My previous post seems to have stirred some interest and a fair amount of confusion. Should one use carbs post workout or not? If so how much, and when? Like a great number of situations, how we manage our post workout nutrition depends on where we are and where we want to go. If you have followed my previous ramblings you might be familiar with the orientation I use for most of my decision making: How does a given decision affect Performance, Health and Longevity. Similarly, how does a given decision affect how one looks, feels and performs? Given all this I’m going to tackle post workout nutrition (PWO) first from the perspective of shoring up health, then performance, then longevity.
Low Carb PWO-Why
When we talk health and longevity we are talking insulin management and carbohydrate flux. For many people insulin resistance is more important to deal with than performance, at least initially. If one is sick, or just less than optimally well, it’s tough to imagine optimum performance. Also, from a purely aesthetics (gasp!) perspective we might want to lean out for summer and not be a fatty. That was certainly my situation and I feel a good bit better at sub 10% body fat, especially when Chico is a balmy 106*F. I have tinkered with higher carbs PWO for several months and my signs of insulin resistance were simply not budging. I still have some cortisol issues that are likely driving some of this…multi time zone travel really kicks my ass! So I finally wised up and went back to what has worked so well for me in the past.
I re-read the article by Mauro Dipasquale, and thought back a bit to what Poliquin had recommended to me at the Biosignature seminar last year: No carbs PWO, not till one is LEAN. For men that is below 10%, for women below 15% and in both cases, no sign of insulin resistance (high insulin readings at the love handles).
The Purpose of the PWO meal can vary based upon desired effects. Fasting produces a different effect from both low carb and high carb PWO meals. People get pretty spun out about which way is “right” but it’s really just a spectrum of options. In this situation the PWO meal of whey protein + coconut milk is providing quickly digested protein which will reverse catabolic actions of training, with just a bit of fat to suppress the normal glucose release of a large protein meal via glucagon. This would not be the end of the world but part of what we want with this PWO meal is the MAINTENANCE of insulin sensitivity. If we totally top off our glycogen stores PWO we impair insulin sensitivity and make it damn tough to lean out. So, one way to look at this is the a LC-PWO meal is focusing on muscular recovery and growth, while minimizing or limiting the effects of insulin or carbohydrate. This is in stark contrast with what we will see in the case of the high carb PWO meal. From my perspective this is THE PWO meal of choice from a health promotion standpoint. Insulin management, cellular stress mechanisms, hormesis…all the crap I’ll cover in the book are adressed when we choose a LC-PWO meal MOST OF THE TIME.*
Low Carb PWO-How
I used ~ 50g of Whey protein from a brand called Isoflex. It’s a mix of whey protein isolate, hydrosolates, glutamine peptides, some insulin sensitizers and other goodies. I ran with a vanilla flavor that is sweetened with sucralose. To this I added about ¼ can of coconut milk (legit Thai coconut milk…hardly any English on the can, not Whitey watered-down crap!) and 2 heaping tablespoons of coco powder. I shot this concoction down as soon as I wrapped up my CrossFit Football or ME-Black Box session. Recovery was good as in I was not particularly sore and miraculously, I started to lean out again, especially when I upped my fish oil to about 15g/day (Kirkland brand). Overall I was getting in less than 50g of carbs per day and feeling pretty damn good. Strength was solid, short met-cons were “ok” and I started to look like someone who “strength trained”.
Low-CARB Reality Check
If you are a strength oriented athlete you might thrive on this regime. Low carb in general, one or two higher carb meals per week (or maybe not). You will NOT however win the CrossFit Games or optimize performance in longer Met-con oriented activities. Several of the folks in the comments section were a little startled by the protein+fat PWO meal which seems completely at odds with what I talk about in 42 Ways to Skin the Zone. It is simply a different tool for a different situation. If one is overweight or showing signs of insulin resistance, a low carb PWO meal is the way to go. Solid food is just fine and likely even better.
Can’t everything be Fat Fueled?
This is a sub-category of low-carb reality check. In general, I think there are activities/work outputs that just run better with SOME glycogen. I have noticed in myself and in some other people a surprising level of work output while in ketosis…but I still think there is a bit more to be had from a properly glycogen fueled athlete. This article from the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism sheds some light on the opportunities and possible limits of a fat-fueled existence. Keep in mind, even if you do not EAT carbs, your body makes some. This might be a natural way to structure training…what hepatic (liver) glycogen production can support…but we will look at that in the book!
High Carb PWO-Why
In the LCPWO scenario we are concerned just with the anabolic/muscle growth aspects of recovery. This MAY play towards performance if our game is strength oriented but it will likely NOT do us many favors if we desire to be the CrossFit Kid or some other glycogen dependant athlete. The HC-PWO meal becomes appealing when we need to replenish not only damaged muscle tissue but also the glycogen stores that fire intense activity. We can do this a dumb way (perfectly balanced protein/carb/fat meals the same proportion, every day, all the time) or we can be smart and take advantage of heightened insulin sensitivity PWO to fly protein and carbs into our muscles with less of a hit from insulin. In this scenario we should see not only solid muscular recovery due to our protein intake, but also rapid glycogen repletion due to the smart carbs we throw into the PWO meal. How much carb/protein is a great question and I honestly do not have a perfect answer. If you have followed OPT’s Blog you will have noticed that he scales the amount of carbs and protein based on volume/intensity of an effort and percent body fat. That friends, is damn smart. I know of some fairly technical formulas that involve weight, duration of activity and some other factors, but it all relates to fairly static state endurance activities. I find it tough to extrapolate much to the CrossFit world from this information. A nice rule of thumb I have found effective is find your Zone block allotment. From this use about ¼ of your daily protein for PWO meals, and ½ your days carbs PWO for “big” WOD’s, ¼ of your day’s carbs for “small” WOD’s. This does not mean you need to weigh and measure every meal, just use this as a tool to find a nice PWO carb/protein level. By the numbers this would look like: My block allotment would be 17 blocks. PWO protein would be 4-5 blocks, PWO carbs would be 4-8 blocks. Huge variability? You bet, you need to pay attention to how much carbs you need to recover from a given beating. This IS where writing down what you eat pays big returns.
What about Multi-event days?
Glad you asked, I hear there is this thing, the CrossFit Games looming in the near future. How should one fuel/refuel for events? You should have figured a bunch of this out already…now is NOT the time to alter your game plan dramatically but the formula above is a good place to start. I’d say most WOD’s would necessitate 50% of the days carbs PWO. If you have three WOD’s you are obviously not following Zone parameters today! You should have easy to digest foods (yams+ applesauce is a goody) as is a shake you know you tolerate well. A little protein is good for balancing things out, nuts are good for between event snacks. Whey protein in the yam+applesauce=damn yummy and very useful. Nothing new on game-day…gas while running “The Hill” seems like a horrid day.
High Carb Reality Check
I hope you see that a spectrum exists here…if I throw 10g of carbs into a PWO meal, it’s still pretty “low”. This is where people need to understand a little of the theory and then just get in and tinker.
I also had an asterisk* up above. It denotes the fact that although a low carb PWO meal is preferable for health, for longevity I think an OCCASIONAL HC-PWO meal is of benefit for a variety of reasons. Some of what I will cover in the book relates to two facts which seem at odds:
What is the metabolic profile most associated with EFFECTIVE aging? Answer: the ability to metabolize fat for energy.
What Helps to ensure this profile? OCCASIONAL bouts of glycolysis (large amounts of carbs).
To this end, once one is healthy, but following a low-carb approach drop in one HC-PWO meal every 5-7 days. Post burner is a perfect time.
Grab my Paleo Troubleshooting Guides
This printable, infographic-style download that will help you troubleshoot some common problems with the Paleo diet. This has been requested literally hundreds of times from readers and podcast listeners, and we’re happy to finally debut these guides. It has a special section on fueling for athletes.
How to use these guides
On the main page, select what area you need help with:
- Fat loss
- Eating for autoimmunity
- Fueling for endurance
- Fueling for power athletics
Then follow the easy-to-read flowchart to help troubleshoot or structure your individual approach to the Paleo diet.
Ryan Whitenack says
I discovered your site a few weeks ago and really like it, though I have not had a ton of time to explore. That is my way of saying sorry if you have discussed this earlier.
My questions are:
what timing should be taken with these PWO meals?
