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Pre- / Post-Workout Drink Emails

Part Two

By Gary F. Zeolla

I have received more emails about my article on post-workout drinks posted on the Web site than any other. That article was revised for a section my God-given Foods Eating Plan book (pp. 231-232). It was further revised and expanded into a full chapter for my Starting and Progressing in Powerlifting book (Chapter 20 – "Pre- and Post-workout Nutrition"). That chapter represents my most complete thoughts in this regard.

Some of these emails were presented in Part One. This page will present several more. This information will elaborate on the information in the above sources. But see those sources, especially my powerlifting book for the most organized and complete discussion of this subject.

The emailers' comments are in black and enclosed in greater than less than signs. My comments are in red. Note that my powerlifting book was published in May 2009, while most of these emails are before that time, hence why I refer to "my forthcoming book" in some places. Also, updates are included in purple in brackets. The product links are direct links to where they can be purchased from Amazon.

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Post-workout drink question


I came across your web site while researching ingredients for making my own post-workout drink. As a Christian, I will be ordering your book.

I have 2 questions:

1) You listed that you add L-Glutamine to your drink mix. But, doesn't the protein powder provide Glutamine already? So, aren't you overloading on Glutamine?

2) In your current supplements page, you stated that you are drinking most of the ingredients you listed for a POST-workout drink in a PRE-workout drink now. Are you saying that all of those ingredients are not necessary after a workout to replenish glycogen levels? The only thing you listed for POST workout was Glutamine.

Can you help me with this?


On the glutamine, you are correct that the best way to take glutamine is on an empty stomach, not with foods. That's why I now take it as I do.

On the timing, it all depends on your schedule. If you eat a regular meal within two hours before your workout, then you don't need a pre-workout drink, but if it is going to much longer, then a pre-workout drink would be helpful, about 45 minutes pre-workout.

Similarly, if you are going to eat a meal within an hour post-workout then you don't need a drink. But if it is going to be longer, then you do. I discuss this timing via an expanded and updated version of that article in my new powerlifting book, in the chapter on "Pre- and Post-workout Nutrition."

[My current schedule is to consume a drink about 45 minutes pre-workout. Then immediately post-workout I take six grams of glutamine, shower, then I eat dinner. On the glutamine dosing, the best recommendation I have seen is to take 1 gram per 20 pounds bodyweight. I weigh about 120 pounds, hence the six grams. Adjust the dosage for your bodyweight.]

-----Original Message-----

Hi Gary,

I read your article on post workout drinks, and I was wondering if there is a formula for women or can we use the same formula in your article.

Thank you,

It would be the same. The only difference might be in the amounts of each ingredient. Since women tend to need fewer calories than men, you might have to cut down each ingredient by proportional amounts.

-----Original Message-----

Subject: High GI/Low GI

Hi Gary,

I'm very impressed by the articles you've written on Post-Workout nutrition. I'm also a little curious about the high GI vs. low GI carbs in your post-workout shakes. In your experience, do you not see a difference in the GI of your carbs post-workout? I'm using Maltodextrin right now as I purchased a 12 pond bag of it not too long ago, so I just want to finish using that before I purchase anything else. Do you still recommend the Brown Rice Syrup in the Post-Workout shake?

Thanks for taking the time to help me out,


I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia in December. I now have a home blood glucose monitor. And with it, I can see that if I consume high GI carbs, my blood sugar spikes and then drops below normal, so I avoid all high GI carbs, including post-workout. Maltodextrin spike and crashes my blood sugar way too much. But the brown rice syrup gives a better response, so I now use it.

But note, I changed my schedule, so now, instead of a POST-workout drink, I consume a PRE-workout drink. It has the same ingredients as the post-workout drink. Immediately after my workout, I take six grams of glutamine. Then I shower, and then I eat dinner.

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Post-workout drink

Dear Gary,

I've recently discovered Fitness for One and All. I've seen versions of your cyclic nutrition plan and now that I'm in my early 50s I'm minded to try an eating plan that will help me with my hormone profile to prevent ageing and to help my lifting.

I've seen your page on post-workout drinks and on the eating plan. Do you still recommend maltodextrin in a post-workout drink when on the CNP and on low carb days?

All the best,

I no longer use maltodextrin. The reason is I was diagnosed with reactive hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Maltodextrin causes a large spike then crash of blood sugar. I know this as I now have a home blood glucose monitor. But even for non-hypoglycemics, this is not good. What I have found gives a more stable blood sugar response is brown rice syrup. It is a relatively healthy sweetener that can be found in health food stores.

