This formula incorporates all the latest sports supplement research, and we reveal the reasons behind these recommendations. However, if you’re the type who hedges bets, you may be more inclined to take in only one protein shake before or after your workout. Doing so will give you a big advantage over those who forgo their workout nutrition altogether, but may provide slightly less growth than our comprehensive formulation. We recommend that you go for the full monty.

Whether you want to take a protein supplement before or after your workouts, or at both times, AbFitt gives you the perfect formula for your schedule and needs. You’ll find that your time in the gym will be better spent.

To get the best results possible from your nutrition plan, you need to take in a protein shake both before and after your workout.

Take in a preworkout meal with the following ingredients in the 30 minutes before you train. Consume all the carbs and drink about half to two-thirds of this protein shake before a workout.

40 g whey protein
40 g slow-digesting carbs such as oatmeal, fruit, whole-wheat bread or sweet potatoes
3–5 g of creatine
3–5 g arginine
5 g BCAAs
5 g glutamine
Mix with about 20–30 oz water.

Add 20-30 ounces of water to the remains of your protein shake, and continue to sip it between sets. Finish this drink about two-thirds of the way through your workout.


Drink a protein shake with the following ingredients immediately following your workout.

40 g protein
60–80 g fast-digesting carbs (sugar)
3–5 g creatine
5 g BCAAs
5 g glutamine

You may not always have the time or willingness to drink protein shakes before, during and after your workouts. While you will see optimal results from doing so, you can still get impressive results from drinking one shake before or after your workout. Here are the formulas for the best preworkout and post-workout shakes when you don’t plan to drink both.

Take in a preworkout meal with the following ingredients in the 30 minutes before you begin your workout.

50–60 g protein
80 g slow-digesting carbs, such as oatmeal, fruit, whole-wheat bread or sweet potatoes
5 g creatine
5 g arginine
10 g BCAAs
10 g glutamine

If you skipped your preworkout shake, then follow these guidelines for your post-workout shake:

50–60 g protein
80 g fast-digesting carbs (sugar)
5 g creatine
10 g BCAAs
10 g glutamine

What's Shakin'?
Here’s the scoop behind what’s in your scoop of protein powder.

WHEY Whey protein (about 20% of the protein in milk) is the fastest-digesting protein, making it an excellent pre- and post-workout choice. Its amino acids hit your bloodstream quickly, helping to stop muscle breakdown during workouts and jump-start the muscle-building process that comes with recovery. Whey also has a high concentration of branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) — leucine, isoleucine and valine. These aminos, especially leucine, help to stimulate physiological processes that result in muscle growth. BCAAs also spike insulin levels, and insulin is an anabolic hormone that drives amino acids and glucose to your muscles to stimulate growth and recovery.

CASEIN Casein makes up the remaining fraction of milk protein (about 80%). Casein, however, is slow-digesting, meaning that it provides a slower, steadier release of amino acids. Recent research shows that casein increases muscle protein synthesis after workouts and may be as good as, or even a better than, whey. For best results, choose a protein product that contains both whey and casein.

SLOW-DIGESTING CARBS These carbs include yams, brown rice, oatmeal, fruit and whole-grain products such as whole-grain breads and pasta. These foods are digested slowly, meaning that the carbs they contain are released into the bloodstream as glucose at a slow rate. The advantage of this is that insulin levels are kept low, helping you to maintain energy levels for a longer period of time and reduce the likelihood of storing these carbs as body fat. Slow-digesting carbs are a good choice before workouts to enhance energy and promote fat burning.

FAST-DIGESTING CARBS These carbs include sugar, sports drinks, white-flour products such as plain bagels and white bread, and white potatoes. Fast-digesting carbs enter your bloodstream quickly as glucose, spiking insulin levels. While this is an undesirable effect at most times of day, it’s important to consume fast-digesting carbs after workouts because the insulin that is released in response to them helps drive muscle growth and recovery.

GLUTAMINE This is one of the most important amino acids for supporting health, muscle growth and recovery. The digestive system has a high demand for glutamine, and if you don’t have enough available, your body will break down muscle mass to get it. Supplementing with this amino helps spare the glutamine in your muscles. Glutamine also buffers the effects of intense exercise that tear down muscles, and it boosts growth-hormone levels to support muscle growth.