If I was going to do the LCPWO, how long after my workout should I consume a shake?
How long after that should I have a meal?
And what if I take a carb heavy Creatine Glycogen loader (Volugro byt Nutrex 60g/serving, though I take less than that)–when should that be taken?
This supplement is over the 50g you discussed, so would it be wise to just have that and no other carbs during the day?
I think I know the answer to some of these, but I am always interested in alternate POVs.
If it helps: M,29, 79″, 225, just started MEBB training after 2month Starting Strength routine
PWO meals need to happen ASAP. Subsequent meals can be 45-60 min. Re-creatine+ carbs: I don;t know your goals so it’s tough to recommend things. Are you carb intolerant? if so, bad idea to do the carb blast. Same as in the main post, you need to earn your carbs, then use the based on goals.
Good stuff as usual! Two questions:
1) What is the effect of fasting PWO?
2) I’m assuming the 15g/day of fish oil is total fish oil, not just EPA/DHA?
How long of a fast? How long have you already BEEN fasting? Was it strength work or Met-con? How well rested are you? Under ideal conditions we’d see a maintenance of insulin sensitivity and adaptation towards fat metabolism. Under sub-optimal conditions we see sky-high cortisol and muscle wasting! It is a very subjective thing.
Fish oil is ALWAYS referring to EPA/DHA! Otherwise we have no real idea what number we are talking about.
Sean Sparks says
EXCELLENT! Thanks Robb!
Matt Charney says
Excellent post Robb, you covered a lot of info on this one post. Doesn’t mean you can slack off thou. Keep it up and good luck with the book, can’t wait to read it. Oh I guess I have to wait.
Edward Stedman says
Great info. Your posts always add a little bit more knowledge to my library, which makes my dietary experimentation more foundational and accurate. I’m really looking forward to your book. I know it may be some time before it is ready for purchase, but do you have a target date?
Also, are you going to be making it back to Texas anytime soon? We’d love a Nutrition Cert down here!
No target date yet. Hoping for early ’10. I think it will be Matt and Bobbi who do he next cert in your neighborhood. They will get more airplay on the site in coming months.
awesome post! thank you for all the great information! absolutely can’t wait for the book!
Kevin Drury says
Great post Robb, that clears up a lot.
Brett M says
Thanks for the informative post. I’ve had good success in leaning out with berries and chicken breast PWO, but I think most of the leaning has been due to finally implementing IF. I will definitely give the coconut milk + protein shake a try.
What are your thoughts about fasting after a workout, and the meal one finally eats when breaking that fast? I’ve been fasting 2 hours beyond my workout two days a week to keep the HGH going, and I’ve been treating my first meal as a PWO meal (see berries and chicken breast above). Is one as insulin sensitive two hours after a workout as they are right after, if they’ve been fasting? Should I switch up the “fasted PWO” meal just like any PWO?
And, by the way, I hope the work on the book is going well. I’m stoked to pick it up whenever it hits the shelves.
Ton-o-questions brother! IF is beneficial to the degree it’s…beneficial! You just ned to tinker and se how you do. Sleep and a host of issues can make it a bad idea. YOu are likely still quite insulin sensitive after a WOD+IF but I do not know how it rates compared to just post WOD.
Robb great info on the post wrkt, is hydrosolates a form of msg, do u believe in L-glutamine powders at all should u cycle them.
hydrosolates are not MSG, I like glutamine plenty.
AWESOME post! I can’t wait until your book comes out!
Kyle S. says
I hate to barge in on this post but I have a question for you. Lately I’ve been reading some of Chris Masterjohn’s work and listened to a few interviews he gave (his website is http://www.cholesterol-and-health.com.) Anyone who puts cholesterol and health that close together qualfies as a pretty down individual. He’s a big advocate of WAPF and has some pretty interesting things to say about cholesterol, which I mainly agree with him on. However he is pretty much adamanty against PUFA to the point he comes across as anti-fishoil. He reasoning is the the PUFAs are highly oxidative and this leads though a long chain of horrible events heart disease. It makes much more sense when you read his work or hear him speak. Just wanted to see how you view the issue.
I like his stuff a bunch. This is just a whole complex topic: Ketosis decreases the need for n-3’s, it helps restore insulin sensitivity…but so does n-3’s by a variety of mechanisms and I see it work MIRACLES clinically. N-3’s DO increase oxidative stress but only up to a point and with plenty of vegetable matter in the diet it becomes a non-issue. Cordain is not a fan of high sat’d fat intake ut he acknowledges that high cholesterol (LDL) is only a piece of the puzzle and under low carb environments the whole metabolic environment changes.
Robb, I’m beginning to think you can just take your blog postings and compile them into the Cliff Notes for your book?
Good stuff all around, as always. Lots of Paleo converts out here in the ATL to greet you in November. I’m thinking of t-shirts: “Paleo: This Sh** Works!”
P.S. – Just for you and Nicki, Bacon Mayonaise: http://bitten.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/08/25/introducing-a-recipe-contest-with-prizes/
I wish like hell I could just repackage this tripe and call it a book! It will be a good bit more than that…hopefully!
I’m in on the T-shirt design. I have another idea that HQ will “love”:
Paleo Diet: Pseudoscience since 5 million BC
Bacon and mayonnaise…perfection!!
In your response to Chris, you said “Fish oil is ALWAYS referring to EPA/DHA! Otherwise we have no real idea what number we are talking about.”
Now with the Kirkland caps, they’re 300mg of EPA/DHA each. So to get a total of 15g/day you’re consuming 50 daily?!? Sorry if this is beating a dead horse (or fish in this case), but I want to make sure I don’t overdo a good thing due to misinterpretation. Thanks!
That is correct, and keep in mind, this is a dosage is for the sick, the injured. this is NOT a maintenance dosage!! That is about half what I am currently doing.
I see that your taking 15g of fish oil…Is that all in one bang or spread out over the day? Does it make a differance? I clearly am not taking enough 2.4g…This post helps, I was a bit confused after reading “42 ways to skin the Zone” I’m going to try no carbs after WO..Thanks for all of your info it has helped me look at my eating in a totally new way…Can’t wait to get the book!!
It is a lot. Maintenance dose would be more along 7g, I will taper to that as I lena out.
Ben W says
Awesome stuff man! The cortisol thing is an issue for me aswell. When I started sleeping less ( 6-7 hours) because of work I definitely noticed I wasn’t as lean. Everything is super tight as far as training and eating goes for the Crossfit Ontario Challenge coming up, but is there anything else I can do to help with this? Thanks man!
Just keep an eye on your recovery, use contrast baths…make your taper and peak WORK for you. I;ve consulted with a number of people who have never heard of the concept of tapering and peaking. It’s hugely important.
Robb the low carb thing absolutely works…I’m doing less than 50 grams a day over 4 meals — broccoli and sometimes an orange with the protein being salmon/turkey/tuna and a little olive oil for fat.
Have leaned out quickly and I don’t have hunger issues. The issue I did have was an upset stomach. Is that natural? I know you’ve mentioned it somewhere on the blog. Dropped 6 pounds first 3 days of low carbing. Wonderful results, thanks for all you do.
Too much Broccoli, not cooked enough. This is like CrossFit GERD! Folks need to mix up their broccoli with other veggies and not be afraid of cooking their veggies to aid digestion. digestive support like NowFoods: Super Enzymes is also a great addition. 1-2 caps with meals.
Toby Shell says
I just want to make sure I’m understanding right. 15 grams of EPA/DPA fish oil. That is 50 Kirkland pills a day?? That is a lot of nasty fish oil burps!!
No burps for me…try the enteric coated variety (twice as concentrated also) or a liquid form like Nordic Naturals.
Gabe K says
Can you help a bit with a justification for the quantity of fish oil and why it shouldn’t be counted towards dietary fat consumption. I have a friend, who’s a trainer, and is wondering how this is easily explained to a person already nervous about dietary fat.
Since .5g/10#bw is quite a bit…how do you mitigate a person’s fear of dietary fat and get them to just DO IT?
ps…i’ve been doing this quantity for a couple weeks and i feel quite good..
