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Maximize Your Results with these Preworkout Nutrition Pointers
Precision-Targeted Preworkout Nutrient Timing — Including Often-Shunned But Critically Important Carbs — Can Bolster Your Performance.

If you haven't figured out already, our bodies are finicky creatures. They are sometimes downright stubborn. Why is it so difficult to put on an extra pound or two of some high-quality lean tissue when it seems like fat tissue multiplies at an exponential rate? Of course, a big answer to this question is the fact that it actually takes work, dedication and perseverance to build the former while the latter increases when we eat too much and don't exercise enough (I know none of you do that, though).  

In some respects, though, it's a fairly involved process from a chemistry standpoint to get your body to lay down more muscle tissue. Some nutritionists call it an "energy-expensive" process, thus making the balance of your nutrition a key consideration. While much argument derives from exactly what amounts and what types of nutrients are provided, delivering high-quality nutrition in the hours leading up to your workout is seen as an important step to take which can improve how you feel, sustain your stored carbohydrate reserves (muscle and liver glycogen) and provide valuable amino acids to facilitate the recovery process [1, 2].  

While several options exist ( PROSOURCE.NET carries many of them), RAPTOR BARS are a relatively new bar formulation that contains a solid mix of low, moderate and high-glycemic carbohydrates along with a dose of protein. From a science perspective, an ideal aspect of the formulation from RAPTOR BARS is the 4:1 ratio of carbohydrates to protein; a ratio that many studies suggest to be optimal [2, 3].

If you're not a bar person, but instead like to mix up a shake and hit the road, a dose of MUSCLE MAIZE, a precise blend of carbohydrates and essential amino acids, will pay invaluable dividends when it comes to jump-starting your workout, postponing fatigue, and facilitating maximized performance. With anabolic agents like creatine and T-boosting Tribulus terrestris also included, MuscleMaize offers even more reason to be excited on your way to the gym.

I assume that most exercising folks and especially those that regularly partake in prolonged endurance-type activity are familiar with the concept of carbohydrate loading.  For the record, prolonged for me means greater than 60 minutes and endurance activity is typically reserved for jogging/running, cycling, triathlons, cross-country skiing, etc.  Carbohydrate loading is the first indication that what you ingest BEFORE exercise and how much can influence the extent to which your body is prepared for the ensuing exercise bout.

Initial carbohydrate loading studies performed in the 1960s were brutal! While their protocols did increase glycogen two times over normal resting levels [4], the demanding (and not necessary) protocols have been refined. Cardio heads take note as more recent studies have suggested that a depletion protocol may not be needed.  Consuming a high carbohydrate diet (88% carbohydrate or 6 - 7 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body mass) in conjunction with regular training volumes have been shown to maximize glycogen stores [5].  Also, studies have shown that one day of high intensity intervals [6] or one day of rest [7] followed by a high carbohydrate intake for one day (5-6 grams of carbohydrate per pound of body mass) can also maximize glycogen stores.  This is a great thing as these newer studies nicely illustrate that a complete day of rest or a single bout of high intensity intervals followed by a one-day diet extremely high in dietary carbohydrates can maximize glycogen stores.

"Findings from these studies demonstrate that utilization of glycogen increases significantly during just one bout of exercise. This is an ideal scenario which justifies the use of a RAPTOR BAR orany other well-balanced combinationof carbohydrates and proteins such as MUSCLEMAIZE which can optimize muscle glycogen stores and provide a favored fuel source throughout you r exercise bout."


So if you're at all like me, the thought of exercising for much more than an hour makes you light-headed.  Much of my own personal interests as well as my research interests relate to resistance training.  While I admit I have started doing more endurance exercise and have completed a couple of half-marathons, a handful of 10Ks and a sprint triathlon (if you're wondering about my times, think turtle), I enjoy lifting weights a good bit.  Glycogen, stored carbohydrate, is a critical fuel source for performing high-intensity exercise, and if you're training for hypertrophy you should be training at a high intensity.

If you say you're training for growth but aren't reaching muscular failure around 8 to 12 completed repetitions, stop reading this article and please stay out of the free weight area of the gym.  There are machines in the back for you and the pink dumbbells should suit your actual interests just fine.  What's interesting is that even when modest exercise was completed at 70% of maximal capacity for slightly over an hour and a half, glycogen stores decreased by 58% [1].  In this study, a high carbohydrate meal (~700 kcals; 85% carbohydrate, 15% protein) significantly increased pre-exercise glycogen compared to instances when no feeding was provided.