BCAAs These amino acids are critical for the manufacture, maintenance and repair of muscle tissue. Research on leucine, one of the three BCAAs, demonstrates that it stimulates protein synthesis, enhancing muscle growth. The BCAAs also help boost insulin release. After your workouts, this anabolic hormone stimulates muscle growth and drives nutrients, including amino acids, glucose and creatine to your muscle cells. BCAAs also help blunt cortisol levels, the catabolic hormone that leads to muscle breakdown. While you’ll get BCAAs in your protein (especially whey), it’s a good idea to add more to shakes for the specific advantages that BCAAs provide.

CREATINE Creatine is made from three amino acids: arginine, glycine and methionine. Supplementing with creatine before your workouts helps to keep your muscles saturated with creatine, producing the rapid energy your muscles need to enhance workouts. Creatine also helps to make your muscles stronger by pulling more water into muscle cells. For best results, take a dose of creatine before and after you work out to help keep creatine levels high and to replenish them after training.

ARGININE This amino acid is readily converted to nitric oxide (NO) in your body. NO is involved in numerous bodily functions that support muscle growth. The most important of these is vasodilation. Arginine supplementation helps to increase the diameter of blood vessels, resulting in an increase in blood flow to your muscles. This allows for a greater delivery of nutrients, oxygen and anabolic hormones to the muscle you’re working. It also creates a bigger pump during the workout. Finally, arginine also boosts growth-hormone levels. All of these effects are critical for muscle growth.

A Bigger, Better, Leaner, Stronger you in 2012

There are many great vitamins and supplements but it is important to understand first that there are NO MAGIC PILLS. There is not a pill or a drink that will make you bigger, leaner, stronger, etc., without good nutrition and a healthy dose of exercise. This is fact, so please eat good foods daily!

Don't misunderstand supplements do have their place, but not when it comes to quick fixes. Supplements in addition to a healthy diet and exercise program will go along way to helping you reach your fitness goals.

PROTEIN POWDERS- These are critical in my diet plan for 3 reasons. They are convenient, they are inexpensive and they help me grow and maintain lean muscle. It can be confusing though! Do you buy whey, soy, casein, egg, or a blend of protein? They each have their benefits and I include all of them in my diet.
Whey- is one of the highest bio-available forms of protein. It is a fast absorbing protein that makes it ideal for pre and post workout, as well as anytime during the day. Another huge benefit of whey is that it comes in many flavors.

Casein- is a slow digesting protein. You can take it anytime, but the slow breakdown of the protein makes it a perfect choice for a before bedtime meal to aid in recovery and muscle development while you sleep. I do not recommend Casein if you are lactose intolerant, and I do not recommend taking extra protein before bed unless you are doing lots of high-intensity strength training.

Multi vitamin- A good multi vitamin is like an insurance plan. I advise getting most of your nutrition through proper nutrition, but a vitamin supplement can be good insurance. If your body does not use the vitamins, the excess will merely be excreted. Vitamins do not need to be expensive. A good multi-vitamin will be good insurance if you are eating well. J

Caffeine- YES, caffeine has a place in my diet. I love it. It speeds up my metabolism and it keeps me energized and allows me to push harder during my workouts. . Green tea or coffee can be ideal for most mornings, but I like something that gives me a bit more focus pre-workout. I am a fan of powders and stay away from pills. regardless make sure you read the label. If I don’t know what the ingredients are, I will do research and find out. This is not a place to mess with your health. Research ingredients. Listen to your body and recognize that jitters, racing heartbeat, and dizziness are not healthy ways to feel, and surely won’t benefit your workout.

Green Tea Extract- There are many benefits to green tea. Green tea has been shown to slow down the effects of aging and even cancer growth. It is not a magic potion by any means but the health benefits have been thoroughly researched are a large reason I take the extract and drink a lot of green tea.

GLUTAMINE and Amino Acids- I take these AFTER my workouts for muscle recovery and I DO NOT recommend these supplements UNLESS you are working out intensely.

So what are the key nutrients to build your best body ever? How much do you need and when is the best time to take them?

Supplements are very effective for promoting muscle gains. The most critical would be:

Whey Protein- Since it is so fast-digesting it aids muscle growth around workouts.
Multivitamin- To help cover all your micronutrient bases.

Creatine- Which is fairly cheap and very effective.

Branched-Chain Amino Acids- They may help promote muscle growth.

Q: What is the proper intake of proteins per meal? Is it true that the body can absorb 30 grams per meal? Is there such a thing as too much protein? I see some people eating 80g of protein per meal.