Justify…well, it works! There is ample literature to support this, far more anecdotal support. We have kinda beat the fat-phobia out of our clients and even the new folks rolling into the gym know we are sharp on our nutrition and get people results. If I’m working 1-on-1 with someone I insist on full buy-in for a month. I do not do a lot of explaining, they just need to do it, especially if they are a weight loss client. People will get so hung up on arguing details instead of DOING. I simply do not entertain that crap anymore and oddly enough, our clients get amazing results and our gym has grown like wild-fire. Much of the process is as simple as this “Give me one month of full investment and you will be amazed with the results…”
It works on many levels.
Nicolas Gomez says
Great blog entry!! I regularly follow your blogs. Keep up the FANTASTIC work!
I have couple of quick questions:
1. Is there any particularly reason for using coconut milk (has quite a lot of saturated fat) post workout and not some other high fat source? Other than of course it might taste really yummy! ?
2. When will your book be out?
Nicolas from Copenhagen, Denmark.
It mixes well, tastes great and the mono-lauric acid has some interesting properties. Book, hoping for early ’10!
Phenomenal article, as always! I’m looking forward to your cert in Edmonton next month. I’m wondering about your fish oil dose; 15g of combined EPA/DHA seems extremely high. What is your basis for this amount? Wouldn’t anti-platelet aggregation be an issue, or is there a gradual adaptation back to normal INR profiles?
Off topic: Never did hear back about the acetic acid and enhanced glycogen repletion. 🙂
Just something I’ve been tinkering with. Depending upon your source, this level of EPA/DHA intake is well represented in the ancestral environment. For me it really flicked the switch towards insulin sensitivity and really accelerated leaning out. Interestingly, nicks ad cuts I;ve sustained recently do not bleed excessively. I suspect once I get quite lean that will change and this si when I will titrate down the fish oil. I might even do a coag-panel and track things that way. Sorry about the acetic acid gfollow-up…I WILL get it someday. Keep pestering me!
Any special reason for the cocoa powder Robb?
Chocolate is delicious. It has antioxidants, but that is 2nd fiddle to flavor!
Ben W says
Thanks Robb! I will definitely use the contrast bath method. I’ve got 2 weeks left before the challenge, will definitely ease off and work on skill work the last week most likely. Looking forward to the nutrition cert in Toronto Oct. 3rd. I’ve read just about everything i can get my hands on with this stuff, ill be the geek asking all the questions! Cheers man!
Chris LaLanne says
Great work Robb! Thanks for clearing that up for us… wondering what to eat and why following a WOD seems to be a perpetual question. I believe your perspective, “how does a given decision affect, health, performance and longevity?” stands alone as a reference for solving some very relevant issue we are facing as a society! Can’t wait for the book. See you at the games my friend!
It can be a little overwhelming for folks at first to realize they have options in how they eat based on current situations and goals. But, they get to go to folks like to you sift through the details, receive great coaching and get better results than they thought possible. Not a bad gig all things considered!
See you soon!
When you say a little fat, does that mean that I should not be giving myself 3 blocks fat for every block of carb that I take out? Zone says I should be on 14-15 blocks…I uped my protien blocks because of an earlier artical to body weight in g(170lbs). I’m currently trying out 26P-6C-38F, now no carbs after WO.
If the purpose is leaning out then we are generally thinking a modest overall amount of fat vs a mass gain phase in which 3/4 can of coconut milk might go in the shake. Just keep in mind your goals and modify accordingly.
Beth B says
another great post robb
Just wondering about fish oil. I can only afford a dosage of 3g a day, would it be better to perhaps take 6g every 2nd day? Any thoughts?
3g/day is fine.
Hey Robb first time posting here what a great resource. For these PWO shakes is there a max on the protein your body can handle? I’m in a building phase and doing MEBB and trying to get to 1g/lb bodyweight which sometimes is tough as i’m 215. So sometimes I load up my PWO shake with 60+g of protein. I looked for a while online about this and it doesn’t seem like anyone knows for sure. The most reasonable thinking I found was that ancestral eating habits would seem to support large capacity for protein absorption. Definitely not the 30g max the protein shake people say….
Def NOT the 30g max. For most folks 40-50g is likely a good dose.
Robb what do u consume on rest days should one drop the pwo carb and trade it for veges, what would u say if one did cf endurance on rest days would u still have a pwo carb
Yep, rest days shoot for more low-GL carbs. Obviously however, this is all predicated on one’s goals. If you are not recovered for your next training session (and you are performance oriented) then you might need to keep a little higher GL carbs in the mix (fruit for example).
If you are doing CF Endurance it’s NOT a rest day and yes, you should likely do some PWO carbs.
Robb your knowledge and feedback you provide to us, is vey appreciated
and then some.
Great post. I was wondering why you add fat to the post wod meal and not just put the whey in water. Is there any benefit to fat post wod? Doesn’t cocoa powder have carbohydrates?
The cocoa has a few carbs, nothing to worry about. The fat blunts the release of glucose from the liver in response to the protein. Protein alone will tend to release some glucose from the liver. We want to prevent that in this specific scenario.
Ido Portal says
funny thing, two month ago I started tinkering with a similar aproach. Low carb PW, with lots of fat added. The only difference I tried to shoot for a more varied fat sources to go along with some whole protein concentrate. (I do not use isolate anymore, trying to get all the cofactors there together with the aminos)
What did they say about minds thinking alike?.. I am humbled.
You ALWAYS lead the way my friend!!
Completely off topic, but found this link for Subway (the sandwich place) which shows which items are safe from a whole range of allergens.
Pretty handy for strict paleo folk or those with health issues:
Legit! Thanks chris!
Gabe K says
She gets some stuff right..but this might make you boil a bit!
Yea…I honestly think she appears to be “ok” because she does not go into many specifics. If she really spewed forth her position on this I think we’d be horrified.
What’s your max and maintenance amounts recommended for LEO/MIL athletes?
About 2g/day which is what we would see from a simple dietary shift. this should still be safe.
…for fish oil.
First time poster here. First off, thanks a lot for all the useful information. Just a quick question: how long will that coconut milk PWO shake last? Will I be able to mix it in the morning to be used in the afternoon without too much refrigeration in between? Thanks for your time and keep up the fantastic work!
Not really sure on that…Chico is upwards of 105-110 so NOTHING lasts without refrigeration. I’m just not sure on that.
So, I’m planning on tinkering with a ketogenic diet and this PWO topic has cropped up at a great time.
Any chance of explaining the mechanism for how Glutamine can be used to replenish Glycogen – I’ve googled but not much info.
How much glutamine is needed here? 5-10g or higher?
In very simple terms the glutamine is converted to glucose via gluconeogenesis. You can google on that term for more info. 1g/10lbs BW.
Rob, I’m doing mainly heavy lifting now and I drink my shake during the workout between sets -I find it helps keep me going. Does this make any difference to your PWO recommendations?
Sounds good to me. Hit another PWO and you are likely set.
Just wanted to let you know that I had the shake (1/2 cup coconut milk, 2 scoops chocolate whey, 1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder, 1 cup water) last night and it was amazing! Better than any other shake concoction that I’ve ever had and I felt great afterwards. I’m looking forward to the next workout just so I can have another one. Good luck at the affiliate games!
Whats the best method to determine how many grams of protein and fat I should be intaking? What role do net calories play in losing fat or gaining weight?
Read Natural Hormonal Enhancement or the Anabolic diet…this should get you moving in the right direction.
Rob, curious what your thoughts are on how to evaluate various whey protein supplements.
For instance, I have a buddy who produces this product:
Is that acceptable or not?
Kyle, Owner CrossFit Charlottesville
P.S. You should do a nutrition cert here!
There are jsut a million products to choose from. I like something that is relatively clean, mixes easily…perhaps has some goodies like alpha lipoic acid but that is not a deal breaker. The one you mentioned looks fine. Shoot an email and we will get you on the books!
Ryan W says
Thanks for responding to my post. I was the first poster, and I have some follow up to your post. (I think the care, time, and effort you put in here is amazing; I have gone back to the beginnings and have been reading your posts..very interesting.)
I’m not big on taking creatine, but I figured I would give this product (VoluGro) a shot because its previous formula (Vitargo) had worked well for me strength-wise about 3 or 4 years ago. I just finished the tub I have so I am off of it now. I did notice good things from it while doing the SS routine–if I missed a dosage following a workout I noticed decreased return in the next workout.
