this is the reason that companies make a specific “post-workout” shake that is higher in carbs than a “protein” shake. The idea here is that you want to replenish blood sugar, and muscle glycogen stores. You’re also highjacking the insulin response to transport more protein into the muscle for repair & synthesis (remember insulin is a storage hormone that tells the cells to open up & let stuff in? -that’s what we’re attempting to apply here). The trick here is that your blood sugar after a workout should be relatively stable, maybe a little on the low side, but well within the normal range. Muscle glycogen may, indeed, be very low, depending on the workout, and your body will be working to replenish it. It’s also really hard to tell from workout to workout how much protein & carbs you need post workout. There’s no practical way to measure it, and even if there was, can you imagine mixing up a different shake after every workout, weighing & measuring each ingredient? Ugh. So, instead, they up the carbs of the post workout shake, with the idea that you’re working hard enough to need it. Also, post workout, you are more insulin sensitive, meaning that you’re going to have a “better” response to the carbs in your system, this is just healthier in general, as well as being something we could potentially take advantage of with our post workout nutrition, whether from a blender or stove-top.

– Eating carbs post-workout – I know you mentioned during the nutrition seminar that if I wanted to eat carbs, post-work out would be the best time, but are there actual benefits to doing so? And what does he mean by “I think there are activities/work outputs that just run better with SOME glycogen” under the “Can’t everything be Fat Fueled?” section? Is he talking about those WODs that straight kick my ass and I’m left shaking on the ground afterwards for a few minutes?

See! Shorter than usual.

As far as having carbs post workout, see “On the second…” above.

As far as activities being more glycogen or fat-fueled. I think what he’s getting at there is that due to different systems being called upon during different types of workouts, some are fueled better by fat, and others by glycogen (sugar). I don’t know of studies off the top of my head, but I do know a LOT of guys anecdotally, myself included, who really feel stronger and do better on heavy workouts or a more CrossFit Football type workout when a little hungry or on an empty stomach. These tend to be more fat-fueled workouts, in that it’s a about a big boost of speed/power, with time to recover. In these cases, your recovery has more to do with oxygen (breathing) than local glycogen stores. Once you get out past 12 minutes or so, then you start tapping the glycogen, and fatiguing those metabolic systems as well. This is usually where you hit that first little wall in Cindy, or the longer workouts we do. At 10-12 minutes, you’re feeling good, and cranking along, thinking “I’m gonna KILL this.” Then the metabolic pathway changes (into more of a long-slow distance kind of thing), and you start to slow down, doing only 5 rounds in the last 8 minutes when, if you could’ve kept up the pace, you would’ve done 8 or 10.

So yeah, 5×5 heavy back squats, and Fight Gone Bad can both be miserable workouts, though in completely different ways. Some of this is because of the metabolic pathway being used to make you awesome.

Once again, this is ALL of the top of my head, and I still haven’t read the articles, so given more time to research specific points, we could have a lot of fun getting into this, and I’ll see what I can do. I make no claims that I know all the answers and reserve the right to change my views as I continue to learn. Until then, keep firing away!