kirbz

New Pre- and Post-Workout Guidelines - Has Anyone Tried It?

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So, it looks like some new guidelines were published in February 2019 for pre- and post-workout meals. Here is a link to the article: https://whole30.com/2019/02/whole30-pre-workout-post-workout/

Based on my understanding, these are new guidelines that trump what is currently documented in the Meal Template (though apparently there are plans for the Meal Template to be updated). In my own words and based on my own understanding, this is how I interpret the article's guidelines: 

  • Pre-Workout: 2-3 hours before workout; combination of protein and high-fiber carbohydrate
  • IntraWorkout (for continuous, moderate-to-high intensity workouts longer than 45 minutes): protein and fruit juice or fruit  
  • Post-Workout: within 60 minutes;  lean protein, high-fiber carbohydrates, and lots of veggies 

So, my question is this. Has anyone tried a Whole30 under these new guidelines? How did it work for you? Any suggestions or recommendations? Tips or tricks? Foods that worked well?

Also, if anyone can help me understand how the concept of being fat adapted works with these new guidelines, I would love to know. I LOVE It Starts with Food and rely very heavily on all the stuff that just plain made sense to me after reading it. But, now, being fat-adapted doesn't make sense at all. If not fueling pre-workout with fat, then, how does that all work?

Anyway, I've referenced some of this information on other threads but thought it would be helpful to have a dedicated discussion about this topic. So, please, let's discuss!  

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I don't have any answers here, as these are my questions too. What I wondered was: if we are adding carbs to our workout, won't our body tap into those carbs instead of our fat stores for energy use? I'm clueless and only 'beginner' informed on fueling for workouts to begin with. Are the workout guidelines the only things that have been updated @kirbz? The original template, as far as pre- and post-workout works pretty well for me so far, but I'm not doing anything too intense yet. For now I'll stick with that, but will likely need to change as my strength increases and training intensifies. 

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As far as I'm aware, nothing else has changed. Fundamentally, protein, fat, and vegetables are the basis of healthy food choices. So I don't think that changes in the slightest. But, science is growing and evolving all the time, right? So, I think we've just learned more about what best fuels the body. Hence, the pre- and post-workout recommendations. 

I'm with you though, in that I don't get the concept of being fat adapted and fueling your pre-workout body with carbs. That also seems to me like it would just give your body easy access to carb stores and then your body wouldn't be burning fat as fuel and then, well, what does it even mean to be fat adapted anymore? I really wish it all made sense to me. 

But, in the end, I know this program works, even if I don't understand a few details. I know the previous pre- and post-workout meal suggestions work. So, I'll give these new guidelines a try and can always revert back if needed. Though I'm still figuring out what that will look like... 

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The article that is linked above is focused on exercise performance with a bias towards carbohydrate fueling.  If there's one time of day where you would try to bump up insulin with low-fat fruit and protein, then during a workout would seem to be that time.  I like blending berries (blackberries, though blueberries work well also) and drinking that right before working out.  Consuming additional hard food *during* a general strength/fitness workout seems impractical to me though.  That's just not the time to be trying to chew anything.

In any case though, since the purpose is exercise performance, the thing to do would be measure your exercise performance.  Perhaps experiment with different amounts/types of food and see what works best?

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@True Primal The guidelines in the article linked in this thread do not align with the meal template (or the books for that matter). So I think the comparison is this website link (https://whole30.com/2019/02/whole30-pre-workout-post-workout/) versus the more formal Whole30 documentation (i.e., books and meal template). 

I think the biggest differences for me are (1) carbs before a workout instead of fat and (2) the allowance (and even endorsement) of fruit. 

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Thanks, I do see https://whole30.com/downloads/whole30-meal-planning.pdf specifically advocates low-carb pre-workout.  It looks like on the Whole30 itself, the focus is more on improving insulin sensitivity, and the new Paul Salter article is aiming for peak training performance.  There are certainly lots of low-carb athletic advocates in the paleo world though.

I suspect Whole30 as an organization did not intend for the Paul Salter article to be new guidelines for everyone, but rather another possible option to try.  Looking at them side-by-side it is confusing.  They should footnote the Paul Salter article or something to explain the difference between them.  Perhaps a forum admin can somehow escalate that question?