I don’t know how to answer if I am “carb intolerant” or not. I would say yes–I have Celiac disease and rice can make me feel worse than wheat. Potatoes are okay so long as it is in a form that is not whole, and corn has never given me any noticeable trouble. Sorghum based beers make me feel worse than regular beer…Wow given all this I would say I am be carb intolerant.
Back to the creatine supplement: something about VoluGro made me feel good, which I can’t say often for carb-based foods. On off days I would take a small dosage, and if I waited until the end of the day to take it, sleep would be well in the future; it would keep me up for upwards of four hours (an oddity because a symptom of my Celiac disease causes me to normally fall asleep with no struggle).
This has already gone too long, so 2 questions to end:
Can you direct me to a place for clarification on “earn your carbs”? and
If on a LC diet, what would be a good amount of carbs (in grams) to consume in a day? (79″, 228#, goals- lower body fat%, increase lean body mass, reducing chronic back pain to more effectively do strength/oly training, and an eventual re-conversion to CF and rowing)
Check out the “questions of strength” or whatever that column is at T-bag…it was a poliquin dealio to “earn one’s carbs”. At brass tacks it relates to insulin sensitivity and hormonal status. Less fat is better. Carb level is jsut somehting you need to play with but between 50-100g to start is a good spot.
Quick off subject question, I recently started working with a type 1 diabetic who is complaining of headaches (pre workout, during, random times) since putting her on the paleo approach (methinks or at least thats when she started complaining about them). I know her porition sizes have decreased but I was wondering if youve got any suggestions to help a brother out on possible correcting this problem. I also read your other amazing post on Type 1’s and got a lot of info from that. If you need any more info I can get it and shoot it your way.
Thanks so much for any help.
I could do a consult but there are so many variables it would be tough to hammer down with just email/blog info. One must be careful with the Type 1 diabetic and crossfit…it is common to see a marked increase in blood glucose PWO due to the intensity of exercise.
Thanks for all the great info!! I’m going to give the under 50g of carbs a try to drop this stubborn 20lbs! I’ve read through alot of your posts trying to find the answer but just to confirm, do you only count the non-fiber carbs towards the 50? Also, I had tried to make it simple, on a 13 block a day plan with just veggies, lean meat and olive oil that totals to around 1250 calories. Is that a safe number for weight loss? Any recommendations would be appreciated. Thanks!
You are right on the fiber/carb issue. I have no idea if that is enough blocks! Look through the FAQ for Zone resources on blocks!
Congrats to your affiliate for such a strong showing in the affiliate challenge. Great job!!!
Robb can you recommend some good whey protein powders, and what should we be looking for in a protein powder?
For this purpose a whey protein isolate with some whey protein hydrosolates is great. There are just tons f brands…find a clean variety that you like and it is good to go.
You mentioned that fat is needed to blunt the release of glucose from the liver in response to the protein. How much fat is needed? Is there a ratio?
If memory serves it’s about 15-30g…you could research “protein glucagon release” and find what level of fats blunt the glucose release…I’m just running from memory here.
What is your take on a Greens supplement in a post workout protein shake? Any concern about the Non-GMO soy lecithin ingredient?
I like green good sups just fine…It sounds like you have a specific product in mind…soy lecithin does not freak me out. Not my fave but it has uses.
I’ve noticed some lag lately during my WODs as well as being generally tired throughout the middle portion of the day. I’ve since upped my fat to 3x from about 1.5x and have noticed a slight improvement. This leads me to my PWO question.
Your suggestion of “¼ of your daily protein for PWO meals, and ½ your days carbs PWO for “big” WOD’s, ¼ of your day’s carbs for “small” WOD’s” immediately following a WOD and then another meal 45-60 minutes later leads me to wonder how to schedule the remainder of my meals for the day.
I am male, 31, 170lbs, about 9% BF. I wake at about 0530 and eat before 0630; therefore I need to eat again prior to my workout (at about 1130). With the PWO and then another zone balanced meal 45-60 minutes later, I am 4 meals into my day with about 7 hours to go. Not only that, but I seem to have consumed the majority of my carbs for the day by now as well. Is this PWO meal in addition to your block prescription (mine is 16 x3F)? If not, how would you structure your meals throughout the day?
Thanks a ton,
I have been looking for this information for a couple weeks now…thanks for sharing your knowledge.
I lost about 30lbs on the Zone and CrossFitting 3-on/1-off being very strict and staying away from the high glycemic carbs. I decided to up my fat from about 1.5x fat to 3x fat a couple weeks ago due to being really lean and feeling like crap during my WODs. In general, I am still feeling really tired in the middle of the days (I generally get no less than 7 hours sleep) and I know I can feel better during WODs.
I am on 16 blocks P/C and 48 blocks F. I wake at about 0530 and eat (4 blocks) at about 0615. I then snack (2 blocks) at about 1030 and workout at about 1130. I wait until ~1430 to eat (4 blocks) and then again at about 1900 (4 blocks). Right before bed (~2145), I have my last snack (2 blocks).
How would you suggest I implement a High Carb PWO into my eating routine. I suppose I am correct in assuming that the formula mentioned (¼ Daily P & ½ C for “big” WOD’s, ¼ C for “small” WOD’s) is not in addition to my Zone prescription of 16 blocks. Eating a zone balanced meal about 45-60 minutes after this PWO is also recommended too, correct? My main concern is with with my ability to perform well during WODs; I like being lean, but performance is my goal.
Thanks a TON!
Pre-post WOD nutrition is where you will find the biggest improvements in your training. Try putting more carbs both pre and post WOD and see how you do. You may bump your blocks up at some point…jsut have to tinker!
Jason Arp says
Great post Robb. Welbourn said recently at a CFFtball cert that you played around with some milk for PWO. Just wanted to know what you thought and what the results were. I’ve added a little in my PWO with my meat and sweet potatoes just to get a get a good mix PWO, I’m only a couple days in but it’s feeling good so far. I’m 6’3 220 (not sure what BF i am but i’m sure it’s between 10-15) so i wasn’t sure it was a good idea for bigger guys or not. Anyways my other question is how much fat should be added to PWO and what kind? I’m guessing it’s just something to play with to see what works for you but i wanted to ask. Sorry i know i always have long posts. Thanks Robb I really appreciate it
The milk is perfect if you are trying to gain weight/muscle. Id just keep an eye on the fat gain as it can pudge you out!
Fat PWO of for LEANING OUT…it is a low carb approach so make sure you are picking the right approach for your goals. A little fat (2 tblspoons) if you are leaning out, 1/2 can of coconut milk if you are mass gaining.
Any thoughts on this as post WOD fuel??
There are many people who want you to say it’s ok 🙂
Nice find! Now to experiment…
I’m a 47y.o. male. 5’10”; 208lb; 25% B.F.
Goal is 10% B.F.; 175ish lb.
I train alone in a small city with no CF affiliate & follow CrossFit Calgary’s WODs on a 3on/1off schedule. I’ve been training regularly since the beginning of March and am seeing some fitness improvement but the nutrition part of the equation has been a work-in-progress. Unfortunately, unable to attend your Nutrition Cert in Edmonton.
After your last blog about consuming 1/2 the daily carbs PWO and after reading 42 Ways, I decided to do that but now with this blog, the cloud of confusion has descended.
What I was setting up for diet was this:
Wake at 4:30a.m.
CFWU & WOD from 5:00-5:45
1 can water-packed albacore tuna with 2 blocks of strawberries &/or blueberries. Eat this at 6:00am.
I make a 4 blockish salad of 4-5 cups spinach or other dark greens, 2 bell peppers, cucumber and tomatoes with 50ml of an olive/canola blend oil, lemon & lime juice. I split this into 3 more-or-less equal portions and eat every 4 hours along with 4oz of lean roast beef.
I also take, daily, 7g of a PGFO(EPA-400mg/DHA-200mg) some VitE, CoQ10 & some Hyaluronic Acid & a glucosamine/chondroitin blend (mild arthritis in both shoulders).
My sleep habits have been an impediment as well, I’m guessing, as I tend to only get between 5 & 7 hours of sleep nightly.
How do I adjust all this so that I can most effectively/efficiently reach my target?
If leaning out is your goal then go lower carb. This is right in line with 42 ways to skin the zone. It is the reduced carb approach for the DIHTEAT.
