Maximize your workout like Conor McGregor.
Diet is important 24-7, but it is arguably most important around your workout. One needs energy in order to do intense work and nutrients for optimal recovery. Nutritionist George Lockhart runs his elite nutrition company and boasts many UFC champions among his clientele. In this video, he explains how to diet before and after a workout.
First off, he recommends protein before a workout. The goal is to make as much energy available to the muscles as possible. High amounts of protein release a hormone called glucagon which unlocks the glycogen in muscles. Closer to the workout, he recommends a shot of honey. The honey has a similar effect- the concentrated glucose further encourages your body to expend glycogen by offering it a resupply in advance.
Lockhart also recommends caffeine before a workout. He cites an NSCA study that suggests athletic performance will be improved by 2-6 milligrams of caffeine per kilo of lean muscle mass. Of course, any adverse effects on sleep will undermine the benefits. So if you’re taking caffeine, just make sure it doesn’t interfere with your sleep.
Lockhart also argues against the practice of chugging a protein shake immediately after a workout.
“When you’re anaerobic, your body’s primary source of fuel is carbohydrates… you just used carbohydrates and you’re like ‘I need to take protein.’ If your body’s using protein you’re doing something seriously wrong because the only way that your body will break down protein is if your body has no other source of fuel out there- fat or carbohydrate.”
But here’s where things get interesting. He says that the practice of overloading on protein can be helpful for some bodybuilders due to a process called glyconeogenesis, whereby the body can actually convert protein to glycogen. Lockhart says it keeps the metabolism high, has great thermogenic effects, and allows extreme leanness, but comes at a steep performance cost.
So for general performance: protein before, high-glycemic carbohydrate after. But for the elite in bodybuilding, all the standard rules go out the window. High protein all the time might be the best method.