Tired of waiting for equipment? Did you have to work late and your pre-workout nutrient timing was messed up? Ever get to a birthday dinner late because it was leg day? Maybe your supervisor walks up to you at 4:30 p.m. and orders you to work two hours of overtime that day. There goes the workout - again!
Your whole life could dramatically change for the better by switching your workout time from after work to before work. All you have to do is get out of bed a little earlier!
Even though you might feel like a zombie when you crawl out of bed in the morning, it's still going to be the best time to give anything your full attention - after you're fully awake that is! Some time ago, I read an article by Skip LaCour where he stated that he used to give his employer the best hours of his day.
He put in a full day at work and then he headed to the gym. His mental focus wasn't as good after work and some days he'd be really tired and so his workout would suffer.
Skip discovered, as I have, that if you want to gain the most from your workouts, do them first thing! You can still give your employer eight to nine quality hours of work, but you took care of your training first.
Judging by the multitude of people who are at health clubs and gyms after 5:00 p.m., it's safe to say that the majority of people fit their workouts in after their day at work. They might have arrived directly from work or have gone home to change first, but, nonetheless, the crowds are still there.
The cardio equipment is filled with people who are literally sweating their butts off. Most machines are in use and the free weight area is packed. At 5:00 a.m., however, you have a much better chance of finding an open bench to train chest, even on Mondays!
Let's take a look at pre- and post-workout nutrition and how it's affected by training at different times during the day.
If you're the typical bodybuilder, your last meal before training will be a mid-afternoon snack consisting of 40-50 grams of protein and some carbs for your workout, which begins after work between about 5:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m.
Immediately before your workout, you take in a carb drink and some whey protein. If you're using a supplement like NO-Xplode, you'll forego the carbs and whey and take it on an empty stomach and then hit the weights about 30 minutes later.
If you finish your training at 7:30 p.m. or 8:00 p.m., you'll probably try to down a post-workout carb and protein drink and eat a meal with high carbs and more protein when you get home. About 2 hours later, you'll eat some more protein and carbs and hit the sack.
If you train at 5:00 a.m., however, you might take advantage of training on an empty stomach and use NO-Xplode or you might drink a carb/protein drink before your workout.
Experts will argue each method. Both work, though. Don't lose sleep on it. Post workout nutrition is where it gets interesting.
If you finish your workout at 6:00 a.m., you can immediately down a carb/protein drink. By 6:30-6:45 a.m., you could be eating egg whites and some high carbs like toast or bagels & jelly and another protein drink.
By the time you're on your way to work, you could be downing an MRP.
| What Does MRP Stand For?
Meal Replacement Powder.
Ideally, you could consume more than 100 grams of protein by the time you get to work in the morning and the carbs you've eaten at breakfast will be sucked straight into your muscles to replenish glycogen.
| What Is Glycogen?
Glycogen is the principal stored form of carbohydrate energy (glucose), which is reserved in muscles. When your muscles are full of glycogen, they look and feel full.
As a footnote, visit AST Sport Science (AST-SS.com) and read the excellent articles on nutrient timing.
It makes it easier to fulfill your protein requirements and easier to drop the carbs later in the day because you don't have to worry about energy for training in the late afternoon or early evening.
It might come as a shock to some of you, but there are other things in life that are more important than bodybuilding! Your family comes first. It doesn't matter if you're in pre-contest prep for the Eastern Mid-Central South Dakota World Championships - your spouse and kids come first.
If your workout takes away time from them because you train after work and get home at your kids' bedtime, you might want to seriously consider training before they get out of bed in the morning. It'll be less stress on the family and a lot less stress on your contest prep. All it takes is getting out of bed a little earlier in the morning!
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I was at the Santa Barbara Zoo last weekend, and the tour guide explained how the lions eat 20-40 pounds of meat a day and sleep more than 20 hours a day. I leaned over to my wife and said, "That sounds like the life of a pro bodybuilder!" She rolled her eyes and pretty much agreed.
Since I started training many years ago, I've always read and heard from various sources that you need to get plenty of sleep in order to grow. Bertil Fox used to take two-hour naps in the afternoon in addition to a full night's sleep to make sure he fulfilled his sleep requirements.
Other pros still talk about getting 10 hours of sleep each night plus naps in the afternoon. 10 hours of sleep was fairly easy for me to get too - when I was in Jr. High!
In the real world, where most of us live, it's difficult to work a full-time job, raise a family, and do yard work and house work while still trying to get 10 hours of sleep per night. In our busy lives, sleep is the first thing that gets cut from our schedules.
Although I wholeheartedly agree that bodybuilders should get a sufficient amount of sleep, I think there are too many bodybuilders using "growth sleep" as an excuse to stay in bed and neglect other duties.
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Pros that make their income solely from bodybuilding can afford this luxury of sleeping like a lion. The rest of us can't. Shoot for six or seven hours instead of eight to ten and you might have two to three extra hours in your day. This will allow you to get up early for a muscle-building workout and then have your evenings free. Think about it. There will be no missed birthday dinners because of leg training and working overtime won't cause you to miss a workout!
Bodybuilding should be fun. It's a challenging and rewarding lifestyle, but don't let it consume you or hinder other aspects of your life. Sometimes a minor adjustment in your schedule (like what time you train) can do wonders by taking stress away and freeing up your time for other things during the day.
It might even be the spark you need to re-energize and motivate yourself to add that extra one-half inch to your arms or maybe another 50 pounds to your bench press. So, go set your alarm clock right now to get up early tomorrow morning and then start making some real gains!