So when doing the low carb i had my shake exactly to a T like u do. But the problem i am having is do i balance my blocks out for the rest of the day by the less carbs add more fat. Or do i try and keep it a 4-2-5 meal comparative to the balanced 4-2-12. I’m on a 17 block zone and i was just curious how the rest of the day goes.
Look in the FAQ brother! Also read “42 Ways to skin the Zone”. I’ve covered this a ton in previous posts and in the FAQ.
ok thanks man
I guess the Real question is when leaning out And u add the fat is that gonna be to much fat while trying to lean out. say i am 17 blocks i eat 7 carb blocks which the math would be to be balanced 47 blocks of fat is that to much i guess is the real question
Should not be a problem.
Robb I’ve read all your more recent stuff on mass gain and leaning out, and its great stuff thanks for sharing.
One thing I remember coming across in the collection of forum stuff was that you seemed to be in to BJJ training for a while there. Was wondering how you would view the carb demands of grappling in retrospect?
I’ve been into BJJ anywhere from 2-4 sessions per week for the last year or so and it seems like a tough one to characterize in terms of glycogen demand. Highly variable intensity levels etc.
I primarily low carb it but I’m blackboxing some PWO carbing to see if I can get my weight up a few lbs.. struggling to keep my weight up and bodyfat % is too low if anything. Starting to think that my stress levels and the nature of grappling arent 100% compatible with the devany ideal of a diet
I am right there with you. The Devany approach to things allows one to be REALLY lean with virtually no effort…it really is slick. It does not however lend itself well to things like grappling and crossfit. We just tend to see a bit higher body fat with that level of volume and stress. I would characterize things no differently than you have: glycogen demands will vary with the day and intensity of activity. Just gettign a feel for that and fueling appropriately will help to optimize both body-comp and performance.
keep me posted!
Nathan Magniez says
I was curious as to the fat content of your coconut milk you use. The reason I ask is because I was wondering what the optimal ratio is (fat/protein) in order to prevent glucose response from the liver. Currently I take EAS Premium Protein (or whatever is available at Costco) that contains 54g Protein and 5g Fat. In addition to that I take 5 caps fish oil bringing the total up to 54g Pro/10g Fat/6g Carb (I mix it in water). Am I taking enough fat PWO to prevent the glucose response. Should I up the Fish oil caps or eat some almonds?
Thanks in advance.
BTW, are you planing on doing a cert in the Mid Atlantic region (DC, Maryland, Virginia area, or PA) anytime soon?
The stuff we use is about 80g fat per can. I’m not really sure what level that needs to be to suppress glucose release…I’ll try to track down some numbers but I’m just guessing at about 20-30g. That may be way too high, just not sure.
We will be in Cape Fear pretty soon. Then you will mainly se Matt and Bobbi on the east coast gigs.
you`re talking about the fishoils. 15g/day…thats a lot. how does fish oil affect a decrease of body fat?
I am 2m tall and about 106kg..18%bf…would love to drop the bf under 10%. I played waterpolo and ran with 19 blocks…but I was never sure about the blocks… we finished the championship now…so there is only CF and cardio in the morning for me. My metabolism isn`t really a big calorie burner…so I`m really fightin`to loose some bf. I try to lower my carb intake to only a salad for lunch and only protein and fat the rest of the day…! Sometimes I was a little depressed, because waterpolo training is extremly exhausting, but I wasn`t really loosin`a lot of bf..on 19 blocks ( weight and measured )…so I try to do my cardio in the morning now, hope to keep enough energy for the cool WOD`s in the evening.
Robb, thanks for your answer…and thanks for this great webpage. I live in Switzerland…the Zone and Paleo community isn`t really big ( not yet )…but I`m so thankful for your work….I`m looking forward to your book….let me know..if you think about translating it to german 🙂
Great stuff. When doing a high carb PW meal and eating paleo, do you just use fruit as your carb source, and if so what kinds do you recommend?
thanks in advance,
Nope, I tend towards yams and sweet potatoes. From there I’ll run with berries or mellons. last on the list are apples, oranges etc.
cool, thanks. How come apples and oranges are last? Do you tend to stay away from them at other meals as well?
Also was wondering how come the coconut milk for low carb PW, any particular reason? I tried it the last few days. It is delicious, but was just wondering…..
Apples are higher fructose than other fruits and tend to refil liver glycogen. Read my articles on intermittent fasting to get the goods on that. Coconut milk just blends well. Olive oil…not so much.
Is the low carb PWO meal (coconut milk, coco powder, whey protein) also recommended for those trying gain mass?
totally. 50g of protein and 1/2-3/4 can of coconut milk PWO is great for a low carb mass gain.
If you were in need of a quick high carb/low fat PW meal (shake) what would you suggest? When I switch back to high carb, I am gonna go with sweet potoatoes for the most part, but am wondering what to roll with in those times where I can’t make something right away…..
OPT has a really good PWO recovery sale for sale. It is about 30g protein per 80g carbs. i think. Coconut water plus whey protein is a good one in a pinch as well.
cool thanks, what is opt though? also where does one purchase coconut water: a health food store?
OPT is a force of nature:
Egg protein powder a decent alternative to whey if you don’t do well with whey but want a quick digesting protein source post workout?
Egg protein ins fine…not as tasty as whey,but fine otherwise.
What’s your take on something like rice pasta (to keep things gluten free) post workout? Would it be better in your opinion than something like blueberries or strawberries? I’ve been doing sweet potatoes, but man I get tired of them. I almost enjoy the low carb coconut milk and whey more!
I think that is fine (the rice pasta) but if you are like me you will get a little heartburn from eating it consistently. I NEVER get tired of swet potatoes! However…I do just prefer to eat low carb. I feel great and no fuss. Not so great for met-cons though!
Is it essential to have the PWO meal/shake within half an hour of the workout or is an hour later ok? Also, what is a good paleo low carb PWO option?
it’s all dependent on goals. the more recovery focussed one is, eat as soon as possible, the more fat loss oriented…it is not as critical with regards to timing, low carb is of benefit. I frequently use a can of salmon from trader joes. Use your imagination!
as far as paleo post workout goes, are berries a good option or is that too much fructose (I’m talking half a days blocks which in my case would be 8) post workout? Goal is to maintain bf and increase performance.
Ian- Berries are fine, but i prefer yams/Sweet potatoes.
What’s your take on liquid carbs for post workout? The last thing I want is any fat gain, so they kinda scare me…
I went over that pretty detailed in the post brother.
Do sweet potatoes deliver a big enough insulin spike?
totally. they are GREAT for PWO carbs.
Diego Centeno says
Robb, what do you think for Post Workout or meal replacement?
Muscle Milk (two scoops)
8oz almond milk
2oz coconut milk
6oz water….. Ive done it for 4 weeks for my Paleo lean out challenge since I took dairy out, but love my protein shakes because is the only type of dessert I get.
Seems fine, just keep an eye on the waistline! Shakes can make folks chubby if used too frequently or if they are the wrong composition.
Diego Centeno says
How would whey mixed with uncooked oats work as a post workout meal – probably in a zone ratios minus the fat, is to too slow-digesting? The goal would be to recover fast. I still have a few pounds that I could do without so anything high carb might be too much. I have also found that I don’t do well without carbs – zone has worked very well for me.
I’d rather see yam/sweet potato but you know me! If you are not lean, keep the carbs low. YOu will suffer for a time, then thing will get better. Look at OPT’s site for how he manages this.
Thanks for the quick reply, I’ll try the sweet potato
I’ve read Sears’ Omega RX Zone so I’m all over the idea of high-dose fish oil. He pushes his brand of fish oil as being better because it is more purified. I like convenience and price of buying the Costco Kirkland brand. Do you have any concerns or thoughts on the Kirkland brand’s levels of Mercury, PCBs, and dioxins?
Thanks for all the great info! I find myself re-reading your posts and comments periodically as I make changes to my goals.
the contaminant issue is a bunch of hype. Folks who have a intolerance to a certian fat in lower quality fish oil will have GI issues and need to use an ultra purified form.
What is your recommendation for pre-workout and during workout intake?
Whatever gives one the best WO. A little protein is good for me if Im just doing strength work. Empty stomach is better for met-con.