But if you're following the CNP, you will not want to use a carb source in a post-workout drink on low carb days. Just protein powder and olive oil or another healthy oil will do.

But let me say, I am getting a better hormonal response from my "God-given Foods Eating Plan" than from the CNP. It is a moderate fat plan, similar to what is mentioned at: Hormones and Diet: Part Three: Testosterone/ Dietary Plans.

At one time I was diagnosed with clinically low testosterone levels. But by following this plan, I tripled my T levels, from the low level to the middle of the normal range. This eating plan is detailed in my book of the same name.

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Hi. I have some questions about glycogen.

I'm putting together an all natural workout plan. I was wondering if bovine liver is a great source of glycogen. It is where the glycogen stores after all. I could consume some post workout instead of maltodextrin, or I can do both. I was also going to have 3/4 cup of raw third milking colostrum, Himalayan sea salt, 10g maltodextrin, 1/2oz blackstrap molasses, 1 egg yolk, 1/3 tsp Immune Tree first milking colostrum, 1 oz Seabuck Thornberry juice, cultured in kefir for four days. This will be one serving in a serving of 8 total cultured in two quarts altogether with kefir.

Thank you,
P.S. I forgot to mention I'll be fermenting a raw egg yolk in the drink too.

Liver only has 3-4 grams of carbs per 3.5 ounce serving. That is insignificant. To get a significant amount would require eating the equivalent weight of the human liver, which about 2.4 – 3.0 pounds. That would way too much food, not to mention cholesterol. So sorry, but liver is not a good source for glycogen-restoring carbs.

Maltodextrin is good. But a little better is Ultimate Nutrition's Pure Muscle Carbs as it has a lower glycemic index. Another option is Optimum's Nutrition's 100% Natural Oats and Whey. The carbs are from honey and whole grain oats, more natural carb sources than in the former product.

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Re: Hi. I have some questions about glycogen.

I'm putting together an interesting workout plan. No one has tried this before.

3/4 cup raw third milking colostrum
1/4 tsp raw 6 hour defatted, lactose removed, colostrum as the protein portion is the part of the third milking that is most denatured
1/2 tbl self made liquid whey colostrum
1 oz liquid Seabuck Thornberry juice
2.5g creatine monohydrate?
15g waxy maize starch
tbl blackstrap molasses
3 broken capsules raw multiple

Cultured in live kefir grains for four days to hydrolyze entire brew and predigest it.

? Will the creatine be denatured by the milk sugar or the juice or the molasses?

I find it interesting you don't like the fructose or dextrose. I guess your body is telling you it is no good. I've read many opinions from people that they do find with maybe 30g of complex carbs before and after workout. With maybe a little bit of natural sugar such as milk or fruits in the 10-25g range.


-----Original Message-----

Subject: Re: Hi. I have some questions about glycogen.

Waxy Maize starch would probably be the best choice huh? The school of thought I choose says good cholesterol from liver is beneficial. However if you were to eat that much you'd probably get vit poisoning.

There was a test done on rats. There were three groups. One was fed b-vits, one normal food, and the third raw liver. The three groups were thrown into a big can of water. The first two groups drowned to death within 14-21 minutes. The third group continued swimming for two hours. I'll send you the study when I find the time.


I've never used waxy maize starch. But I believe it is high glycemic, so I wouldn't use it.

Creatine should be put in a drink immediately before drinking as it degrades in water.

All complex carbs might not be the best pre-workout option if they are very glycemic. I've found a little blood sugar spike helps me to get going, but too much can lead to an insulin rebound and too low of blood sugar later in the workout. That is why I use the Pure Muscle Carbs pre-workout as it is moderate glycemic.

Your workout drink might work, but it sounds terrible expensive.

[I agree liver is a good food, and desiccated liver has long been a favorite of bodybuilders. That is why I use NOW's Liver Powder in my pre-workout drink]

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Post-workout Drink


Obviously you don't know me, but I stumbled upon your article, and it's amazing. However, I do have a couple questions, hopefully you don't mind answering.

For the fat or oil portion of the drink, you didn't specify how much to put in the shaker bottle in comparison to someone's body weight, body fat, etc... I'm 160 pounds and I calculated 80 grams of maltodextrin, 30 grams of 100% natural optimum nutrition whey protein, and for the fat I couldn't decipher which one you were suggesting as the best and how much to take. I think you said the Macadamia nut oil is best, but then the olive and canola oil were strong too. So if you had to pick just one which one would it be and how much of it? And how much water should be added to all of this?