A: You should shoot for about 30-40g of protein per meal. How much protein a body can absorb depends on the individual and what they have eaten prior to that meal.

Q: I've heard a lot about carb cycling - what is it? Why should I do it? What is an example of carb-cycling?

A: Carb cycling refers to alternating periods of low- and high-carb intake, maximizing both fat loss and muscle growth. For fat loss, your default diet would be somewhat under 1g of carbs per pound of bodyweight. You would cycle in a high-carb day (greater than 2g per pound) every five to seven days.

Since carb-restricted diets can lower your metabolic rate by decreasing leptin levels, the high-carb day helps to reset your leptin levels and keep your metabolic rate up.

To add size, your default diet would be 2-3g per pound. You can go lower, either to about 1g per pound on non-training days, or you can have two low-carb days after every three or four high-carb days to minimize fat gain.

Q: Do you have any tips for getting rid of that last inch around the belly? HIIT cardio and weightlifting have left me with just a little bit more to lose.

A: That last inch is the toughest. The only way to get rid of it is to burn even more calories than you consume. So to consume even fewer calories, consider dropping some extra carbs from your diet, such as at your pre-workout meal and/or lunch.

To burn more calories, consider turning up your high-intensity interval training by going for a few more intervals each time.

Q: I do cardio right after weights. Should I have my postworkout shake and carbs before cardio or after? If I wait until after cardio, will I miss my postworkout window to stimulate muscle growth?

You should wait until immediately after the cardio is over to consume your protein and fast carbs. This is especially true for the carbs, which would blunt fat burning during the cardio workout. Don't be worried about missing your post-workout window . . . as long as you prepared properly with a pre-workout protein shake.

The pre-workout protein shake provides energy during the workout and also serves as a post-workout protein source to stimulate muscle protein synthesis.

Q: If I'm taking creatine, do I need to do the loading phase first? What is a typical loading phase?

A: You only need a loading phase if you want to see immediate results. A good loading phase should last five to seven days. Take 5g of creatine four or five times per day. Definitely take creatine with protein and carbs, and on workout days make one of those doses with your pre-workout shake and carbs, and another one immediately post-workout with your shake and carbs.

Q: I take 40-45g of protein and 5g of creatine in my post-workout shake. What is the best source of carbs to take at that time: a supplement powder I could combine with my shake or a food source?

A: Post-workout, it doesn't matter, as long as they are fast-digesting or high-glycemic carbs. For supplements, nothing beats Vitargo in my opinion, a powdered complex carb supplement that actually digests about twice as fast as most sugars.

Another option is simply dextrose powder. For foods, fat-free sugary candies are best. One company that stands out is Wonka. Many of their candies, such as Pixy Stix, Sweet Tarts and Bottle Caps are made with either dextrose or maltodextrin, which are both basically pure glucose and will spike insulin and drive amino acids, carbs and creatine into your muscles, and turn on muscle protein synthesis to stimulate growth.

Slow-digesting carbs, such as most fruit, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread, etc., are not the best choice, as they keep insulin levels low and steady.

You Are A Fat Burning Machine!

Many different forms of cardio can help you get lean and ripped. Unfortunately, many people don't like doing cardio because it can be boring and monotonous. Cardio doldrums violate the first rule of fitness: The best workout is the one that makes you come back for another workout.

That's why it's so important to implement fast, effective and fun cardio. So instead of giving you one pick, I offer two: jumping rope and sprinting. Each can turn you into a fat-burning pyromaniac.

Let's start with jumping rope, which has to be one of best fat-burning cardio workouts in existence. Not only does it work your lungs, but it also tones your legs and lower body. Your brain will feel better. Jumping rope can produce a major endorphin buzz.

The benefits don't end there, because jumping rope is...

Convenient: You can pack your jump rope in your suitcase or backpack and take it anywhere in the world.
Efficient: Jumping rope can burn up to 1,000 calories per hour, making it one of the best aerobic athletic workouts around.
Inexpensive: A jump rope shouldn't cost you more than $10 at a local sporting goods store.

My second choice, sprinting, is even cheaper. I incorporate sprinting into my weekly training routine. Why? It increases my metabolic rate for days, keeping my metabolism firing on all cylinders throughout the week.

Not only is sprinting great for fat loss, but it can sculpt your legs tremendously. When you sprint, your accelerators are your quadriceps and your decelerators are your hamstrings. For that reason, sprinting is arguably the best legs exercise you can apply without touching a single weight in the gym.

