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Q&A Time! Meal Timing, Protein Powders and Shenanigans

On this cold, slick, and apparently awaiting the Snow-Apocalypse, I thought we’d do a bit of Q&A.

Obviously it can’t be a “live” Q&A as you’re there and I’m here, but for future reference, if you have any questions fitness, boot camp or nutrition related, don’t hesitate to shoot me an email or ask the next time you see me.

I picked 1 nutrition related question and 1 exercise related question because, oddly enough, I’ve been receiving them A LOT lately.

The first question can be chalked up to about 50,000 people, but I’m taking it directly from Cindy and she asks “Do I have to have a protein drink before and after my workout?  That seems a bit excessive and expensive.”

Answer:  You’re right Cindy.  It is excessive and can get quite expensive.

I am a big fan of protein powders for their ease in adding extra protein to your daily diet, but they are not meant to replace real food.  Supplements are just that…meant to supplement your diet and NOT replace food.

There is a lot of confusion in the world of weight loss and fitness as it pertains to pre-workout and post-workout nutrition and even nutrition DURING your workout.

Personally, I think it turns us all into obsessive-compulsive eaters because instead of worrying about eating the wrong things that make us gain weight, now we’re supposed to worry about what we have before and after our workouts to maximize the workout itself.

I call shenanigans.

First, we have to look at the people who are telling us to this.  Follow the money.  Is it a supplement company or store?  If the answer is yes; take the advice with a grain of salt.

Is it someone who stands to make money by telling you that in order to maximize your results, you MUST consume a protein drink before and after your workout?  Again, take it with a grain of salt.  And in the art of full disclosure, I do represent a line of supplements, but you will never hear me saying you have to consume them to maximize results.

You can do it with real food.

Let’s say you do your workout first thing in the morning, or within 30-45 minutes of waking up.  Should you eat before the workout?


Should you have a protein drink?  Sure.

Do you have to? Nope.

You could just as easily have a small serving of all-natural yogurt along with a piece of fruit.  The calorie count on that is pretty small yet will provide you with some oomph and energy for your workout.

You could also have a slice of whole-wheat toast with a little all-natural peanut butter spread on top.

Again, low in calories (assuming you don’t put a huge dollop of peanut butter on there) and high in nutrition – protein, healthy fats, and healthy carbs.

Then, after your workout have something roughly the same size, and even a bit bigger, or prepare a homemade smoothie (and I do use protein powder in my smoothies).

So do you have to have protein drinks before and after your workout?  Absolutely not.

Should you?  Nope.

Is it an option?  Yep.

No reason for this picture other than it's funny!

Should you freak out about it and buy into the hype that some marketing piece or dubious store is trying to sell you?  Absolutely not.

The second question again could be assigned to many ladies, but the most recent version comes from Annie and she asks, “What does it mean if a workout is ‘based on science’?”

Answer:  Good question!  I don’t know where this question is coming from, but there must be something new that just hit that markets itself as science-based workouts.

To give you a little example of the marketing power of this I’m going to go back to the supplement world for this one.

Do you remember the company MET-Rx?  They hit it big with a line of protein powders and one of their tag-lines was something like “Engineered nutrition” which gave you the impression that their protein powder was far superior than others because it was based in “science” and not the murky world of supplement manufacturing (which is in fact quite murky).

Did it work?  It went gangbusters!  That little tag line helped shoot MET-Rx to the moon in terms of sales.

But as far as workouts, does it mean anything or is it just marketing hype?  It’s a bit of both.

First, you have to understand that there is a scientific study out there for virtually every type of exercise, so saying something is “backed by science” can be a bit dubious. I remember the line in the movie “JFK” where Kevin Costner says in court “Science can prove an elephant can hang from a branch in a tree by its tail, but that doesn’t mean it can actually happen.”  Or something to that effect :)

What I’m guessing this marketing piece (and I’m assuming it’s marketing) is saying is that their workouts aren’t based in stupidity. They’re created by intelligent people who know what the hell they’re doing, which is saying something because many workout programs are created by idiots who think that a good workout has to be hard and throw a bunch of crap exercises together just to see what makes people sweat the most.

Did that make sense or was that just a bit of soapbox preaching?

It’s okay if it was preaching because I’m an ordained minister in the church of Ed.

That does it for today’s Q&A!

I hope you learned something and are better able to traverse the murky world of marketing.

I’ll be back again real soon with more boot camp Q&A and other goodies and be sure to be on the lookout for something extra special awesome in 3 weeks time!  It coincides with the arrival of my little man and I have something special planned for his arrival that benefits each and every one of my awesomely awesome readers!

Talk to you soon!


About The Author

Ed Scow, also known as "The Fit Dad", likes long walks on the beach, snuggling, hand stand push-ups and pretending to work. He's also a fitness & nutrition expert, proud papa and husband to a smokin' hot wifey.

Number of Entries : 165

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