Lastly, is there any one product out there that incorporates all of these ingredients into one product and can meet the carb, protein, and fat requirements with out having to spend a lot of money because money is definitely an issue for me? I have been taking 24 ounces of low-fat chocolate milk for my post-workout drink, and I don't think it is getting the job done. So is there any one product that comes close, or basically what is my cheapest deal while still getting the right maltodextrin, whey, and oil combination? I hope you can help me out. Thank you.

Oh actually, one more thing, sorry, but how long do I have to make the shake after my workout if I'm in a bind and it takes me 10-15 minutes to get back home and make it, is that going to matter compared to taking it within seconds of finishing my workout? I mean I know you explained how you do it, but individual bags are kind of ridiculous to me, no offense. So if there is an all in one product that would be AMAZING, but if not does 10-15 minutes matter? Thank you so much I really hope you respond.


I weigh about 120 pounds and use one teaspoon to one tablespoon of oil. If you can handle the taste, olive oil would be the best oil as it is the one highest in antioxidants. Not to confuse you, but a completely different option would be Ultimate Nutrition's MCT Oil. It is digested even easier than olive oil. Note that I now use Pure Muscle Carbs rather than maltodextrin. A product that would have the protein and carbs is ON's Oats & Whey, but you'd still need to add the oil:

The sooner after a workout you drink it the better, but 10-15 minutes afterwards would not be too long. I'd have it mixed up and ready in the fridge so you can drink it as soon as you get home.

I hope that helps.

-----Original Message-----

>Subject: Re[2]: Post-workout Drink


Thank you for your help. However, isn't the idea not to take in whole grains immediately after workout? Whole grains should be eaten all throughout the day except after a workout right? While high glycemic carbs like white bread or something should be eaten directly and only after a workout? Also if you are currently using the Pure Muscle Carb, I take it that is better than maltodextrin? Also if that is your new carb supplement does that mean you are still taking the 100% Natural Whey from Optimum Nutrition as your protein source after a workout? I like the idea of only having to buy one product and adding oil but I just don't think whole grain oats is the right thing after a workout or am I way off? Thanks.


The standard claim is that high glycemic carbs are best post-workout. But I have found that to be nonsense. High glycemic carbs add body fat whenever they are consumed due to the blood sugar spike then crash.

See the following page of my site for more on different carb sources and their blood sugar responses. Note that it was after this that I switched to MCT oil rather than olive oil: Pre-workout Nutrition.

-----Original Message-----

>Subject: Re[3]: Post-workout Drink


Wait I'm confused about the link you sent me with your new schedule. I thought this was about post-workout drinks. Now you are saying forget all that and take a shake before a workout, and for post-workout I should only take four grams of glutamine then just eat a normal dinner like any other day?


Sorry to confuse you. I just sent that link for the info on different carbs. Whether you should consume a pre- or post-workout drink depends on your schedule. The important point is you need nutrients before and after a workout.

[Note: I now only use a teaspoon or so of oil rather than a full tablespoon. I've found that amount suffices to prevent hunger without it "sitting" in the stomach as a full tablespoon might do. But again, I only weight 120 pounds, so adjust accordingly.

On the carb source, though on a theoretical level I prefer whole grains over refined carbs, when taken pre-workout, the Ultimate Nutrition's Pure Muscle Carbs seems to be the best product, brown rice syrup second, and Optimum's Nutrition's 100% Natural Oats and Whey third. These are in the order of most to least refined and thus probably reflects the ease of digesting each. Since pre-workout, you need something that is easy to digest, the most refined product, the Pure Muscle Carbs, works best. As such, I generally use it. But since I still have some of the other two around, I use them on occasion just use up my stock. But once I finish what I got, I'll probably stick with the Pure Muscle Carbs.

Products that would have all three ingredients are Ultimate Nutrition's Muscle Juice 2544 and Ultimate Nutrition's Muscle Juice Revolution 2600. I have never tried either of these products as they both contain artificial flavorings, which I try to avoid. The latter also contains Ace-K, an artificial sweetener that has not been thoroughly tested. But they do provide my recommended kinds and proportions of protein, carbs, and fat, so I might try the former when I run out of my current items. Note also that the given serving size is too large for most people (4 scoops providing about 1000 calories). One to two scoops would suffice for most.]

The product links in this article are direct links to where they can be purchased from Amazon.

The above email first appeared in the free FitTips for One and All newsletter.
It was posted on this site May 28, 2010.

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