Sprinting and the resulting metabolic bursts also better retain lean muscle mass than longer, slower cardio sessions. The latter can actually be catabolic. Notice how scrawny most marathon runners appear, versus lean and muscular sprinters.

A good sprinting workout doesn't end with lungs and legs. Sprinting also taxes abdominals and the

contract? Imagine sprinting for a 100 meters ... your abs work like crazy lifting your legs off the ground while accelerating. I argue that a solid sprinting routine can serve as a stand-alone ab routine. If you think that's bunk, just look at my abs. Pow!

science hase my back on this one. Many studies have shown that sprinting is more effective for fat loss than low-intensity cardio. Australian researchers had 15 females perform 45-minute cardio sessions and compared their results with 15 females doing high-intensity intervals. The HIIT cyclists lost six times more body fat in just 15 weeks! That's crazy!

Bear in mind, you can do high-intensity intervals by sprinting or jumping rope. Add these dynamic workouts to your routine a couple times per week. Assuming your diet is tight, the fat will head for the hills even faster than you sprint up them.

Building Muscle And Muscle Recovery

For many athletes, especially fighters, building muscle and muscle recovery is a crucial component in preparing for a fight. Appropriate recovery not only leads to more productive workouts, but also ensures a much smoother road in the weeks of training before a big fight.

Most athletes understand the importance of protein, but when it comes to knowing what particular variety to choose, the recommended dosage or why it is even needed in the first place, that’s where the waters get murky for some.

Protein is often referred to as the “building blocks of our bodies.” It is an integral part of growth, development and the repair of tissue in the body. Contrary to popular belief, protein is not just for your muscles. It helps athletes by boosting the nervous system, keeps hormones levels properly balanced and assists in fighting disease by enriching the immune system. Protein is made up of chains of amino acids and studies have shown that these amino acids are broken down for energy while exercising your muscles. When your glycogen stores start to dwindle during intense training, your body will break down fat and a little muscle. This is why rebuilding is so crucial during post recovery.

Some of these amino acids cannot be created by the body so it is important to obtain them from high quality sources elsewhere. Beef, chicken, and fish are all high in protein and will help provide your body with what it needs to rebuild. Looking for varieties that are organic or free range will also greatly improve protein absorption by reducing the toxic load on your body. Other great options are bison/buffalo, elk and emu. Although not as common or readily available, these types of meats are very high in protein and low in fat. For the average person, consumption of protein can be obtained through eating the right kind of diet and taking-in the right types of food. Because of the unique demands of the sport, boxers require more protein than what they can easily consume through whole foods.

Protein shakes and meal replacements can also be a good substitute, but is a broader topic that will be discussed more in depth in a later article.

While sedentary people only require about 0.8 grams (per kilogram of body weight) of protein each day, athletes are a different story. Duration and intensity are two factors that help determine the amount of protein needed for fighters who train at higher levels of intensity. If you train hard, you’re absolutely going to need more protein than the average person. For people who regularly engage in high intense aerobic sports, like boxing, 1.2 to 1.4 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight per day is necessary. (To find your weight in kilograms, take your weight in pounds and divide it by 2.2.) The total goal is to get your protein intake to about 12 to 20 percent of your total caloric intake. It is not even uncommon for some athletes in heavy training to need as much as 25 to 50 percent more than the RDA in order to maintain peak performance and best health practices, based on their individual physical demand.

Throwing out all these numbers can get a little confusing, but don’t stress. Simply use this as a model, a rough guide to help you better understand your basic protein needs. Nobody has the same biochemistry. We are all very unique individuals with different needs and will have a variety of physical responses to supplementation. As long as you use this as a base, you will likely see or feel noticeable gains. You can always add or take away depending on how you feel and how your body responds. In some instances, fighters (and athletes of any sport) seem somewhat nonchalant about what they eat on a daily basis. But those are typically the athletes who are more prone to injuries, fatigue, and poor recovery. By being a bit more attentive to your diet and, in this case, protein supplementation, you will get results.

As an athlete, it’s important to understand what a healthy diet entails, how you can use food and basic supplements to maximize your efforts in the gym. With all the work that boxing demands, the last thing you want is to be held back from reaching your potential due to a poor diet and an inability to perform at your very best every time you step into the ring. When your path to optimal physical health could start with something as simple as adding a protein shake, it would be a shame to not stir up your diet a little. It could have you toasting victory instead of tasting defeat, so knock one back…with a double scoop of protein.