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Based on what I've read here on the Forum, it sounds like the Whole30 organization is intending for these guidelines to be the new standard on pre- and post-workout. Check out this thread where @ladyshanny shares a statement from Melissa Urban on the new guidelines (the second post): https://forum.whole30.com/topic/56912-pre-workout-meal-confused/

So yeah... 

 

 

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Ah interesting.  Well, both have their place I think.  I suspect the general population of sedentary first-world people would be better off performing the original guideline, but the new guideline might make more people likely to stick with it?

 

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You're probably right! What's not to love about being advised to drink pineapple juice on long exercise missions!? Though maybe the practicalities of having that on hand would be a little difficult... 

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I've been thinking about that sipping fruit juice comment on and off since yesterday.

So, the new article says: "If your workout will last longer than 45 minutes and is performed continuously at a moderate to high intensity,  it’s advantageous to replenish the fuel you’ve burned through to ensure you’re able to maintain a high-rate of performance."

If the goal is optimal athletic performance, that's probably true.  But I think this new guideline may be a bit misleading for many people starting a Whole 30.  Unless you've been training for years already, I'd be concerned about people just trying to improve wellness doing 45+ minutes of high intensity exercise.  If someone was diabetic or pre-diabetic especially, a 45+ min high-intensity workout seems like a recipe for burnout and failure.

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I do think there's something to be said for differentiating pre- and post-workout suggestions for traditional, normal exercise (like a Zumba or other fitness class or yoga or a quick bike ride or swimming in a pool) versus higher-intensity, longer duration exercise where your mission is optimal athletic performance. You're probably right that the recommendations would be different for each. 

I guess I'm thinking about this a bit selfishly. Knowing what to eat to fuel my 90 minute yoga class during the week is easy. Whatever. But, I love backpacking and mountain biking and rock climbing and I'm trying to figure out what I want to try, under these new guidelines, for 4-10 hour adventures in the backcountry...

That, and I just like things to make sense. And this doesn't. I devoured It Starts with Food and loved the science and the explanations and logic and now I don't have an explanation that makes sense for what Whole30 is recommending I eat for pre- and post-workout fuel. And it's driving me slightly crazy!

But, despite that, I still love Whole30 and know it's great and know it does me good and know I'll figure it out. :-) 

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So, over the span of 10 hours of hiking you are well beyond the glycogen-fuel threshold.  The pre-workout/post-workout recommendations of either the original Whole 30 template or the new article just don't really apply to that.

Check out https://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-to-metabolic-flexibility/, which really goes into both of these in a way that I think should be incorporated into their guidelines.

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You make another great point. I'm probably not necessarily going to find advice on fueling strategies for something like 10 hours of hiking here. :-) I'll probably have to figure that out for myself or rely on other research. Thanks for sharing the link. That article was very interesting. 

I'm also reading a book called Training for the New Alpinism, which includes information on nutrition and fueling (which I haven't gotten to yet). Hopefully that advice won't be mutually exclusive of Whole30 and I can follow their advice while aligning generally with Paleo/Whole30 foods. :-) 

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On 6/11/2019 at 4:56 PM, kirbz said:

So, it looks like some new guidelines were published in February 2019 for pre- and post-workout meals. Here is a link to the article: https://whole30.com/2019/02/whole30-pre-workout-post-workout/

 

Hello! I think it's important to discuss this topic!  I would like to comment on this particular article-- it doesn't say these are the new guidelines as of yet -- this is an article from a RD discussing maximizing performance and recovery on Whole30.  So as always, I feel it should be tailored to the needs of each person and the type of exercise they are doing - but I'm not sure it's an official change which means maybe experimenting with it might be the best to figure out what your body needs. Just a thought :) 

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On 6/21/2019 at 12:55 PM, kirbz said:

 

That, and I just like things to make sense. And this doesn't. I devoured It Starts with Food and loved the science and the explanations and logic and now I don't have an explanation that makes sense for what Whole30 is recommending I eat for pre- and post-workout fuel. And it's driving me slightly crazy!

Have you looked into the RD that wrote the article? By visiting his website, you may find some great information to support his theory :) 

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I didn't necessarily think this article represented a new guideline either. I remember reading it when I received a Whole30 email several months ago when the article was written . And frankly, I kinda dismissed it because it didn't fit into my understanding of the Whole30 framework. But, based on various threads here on the forum, it feels like maybe it is intended to be the new guideline...

