Written by
12 July 2006

What’s your opinion on replacing meals with shakes and bars? Because of my job, I can only get three solid meals a day and I usually have a bar and two shakes for three more meals. Do you think I’m missing out on the gains I could be making if I were eating six solid meals? One last thing, what about pre- and post-workout shakes? I’m not sure what I should be having and I’m wondering what you do about that.
I don’t think you’re missing out on any potential gains by eating bars or drinking shakes, as long as you’re getting

those three solid meals in consistently every day. I try to eat at least five solid meals a day, but I also have shakes in between. The important thing is to have your nutrients, especially protein, spread out over many servings a day rather than just two or three, like what regular people do. By spacing out your protein intake, your absorption rate is much better. I do have another little trick— I used to get even better protein absorption from my solid meals.

What I do is combine two different protein sources at each meal, because they all have slightly different amino acid profiles. For instance, I’ll eat steak and eggs or chicken and steak or turkey and salmon. When I’m dieting, I tend to back off the steak and whole eggs and combine things like chicken or turkey breast with white meat. In between meals I’ll have a MesoTech shake if it’s the off-season, or a Nitro-Tech shake if I’m getting ready for a contest. MesoTech is a meal replacement shake containing carbs; Nitro-Tech is just straight whey protein. The last thing you asked about was my meals and supplements before and after training.

About an hour before I train, I’ll have a solid meal with protein and a moderate-sized baked potato or a serving of rice. I don’t have too much in the way of carbs, because I also take a Cell-Tech shake with the meal, which has creatine and a lot of sugar. It’s okay to have sugar before your workout because you’ll use it as energy and I don’t worry about an insulin crash since I’m also having a meat source and a complex carbohydrate at the same time. Right after I train, I have a Nitro-Tech whey protein shake with 10 grams of creatine and 20 grams of L-glutamine added to it.

I don’t take the Cell-Tech at this time, because I personally get an upset stomach if I have a lot of sugar right after working out. You can try it; I know a lot of guys have no problem. About 30-40 minutes later, I have a good meal of something like steak and rice or chicken and a potato. I can actually feel my muscles get fuller and harder when I’m eating that meal, so I know how important it is for the recovery process. I suggest you do the same.