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Brandon Enos 02-12-2009 12:29 AM

Muscle Catabolism After Workouts
I was wondering if I could get the opinion of some of the 'IF Gurus' here on the issue of not eating after a workout and your body breaking down and eating its own muscles. I donít think I really believe it, but Id like to hear some opinions (if for no reason other than to validate my thoughts).

Back when I did IF for the first time with paleo foods I lost a lot of weight, approximately 80 pounds, then I got lazy and complacent, quite both IF and paleo and gained it all back (epic fail). For the last few months Iíve been eating paleo/primal again, but with the eating every three hours. Iím ready do go back on IF again. I was thinking a 15-16 hour fast, 8 or 9PM through 12PM. Starting at 12, eat at least two big meals of meat, veggies, and healthy fats and 'graze' on berries/nuts all I want the rest of the time. On Saturday and Sunday, Ill eat Breakfast (if feeling it) and wont worry about fasting. Because of school, my workouts will be around 10 or so everyday, except for Friday, which will be around 4PM.

However, in these last few months, Iíve spent a lot of time over at t-nation, while I like a lot of it, thereís also a lot I donít like.

Iíve seen the opinions/beliefs over there on eating immediately after a workout, but Id like the opinions over here from an IF perspective.

My personal opinion: If you want to gain massive amounts of size where you need to consume over 3000 calories/day, like a majority of t-nation readers do, I can see the merit in eating non-stop, all day long. However, if you want to lose weight, achieve a low body fat level, and maintain muscle to achieve that lean, rugged, 'primal' look, I think IF (where I was never been able to consume much higher than 2000 calories/day, and that was on my heavy days) should work just fine. And yes, I know you can achieve the second with eating every three hours as well, but, in my opinion, if you can get the same benefit with less work and less stress (in terms of having to always be around food), why the hell not?

Mike ODonnell 02-12-2009 01:24 PM

I take BCAAs and eat like a horse after weight training 2x a week....other workouts that are more "cardio" like, I don't sweat it. Muscle grows 24hrs a day, amino acids get recycled in the body, just an anabolic advantage to eating right after a heavy lifting workout for protein synthesis. In the end....find what schedule works for you and makes you happy.

Steven Low 02-12-2009 01:36 PM

What Mike said.

TBH the whole anabolic/catabolic thing is overblown. People worry more about this stuff than actually WORKING HARD DURING WORKOUTS... which is what is going to make the most difference in performance and body composition (provided quality diet choices).

Patrick Yeung 02-12-2009 06:25 PM

Im in the same boat as Mike. Though, I have been trying to time my heavy lifts at night, but if I did it in the morning, and I feel hungry later, I may have some low GI protein. Otherwise, ive had great gains in my lifts/weight and lost bf not eating PWO.

I dont sweat a detailed program though, I just eat when im hungry, and stop when I feel satisfied. I try to make sure to get at least enough protein, especially if ive lifted. Some nights, I may eat 4000 calories, others, maybe 2000, but the body is pretty good at keeping homeostasis and letting you know when it needs more calories, and when.

Derek Weaver 02-12-2009 07:40 PM

If performance is your goal, you'd be well served to focus on PWO nutrition and adhere to it. If looking good nekkid and health, longevity etc. is your goal, PWO nutrition helps but isn't entirely necessary.

Have you checked out Lean Gains? Like everyone else said, do what makes you feel the best while still allowing results.

What is your workout approach like? As in, what kind of activity do you do.
Why not just extend your eating window so that you can still eat PWO, and start eating later in the day.

Keep it intermittent to allow for feedings on WO days, and not so much on rest days.

Todd Mccraw 02-13-2009 04:47 AM


Originally Posted by Steven Low (Post 50343)
What Mike said.

TBH the whole anabolic/catabolic thing is overblown. People worry more about this stuff than actually WORKING HARD DURING WORKOUTS... which is what is going to make the most difference in performance and body composition (provided quality diet choices).


I worked with a Professional Bodybuilder as a personal trainer a few years ago, and while I can't go into everything, there is one key piece of nutrition advice that he shares with everyone interested.

And the big secret is...."Eat When Hungry". Figure out the nutrients your body needs in respect to Protein, Carbs, and Fat..and eat these ratios when hungry.(They change considering your goals).

you effectively stimulate your body through your workouts, it (your body) will let you know when it's ready to eat. After a few weeks of learning, you will know when your body is really hungry, and when you just think you are (This could be affected by numerous things such as hydration, boredom, etc).

For example, on my off days, I could go with only 2 meals sometimes. But on my leg workout days, I may eat 6-7 meals.

Now I am not quite sure how that would work with IF, but I'm sure it could be combined into an effective program.

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