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Are Josh's recommendations appropriate if only doing F1 and H1?


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I'm doing F1 and H1 on M-Tu-Th-F, and was wondering if Josh's peri-workout nutrition plan would still be appropriate (warning: major elaboration below). 


I've never liked the idea of supplementing with protein shakes for several reasons: 1) I've always preferred the idea of eating real food, and 2) I always associated protein shakes with fat bodybuilders who only cared about being "huge" despite how ridiculous they looked. In fact, the main reason I got into GST in 2005 was because I preferred the gymnast ideal of being lean and muscular over the bodybuilder look. That being said, after looking into it today, I've come across at least a couple of references showing that supplementing with whey or skim milk (500 cc immediately post then 500 cc 1h after) not only increased lean mass, but also decreased fat compared to placebo or soy protein (here's the paper for the skim milk study http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/86/2/373.long).


Despite the papers, old biases are hard to get rid of, so I have a few questions. 


As I said above, I work out 4 days a week (4-day F1 split each one followed by H1), but the workouts aren't *that* intense in that I don't sweat much, and though today I had trouble finishing my 9th pushup on my 4th set (I'm on week 6), my entire workout only took 25 minutes, and that includes H1 which I don't consider a strength workout (I'm on PE1 for everything except for HBP and RC where I'm on PE2).  


So on to the questions:


1. Given the short duration and only moderate intensity of my workouts, would the kind of supplementation that Josh advocates or that the milk paper used (1L of skim milk post-workout) be too much? My question really is whether it'll just end-up making me gain fat. 


2. What do you think of that milk study? Is the protein and carbohydrate content of the milk relatively equivalent to Josh's PWO recommendations?


3. Rather than skim milk or whey powder, could I use ricotta cheese and fruit instead? Ricotta is made from whey, and I can find some that doesn't have funky ingredients such as guar gum etc... If so, how much protein should I aim for given my above workload? I weigh just under 150 lbs by the way and am 5'8" with about 10% body fat.


4. Coach's gymnasts are doing pretty well despite not supplementing. Is it unreasonable to think that I could get the same results by only using F1 and H1 without supplementing? Actually typing this question out makes me realize just how ridiculous the notion would be given their young age, and the fact that they train so much more than I do including rings, pommel horse, etc... 


Anyway, I think that's it for now. I don't mean to be a skeptic, it's just that I've never done this kind of thing before and don't want to make a mistake that I'll later regret such as taking waaay too many calories for the amount of work I do.


In terms of other exercise I do, at the moment, I cross country ski a few times a week (anywhere from 1 to 4 hours/week), and only dream of being able to go back to training BJJ regularly (I had to stop once my son was born due to scheduling conflicts). 


Any response (even partial ones) is appreciated. 




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Joshua Slocum

1. If you proportionately decrease the amount of food you eat during the day, you shouldn't gain any fat. Even for just F1/H1 workouts this sort of supplementing should bring benefits, since the primary goal is to promote anabolism by providing the muscles with protein after they've been stressed.


2. 1L skim milk has ~50g carbs and ~30g protein, which is about equivalent to Josh's PWO recommendation. 


3. You want to minimize the amount of fat that you take in PWO, because fat tends to make food sit in the stomach for longer. Non-fat greek yogurt or non-fat cottage cheese are both good choices: very high in whey protein, and no fat. Non-fat ricotta cheese could also work. 


4. As you said, they are very young, and also work out 3-4 hours a day. 

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Joshua Naterman

Keep in mind that everything has to be scaled to your size.


You don't need supplements. Protein powder is CONVENIENT, but not superior to real food and not necessary. For the workout window, specifically, there may be a small advantage to whey protein powder, but if you don't want to use it then just eat 30g of protein from a chicken breast around 20-30 minutes (or longer, if it feels better for you) pre-workout, along with whatever carb sources make you feel good, and then go work out, and have more chicken after the workout.


Just hydrate appropriately alongside that and you should be just fine.


If your workouts are less than 40-50 minutes, you may not want to do any special pre-workout stuff at all, but I find that I still feel better when I do, and preworkout feedings mean I need to eat less afterwards, so it is convenient in that sense as well.



Bottom line: If you are eating decent food, and not overeating during your non-workout time, you're not going to get fat. Don't worry.

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Thanks for the response guys!


Hari: Very interesting that the numbers match-up to Josh's recommendations. Thanks! This would seem to be a convenient option for those who tend to travel without their tubs of whey, or who simply don't want to have to deal with powders. 


Josh: What I found interesting about the study that I referenced was that the source of protein *did* seem to make a difference, with isocaloric soy causing less fat loss and muscle gain. Milk seemed to increase fat loss over soy by 1.3 lbs in 12 weeks, whereas it increased lean mass gain by 2 lbs. I wonder if this is something specific to soy though as that group also had less fat loss than in the group that drank the carbohydrate-only drink post-workout.

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