When you mention dropping in a high carb PW meal once every 5-7 days for those of us on a low carb gig, how many blocks (or grams) do you think would be sufficient or optimal? I am starting to play around with this myself and did one with 300 g last week, which the idea of repeating again is just daunting, not to mention nauseating…..
Robb Wolf says
I think 75-100g is plenty. I do NOT see a need to force feed yourself to get the best results.
Great article. I was just curious as to the brand of the coconut milk you used. I can’t seem to find one that had 80 grams of fat.
Robb Wolf says
The whole can is written in Thai. Find an asian market and you will find something like this.
tyson b says
I have an incredibly busy schedule and I’m usually forced to do my workouts at night after I get out of work (approximately 8:00 or 9:00). This was a problem because by that time I’m usually already tired from being at work all day. I tried those 5 hour energy drinks which would help for about 15 minutes before I collapsed from exhaustion.
However, this problem plagues me no more. After 2 weeks of taking the Dr Max Anabolic Stack , I feel like I could go on for days. Now I’m able to finish all my sets in good form, and I’m finally making the goals I set for myself despite my busy schedule.
Crossfit Guayaquilk says
Hi Robb, i’m on my otal paleo diet day 52 so far so AWESOME, great performance, stronger than ever the question is TO WHEY OR NOT TO WHEY???? (iso whey)
Robb Wolf says
Play with it for a month and see if you like it. I never feel good on whey.
Great post Robb,
My training for the most part is strength, heavy weight training about 3 times a week, im 16 been following low carb paleo (occasional dairy from whey but mostly sheeps milk yoghurt). I’m also a rugby player and chuck in the occasional metcon. or sprint day…
Should i plan it like this if my intention is to gain good healthy, lean muscle mass at the same time as staying lean and optimising performance in season….
After my strength training follow it up with a low carb/moderate protein/high fat aproach similar to your coconut milk/ whey combo (sounds delicious by the way) every time?
But then after metcon./sprint days or a rugby game (which total playing time is about 60-80 minutes) follow that up with a high carb/moderate protein/low fat meal such as yams or mabey even some kind of fruit?
would fruit rather than yams mean faster recovery in terms of glycogen repleneshment and so be used on a day when im exercising twice?
All the best
sorry i forgot to add, im trying to gain a good amount of lean muscle, ever since going paleo i seem to have lost an AWFUL lot of weight, i think im around 54 kg now which is really pretty dam light :/ quite scared….
Dr. Jones says
First off great post!
Second, I am looking to get some more muscular gains, but not fatten up. I am 6’7 214lbs with 10-11% body fat. I am looking for the ideal PWO meal for my body type and characteristics. Any help would be great thanks!
Robb Wolf says
I’d lean out a little (low carb) then start upping the cals, particualrly in the PWO window. Carb/protein and soldi food for the most part.
Thai Kitchen Pure Coconut Milk is available in my area (it contains 4 grams of carbs per serving), but how do you mix it with protein? I opened the can and it is mostly solid, it is like a normal liquid milk. Thanks. Also, what do you think about using the same shake (whey protein plus coconut milk) pre-workout and using something Biotest’s Anaconda peri-workout?
Oops, sorry, I meant to say it is not like a normal milk.
One more question. My goal is to gain muscle mass, not to lose weight. I thought that in the PWO window you want to raise insulin because it promotes muscle growth, hence the use of whey protein plus some carbs. Wouldn’t your drink, protein plus fat, be counterproductive because it contains fat instead of carbs?
Hi Robb, love your work. I’m interested in your take on EAA/BCAA. I’m experimenting with 10g of essential amino acids before WO 5g or so during and 10g after. I’ve read that EAA can stimulate some insulin production, would having some fat (cream or coconut oil) with the EAA help?
Robb Wolf says
I like them, they can buggar sleep a little if taken late in the day (compete with tryptophan) but otehr than that good to go.
Hey Robb, Im around 10-12% body fat around 140 lb. I am not as lean as I would like to be would you say just eating egg whites pwo and a small yam pre workout would be essential or the opposite?
I normally do a strength session followed by a met con 4 days a week and run on the other days. I am trying to lean out a little bit for the summer, i am at 140 now at around 10-12% body fat and only eat a small yam pre wo and just egg whites pwo? Am i doing this wrong? Thanks robb
Nathan Greaves says
first of, i’ve gotta say thanks on behalf of my whole family. my parents are both office workers and untill I introduced the Paleo Diet to them (I discovered your writing through crossfit discussions) they both felt sluggish in the office. now though, when they come home from work, they still have energy to have a proper conversation or sit outside for dinner. thanks!
Secondly, I was wondering where you stood on the CFFB stance on Paleo+Milk? your name is mentioned under the nutrition section on the site but i have read alot about milk and am completely torn!
Robb Wolf says
Great way to add cals and mass. Grass-fed+cultured is by far the best.
Animal Stak says
Helpful information. Lucky me I found your site by chance, and I’m stunned why this coincidence didn’t happened earlier! I bookmarked it.
Hi robb, i have a question/concern..
Ive been doing veery low carb now for about 3 weeks. My workouts are really struggling, this morning i couldnt even finish. Not sure if your familiar with bodyrock.tv workouts, hiit training? I do this 5-6x a week. Im really confused about whats best for my bodys performmance and composition. I am veery sensitive to sugar, but way to lethargic to even do anything physical. If you could give me some advice id be very glad. Thanks 🙂
Amy Kubal says
It’s hard to give any recommendations not knowing more about you, but it really sounds to me like you may be lacking in the post-workout recovery meal area. Also, the style of workouts that you are doing and the constant high intensity is probably not doing you any favors, especially if you aren’t fueling correctly. I would love to help you get everything dialed in based on your situation, needs, and goals. Let me know if I can help – http://robbwolf.com/consulting/amy-kubal-consulting/
Awesome article mate. Very informative and makes a lot of sense… I am currently working in Afghanistan so my food choices are VERY limited, hence i go thru a lot of supplements (powders, bars and everything in between). I’m wanting to know as i’m 5’8″ and 170lbs i’ve been trying to pack on some muscle mass for sometime now and i’m struggling. Do you believe that i should be using a HCPWO or a LCPWO or varying between the two???
Thanks for your help.
Amy Kubal says
Brad – try changing things up and seeing how your body responds. If you’ve been doing to LC gig switch to the HC gig for a while and see how your body responds. Experiment a little and find what works best for you!! If you’d like some help let me know! http://www.robbwolf.com/consulting/amy-kubal-consulting/
Did a google search regarding high fat post workout meals and this article came up. I’ve been trying a cyclical ketogenic diet with higher fat moderate protein paleo meals during the week. I understand that exercise in itself causes insulin levels to rise (body trying to get fuel into the muscles). If I have a high fat high protein post work meal, will I be storing some of that dietary fat due to the raised insulin levels? In other words, is it better to wait a while before eating the meal?
I compete in a weight-class sport (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and I need to weight 150lbs by March 3. I am currently around 153lbs in the morning upon waking and I have dropped from 167lbs on January 1. I am currently doing a 15 to 30 minute HIIT sprint and body-weight workout first thing in the morning fasted and then eating breakfast around 7 am, lunch around 12:00 noon and then training from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm, then eating dinner around 10:30 pm and then going to bed around midnight. Would it be better to keep the same routine, except eat dinner before training around 4 pm which would leave 2 hours for digestion and then I would train from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm and have an egg-white protein shake with some almond milk immediately after training and head to bed after once I get home and clean up? Would eating dinner very early and getting in some protein before bed help in losing the 3 lbs?
Robb Wolf says
How lean are you? Age? that is a spicy schedule! If you have fat to lose it may just be better to cal restrict a LITTLE, but supplement with 30-40g of BCAA’s throughout the early part of the day.
I’m 22 years old. 5’6″ tall. I work at a desk all day so by the time work is done, I am DYING for some physical activity. I train 4 days a week and teach 2 days a week. I don’t know how lean I am, but I am guessing around 9% BF. I have an 8-pack, the upper 6 abs are showing, but the bottom two muscles are somewhat covered by fat and I am storing a bit of fat around my love handles and upper back/ shoulders. The main problem I have is that after training I am famished and then I go crazy and eat a ton of bad crap and I feel that by eating before training and having a low carb protein shake that it might curb my overeating. I’ve noticed that I tend to gravitate towards carb rich foods…
excuse me, that is carb-rich foods after I workout…
Normally I am eating 3 Paleo meals a day: this morning I had 3 scrambled eggs with salsa, a bowl of Acai (Sambazon Acai, 1 banana, 1/2 cup almond milk) and a leftover salad from last night’s dinner (spinach, mixed greens, carrots, celery, red/green peppers, broccoli). Lunch is a baked chicken breast with white and purple cauliflower with some curry sauce.