For example, the moderators have indicated that there are plans to update the meal template to align with these guidelines. Which sure makes it sound like they're the new pre- and post-workout guidelines. 

Also, the moderators referenced a statement from Melissa Urban on this topic (see the second post here https://forum.whole30.com/topic/56912-pre-workout-meal-confused/), though I'm not sure where it came from:

First, the ISWF pre-workout recommendations were created back in 2010. Exercise nutrition best practices are always evolving, which is why we reached out to an expert in the current science; an RD who works with clients on a daily basis.

We asked Paul to explain more his rationale on eating carbs pre-workout: "Eating carbohydrates before a workout will provide the muscles with readily available fuel--taken from the blood and sent wherever it's needed, which is faster and easier to access than digging into stores glycogen. Plus, depleting glycogen levels set off fatigue sensors in the body – and we want to avoid that happening mid-workout."

The Whole30 books aren't being updated with this information at this point (book updates are a HUGE process), so please refer to the most current post for your best pre- and post-workout strategies.

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16 hours ago, kirbz said:

I didn't necessarily think this article represented a new guideline either. I remember reading it when I received a Whole30 email several months ago when the article was written . And frankly, I kinda dismissed it because it didn't fit into my understanding of the Whole30 framework. But, based on various threads here on the forum, it feels like maybe it is intended to be the new guideline...

For example, the moderators have indicated that there are plans to update the meal template to align with these guidelines. Which sure makes it sound like they're the new pre- and post-workout guidelines. 

Official word from headquarters is that they are going to be updating the meal template with these guidelines.

Additionally it's been stated that these guidelines are tailored to the type of exercise as well.  Therefore, if the "extra meal"/3-4 whole30 meals were working for you before with your workout regimen, it is pretty likely you can stick to that.  In this instance, I would say it's likely an experimental process for each person and the type of workouts they are doing.  This article is focusing on getting the most out of your workouts and optimizing recovery, so if specific individuals are feeling like they need to "up their game" in that aspect, they could consider tailoring their workouts with this article. 

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I hope they add some caveats around the "why" of that.  As mentioned above I'd concerned about recommending that level of high-intensity glycogen-depleting workout for Whole30 inductees.  Surely at least some proportion of Whole30 inductees are new to fitness as well, and that level of training is (I suspect) not a great fit for many.

Also as mentioned in the https://www.marksdailyapple.com/definitive-guide-to-metabolic-flexibility/ article they might want to consider other metabolic issues if they've come to Whole30 from years of processed sugar.

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Hey! I have done Whole30 while training for marathons and racing them on back to back days. I’m not an elite athlete or special by any stretch but wanted to share my experience.

While training for 10+ miles I would have a half Larabar every 3 miles. This was ideal or having dried apricots and almonds on the go. Easy to carry and kept my sugar and salt balanced while running. During the races I used the same pattern. 

Pre-workout I almost always had some almond butter and either celery or half a banana (depending on how I was feeling) and eggs.

Post workout was more eggs or sausage/protein, sweet potatoes (usually half or more if needed), veggies of some mixture. I would finish my coffee and if I got hungry shortly there after it was the other half of the banana with almond butter or veggies with avocado.

I had finished over 40 days on Whole30. In between day 1 and 2 I had a burger with sweet potato fries and a salad. I was well aware I wasn’t going to be able to reload my body the way it needed too with out additional carbs. So, Not a compliant meal that evening. Next day back to all compliant meals and snacks even during the race.

Although I can’t give all the science this combo works best for me when I am running as much as I did then and am working up to doing again. 

I always lead with the template foods and supplemented with fruits and fat. Lots of sweet potatoes! 

 

Not sure this helped but I think it will help those that do workout for long periods of time, want to stay compliant, but needs an extra boost.

 

 

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@WholeyRunning Thanks for this information! I have yet to do a Whole30 since seeing the new pre- and post-workout guidelines, but it's super helpful to hear about the experience of others! It's definitely time to start playing around and figuring it out. I did a multi-pitch climb this week that took about seven hours with the hike in and out. I was absolutely and completely exhausted. I was so disappointed because I'd been training to prepare for this. It became pretty apparent that my SAD diet isn't going to work for big days in the mountains. So, it might be time to try again! 

Thank you again for your thoughtful response! This really was helpful!

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