Robb, big fan! your book was phenomenal as all my clients have lost weight within days!
I completely agree with you on the protein, and people understand why they can have it for 6 months and it never expires.
Big question. I am a bar athlete circuit trainer, it is a great way to build strength and burn fat while working your cardiovascular system at the same time. I was wondering what you thought about it? (you can check it out on youtube.com, type in BarStarzz or Bartendaz)
1 question. I have been taking Jeff’s Hemp Protein “Organic Hemp Protein” (good fats, no carbs, fiber, good protein) but do you consider this a “3rd world protein”? I usually will have 3 tablespoons of that with a (huge) spring mix salad, avo, baslamic, organic sprouts, a fillet of salmon and green bell pepper along with a different berry smoothie made with coconut milk, tablespoon of agave nectar, a mango and orange. Do you think this would replenish my carbs/fat/protein after a good 30 minutes of a barstarzz workout? your input is greatly appreciated
I am a 21 year old trainer, 6’1, 175 lbs, and around 6% body fat year round.
just wondering how many g’s of carbs were talking abt in the low carb vs hight carb pwo?
Amy Kubal says
It varies from person to person. Play with it and find out what works best for you.
I have a question about Pre and Post Workout Nutrition for multiple workouts a day. If I am doing a long row in mornings and then strength and a longer METCON in the afternoon, should both PWO meals include some high GL carbs?
I am also wondering about breakfasts on days where I am only doing a workout in the afternoon. After reading Paleo for Athletes, among other things, I’ve learned that when you wake up your are in a fasted state, much like in post workout. I am trying to lean out a little bit as I am a lightweight rower and my power/weight ratio goes a long way in on water performance so my question regarding this is, then, should my breakfast include carbs, if so what kind, what GL range?
Thanks for all the work you do, as a nutrition nerd/undergrad science student this website is a goldmine for information! Makes me dream of doing a masters with Leon Cordain!
Amy Kubal says
Your PWO needs are really going to depend on your goals – if performance is your main concern, then yes, hit the starchy post workout carbs following both workouts.
Breakfast you may not need the starchy carbs – just rely on non-starchy veggies for carbs there and see how you respond.
If you’d like some help dialing all this in based on your situation and needs let me know – http://robbwolf.com/about/team/amy-kubal/ I’d love to help you figure it all out!
Thanks so much for the response! Performance is definitely the main concern, so I will continue to get adequate carbs after my workouts, and will start having veggies instead of fruit in the morn.
I would love your help…but I’m a student, eating paleo, and on exchange, so my wallet is angry at me right now. If I ever have built up enough burning questions or am finding myself in trouble nutritionally, I will without a doubt look you up. My next challenge is getting my parents eating Paleo when I go home, I’m sure I’ll be posting some more questions soon!
Thanks again for the help!
Hi. I’m totally confused with the post workout carbs or no carbs argument. I’m by no means an athlete, I’m basically getting back to being fit after a couple of years off due to injury, and, admittedly, some laziness. I put on weight and am now trying to take it off and get fit and strong again. I’m back to weight training 2 – 3 times a week, a couple of days cardio and at least one yoga day. I’ve definitely got a little fitter and stronger, and have lost a little weight but at 43 I’ve found it was way easier to put on than take off! I’ve switched to gluten & dairy free and low sugar. I have been having a pwo shake of 1 cup of fruit, 2 cups of rice milk and a scoop of Garden of Life raw protein powder. I also drink coconut water. Then I try to wait at least an hour and a half before eating lunch. Am I doing the right thing or should I just have the protein powder with milk???
Robb Wolf says
I would just have real food. Ditch ALL shakes.
Hmmm, ok, so what should I eat that’s protein but no carbs post workout?
Robb Wolf says
I know that this is an old article but I just found this linked from the “No Whey!! ‘Powder-Free’, Convenient Post Workout Fuel Options” article. I want to start the low-carb PWO since I am 195# with about 17 bf, however I am also training for an ultramaraton, 50 mile mountain bike ride with a 50 mile run the following day. Of course I want to lean out but right now long term performance is paramount. Since this is 6 weeks out I am very hesitant with changing anything or I would give the LCPWO a shot. I am planning on the LCPWO after the ultra. I have been using a 17 block diet with my 5 block breakfast as my morning PWO meal and 5 blocks as my evening PWO dinner with the rest of the blocks spread out between snacks and lunch. On days where there is only one training session I have my 5 block PWO breakfast and the remaining blocks spread out among the remainder of the meals. I follow the 3 sport Crossfit Endurance programming style with strength M/W/F and metcon wods on T/TH in addition to CFE intervals in the evenings T/W/F/S/Su. My three questions is would it be advisable to use both LCPWO and HCPWO depending on the type of training i.e. strength wod being LCPWO and a metcon/CFE wod being HCPWO? Second question is the ratios for the two PWO meals. Using the general rule of thumb I would have the protein and fat at ¼ block allotment and carbs would range from ¼-1/2 depending on the wod or small versus big. Lastly is this PWO meal in addition to the 17 blocks for meals or subtracted from as I am doing now. Thank you for helping reduce my confusion.
Amy Kubal says
Travis – I would love to help you with all of this you can check out my consult options here – http://robbwolf.com/about/team/amy-kubal/
Overall thoughts – don’t over think this stuff, play with it and see how you respond and feel.
Gaby A. says
Glad to see this thread is somewhat still alive. 🙂 Just read “It Starts With Food” and the authors have a post-workout carbohydrate curve that takes in general health (i.e. body fat), intensity of exercise, and suggested amount of carbs to take. Granted this article was written a while back so the details may have shifted, but Rob and the Hartwigs’ drawing jive together (I’m a visual person so the image stuck in my mind while clicking with what Rob said). In my case, with a lot to lose, it basically means, unless I exercise more than about 45 minutes, I shouldn’t bother with PWO carbs because of all the excess glycogen I have to burn off. Now if only someone would put it in some sort of equation. 🙂
Enrique Sanchez says
Robb, I know this is like 3 years late (hey can’t blame me much for that … well maybe you can but…)
So how about this, a shake which has 2 egg whites, 1 hole egg, 100% cocoa powder, I’ll guess Almond milk will not hit the “paleo”? and for carbs (which is where I always get stuck) insert one thing I guess .. would that be considered a good PWO shake? still hits the proteins and well it is liquid.
Hey Robb, so after reading your post I am still pondering..as a lean a “ripped” person, 11%bf, 5’9 160lbs, I am trying to maintain my look, so I’ve been following a 5:3 ratio protein to carbs, so say 40g protein with 25g carb. So far I felt ok and am maintaining the shape. However if I were to pack on some muscle size how would you recommend I change the PWO nutrition? Should I go back to a higher carb PWO (ie. 4:1) or just 2:1(carb to protein).
Another thing is how much glutamine should a normal person be taking as a supplement per day? I train about 2-3 days a week, other days are cardio or yoga.
I recently have been reading articles biologist Ray Peat and he is advocating sugar over starch for post workout nutrition. I was wondering if you had a chance to read any of his articles. He essentially wants a diet that increases thyroid functionality and metabolism. With this new information, are you still advocating starches as the optimal PWO carb? Love your pod casts. Finally some real dudes that also know strength training in addition to Nutrition! Would love to hear your thoughts on this as I am a starch guy currently and truly dont feel a difference between the two. I love eating some fish (canned mackeral, and two jars of sweet potato baby food after a workout) Thanks, Joe [email protected]
I just discovered your site and reading the Paleo Diet Solution. I train about 4 days a week with weights/BW exercises and some elliptical. In the book, I see that diary is a no-no. DO certain whey proteins, ie-whey isolate, skip that requirment? also I’ve been drinking the Silk brand unsweetened coconut milk for about a year. Should I switch to the canned variety? If so what’s lacking in the refrigerated brands.
I love the science in the book!!
Robb Wolf says
james! i jsut like peopel to peel out the dairy, reintroduce and see how they do. http://www.evolvefoods.com has a fantastic grass fed whey.
Yes, I will be pulling out the dairy today. What about the coconut milk,..is there a difference between canned & the Silk brand coconut milk?
I have been low carb for almost a year and noticed that my WOD’s were really suffering (along with my moods and endurance for the day). I was getting MAYBE 45g. of carbs a day from fibrous veggies, along with protein and fat. On harder WOD’s, I would eat half a sweet potato or sometimes a whole one but normally my fibrous veggies. (I tend to turn colors with high beta carotene so avoided a little). I’m leaned out enough at this point so I recently started to do more research on higher carbs and started tinkering. It was difficult to even get to 100 grams however, Wod’s were WAY better along with mood and energy. There are SO many good, credible articles out there but with confusing/conflicting information. My question is this, in order to have the endurance, strength, stamina necessary and to improve body composition, is it ok to just add the sweet potato, after EVERY WOD and keep my other meals the same? Also, when a bit higher carb, it goes straight to my thighs…it seems! What is that from?
my question is: can spirulina or chlorella algae be substituted for protein ‘powder?
If you like it then I guess you could use it, but if you’re trying to replace good amounts of high quality protein (meat, eggs, whey, etc.) then I’m afraid it won’t cut it.
Thank you Robb for another highly educational post. As a new Paleo dieter, I was very surprised to find that whey prtein is paleo-compatible. Please explain. Thanks
I have PCOS because I’m insulin resistant, I’ve just started fasting 2 days per week (skipping breakfast and lunch), I also eat low carb ketogenic paleo.
I’ve lost plenty of weight (50 lbs), I don’t have a sticking out belly anymore, but still a little bit of love handles… Most of my meals are low carb ones (breakfast, lunch and diner), but the PWO ones, what do you think about them?
3/4 cup homemade cashew milk
1 tbsp concentrated whey
1 tbsp hydrolyzed collagen
1 tbsp pure gelatin
1 tbsp albumin
1 tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp raspberry ketones
1/3 tsp ground vanilla
1 scoop vanilla isopure whey protein
1 tbsp peanut butter
about 1 1/2 cups of frozen pumpkin
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tbsp carob powder (because of the heavenly taste, way better than cacao powder!! I know I can’t be using this everyday, it has too many sugars):, but if it won’t help me anyway and only fill my liver glycogen, I guess I can stop using it)
1 tsp creatine
I also drink it with 2 soft-boiled omega-3 eggs.
Would you think it has too many carbs? It tastes absurdly sweet and has a very thick consistency that I need to eat it with a spoon. I’m doing that everyday after my workouts, because my leg is getting pretty big and I love it, it’s making me look like a hourglass shape, way better than the manly apple shape PCOS women have. But I’m afraid about the long term effects about my PWO shake… Because I wish to totally reverse my insulin resistance and finally start gaining weight all bellow my waist (is that possible after reversing insulin resistance?), I’m 18 y/r old. What should I remove from my PWO shake that’s preventing me from losing my love handles?
Thoughts on raw grassfed whole milk PWO? I throw 35g of protein from a proserum whey with 20 oz of milk in a shake with 10g l-glut. Am 5’11 205 18%bf, goal is to lean out, doing weightlifting and some strongman, only 40g carbs total in the shake and there is plenty of fat in the whole milk. Carbs around 50-70g total per day.
Robb Wolf says
Josh- an outstanding option assuming you tolerate cow dairy. I can’t do the Mo, but goat dairy I do great on. Tinker, report results!
Im doing cross fit 3x weekly and intensive swimming 3x weekly, trying to lose body fat (current bf is 25%), and i need your advice on a low carb high fat high protein workout shake…since coconut milk is not available where I live…
How about a protein shake and 12 walnuts? or a protein shake and codliver oil capsules? consumed immediately after workout of course.
Hyok Lee says
I listen weekly to your podcast, and I know you are still tinkering with the right amount of carbs post workout. “Air/fuel” mixture as you like to call it. What update to this article would you make, based on the past five years of experience?
I currently do both a pre and post workout shake. My workout is a bit unconventional. It’s a workaround to avoid aggravating an aging AC joint in the shoulder. I do two sets to failure, using ~50% of 1 rep max. I usually squeeze out 25-30 reps. Then I do a couple of sets of 5-6. Although this is only four sets per muscle group, it’s pretty draining, I’m finding that skipping carbs seem to hamper recovery.
Periworkout nutrition: Pre: BCAA 10g + 12 g dextrose + 300 mg caffeine. Post: 25 g beef protein powder + 24 g dextrose + 5 g leucine. Couple of hours after, I will do 1/2 cup of muesli plus another 30 g of protein but in solid form (chicken or beef). I arrived at this via multiple small tweaks.
I’m 23 and I’m suffering from acne since I was 14.
I follow the paleodiet since August 2014.
• 0.00% of: dairy, grains, legumes, nightshades and fatty meat.
• A ton of supplements
I still have acne (although reduced), so:
– Do I have to remove completely the nuts (I eat almond and brazil nuts every day…)?
– Do I have to remove the sweet potatoes?
Thank you very much you work is simply EPIC.
Robb Wolf says
My experience is that dairy is a huge issue with acne. But you have removed that…and i’m honestly not sure what to do next. You could try reducing carbs a bit or fiddling with fish oil (more or less) but working remotely it’s hard to dial in what to try next.
Thank you Robb, I REALLY appreciated your answer.
Taking about dairy… Are whey protein concentrate a dairy product?
If so – Huston we have a problem… 🙂
Yes, whey is a dairy product (it comes from milk).
I’m a retired 61 year old Canadian lady. Was permanently injured by a tractor trailer many years ago. I can do entry level erecise only. I want to live the healthiest life possible. This is why I want to learn as much as possible about your way of life. Hopefully I can accomplish this with everyone’s help. Thanks for being a source of help for everyone.
Robb Wolf says
Keep us posted Mary!
First, congratz on keeping alive this thread for more than 6 years! What an exceptional response on your part. And of course, thank you for all the info you made available for all of us.
I am 24, 180cm tall, and weight around 155-157lbs. Ectomorph and “hardgainer” type. Currently at 15% body fat. Goal: add around 10-12lbs of lean muscle mass while pursuing further loss of body fat.
I am a very active guy, weight training 3-4 times a week, yoga, capoeira, etc. I am mostly Paleo with the exception of goat milk and some cheat meal on the weekend like pizza. I supplement with different stuff like fish oil (6-15g), mag, zinc, etc. The good stuff…
1) My PWO consist of goat milk, whey protein isolate vanilla, 3 organic raw eggs, 1 banana, 2 spoons of coconut oil and cocoa powder. Yummy 🙂
I was thinking of throwing some oats in here. I usually stay away from grains and I know white rice is a safer choice for restoring glycogen but oats are more convenient since I can pulverize them and throw them in the shake (I usually train in the morning and hit work after so no much time to cook rice and eat it, and rice powder doesn’t seem like a great addition to the shake)
2) From the literature I have read, ectomorphs can indulge more in carbs vs other types. I am big follower of Ido Portal and his take on this is that being ectomorph doesn’t make you necessarily Carb Tolerant. I interpret from this that he would rather choose higher intakes of protein and fats to assist with hypertrophy. I would like to know your take on this.
Robb Wolf says
It’s just highly individualized…you can have someone who is otherwise carb tolerant, then they go on shift work, have a baby etc, carb tolerance: GONE! So, i think you just need to tinker. Keep an eye on labs and the mirror, and let that drive things.
Thanks for the quick response. Great!
Perpetuate experimentation, thats the way. And I agree, you need a holistic view with all of this, your body changes all the time, so same recipe can’t work all the time.
Correct me if wrong, it seems like your carb tolerance will be determined by (not exclusively) your hormone profile. More stress, more cortisol, more carb intolerant?
Robb Wolf says
Exactly. And, activity level and sleep being vectors in all that.
Big fan! I’ve been looking for my first PWO protein powder and came across this one. http://paleopro.com/ Are you familiar with it? Any thoughts? Seems legit. I’m having trouble getting in enough protein and particularly getting some nutrients in post noon CrossFit workout.
Robb Wolf says