These findings are important because the study was not overly intensive (70% VO2Max) nor was it extremely prolonged (~105 min), but yet a valuable fuel source was utilized to a substantial extent and a typical pre-exercise meal significantly increased its supply.  Glycogen changes during resistance exercise have been completed and yielded similar outcomes compared to those illustrated in the previous study.  For example, Pascoe and his group had eight subjects complete nine sets of six reps with single-leg knee extensions at 70% of one-repetition max until fatigue; glycogen was decreased by 31% [8].  In another study, researchers from McMaster University in Canada had subjects complete a whole-body bout of resistance training using 3 sets at 80% 1RM and found a 39% decrease in muscle glycogen overall [9].

Findings from these studies, especially those performed with resistance training, demonstrate that utilization of glycogen increases significantly during just one bout of exercise. This is an ideal scenario which justifies the use of a RAPTOR BAR or any other well-balanced combination of carbohydrates and proteins such as MUSCLEMAIZE which can optimize muscle glycogen stores and provide a favored fuel source throughout your exercise bout.  It just makes sense that the higher octane fuel you provide to your muscle, the better they will be able to perform.

In addition to having enough glycogen around to fuel your muscles during workouts, ingesting key nutrients before exercise have been investigated for their ability to promote muscle growth and recovery [2, 10, 11]. In 2001 a study was completed which had participants ingest a combination of 35 grams of carbohydrate and 6 grams of essential amino acids immediately before or immediately after a single bout of heavy resistance training [2]. When the nutrients were ingested before exercise, significantly (vs. post-exercise) greater amount of amino acids were delivered during the exercise bout and in the 1st hour after exercise.  Additionally, the muscle uptake of a key amino acid was greater when the nutrients were ingested before exercise vs. after exercise.  Increased amino acid uptake in this study was the primary marker of muscle anabolism and pre-exercise ingestion resulted in greater values than post-exercise ingestion [2].  Additionally, ingesting a multi-nutrient supplement 30 min before exercise every day over a 7 day period was responsible for significant increases in vertical jump power and the number of repetitions performed at 80% of one-repetition maximum with the back squat exercise. Furthermore, significant increases in human growth hormone and free and total testosterone were also found [11].  Similarly, when 33 participants resistance trained for six weeks and ingested either 26 grams of carbohydrate or 20 grams of whey protein and 6 grams of the essential amino acid leucine, an 8% increase in strength was found after just six weeks when whey protein + amino acid was ingested [10].

Over the course of ten weeks, Cribb and colleagues [12] sought to determine the impact of supplement timing on changes in muscle strength and hypertrophy.  Two groups of subjects ingested the same number of doses and the same amount of nutrients each dose both in the morning and evening of workout days or immediately before and immediately after the exercise bout on workout days.  When nutrients were timed surrounding the workouts, greater increases in muscle strength and lean body mass were found leading the authors to conclude that providing nutrients close to a workout may offer an advantage.

In summary, much less research exists to indicate whether providing key nutrients before a bout of resistance training is beneficial when compared to the literature investigating post-exercise administration of nutrients. We do know for sure that the muscle building process is energy expensive.  Any individual who exercises on a regularly basis is already going to burn a good number of calories, which makes the basic need for adequate energy intake a critical starting point.  

Considering that most trained athletes do not eat enough calories, adding a pre-exercise dose of MUSCLEMAIZEor a RAPTOR BARon your drive to the gym will help load up your bloodstream with these key nutrients and promote a positive calorie balance.   Once a positive calorie balance is achieved, studies have shown that pre-exercise ingestion may help to promote glycogen resynthesis, muscle protein synthesis and recovery [1, 2, 11].  

You make the efforts and dedicate yourself to hit the gym on a regular basis to improve how you look and feel.  Why not consider adding a small dose of nutrients in the form of a bar or drink to help your body deal with demands from your exercise bout?  As more and more research continues to grow in this area for resistance exercise, it's very possible this small step may pay dividends for you and the results you see.  Good luck, train hard and move down and to the left on the dumbbell rack! Oh, and by all means stay away from those pink dumbbells!



1.    Coyle, E.F., et al., Substrate usage during prolonged exercise following a preexercise meal. J Appl Physiol, 1985. 59(2): p. 429-33.
2.    Tipton, K.D., et al., Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2001. 281(2): p. E197-206.
3.    Hoffman, J.R., et al., Effect of protein-supplement timing on strength, power, and body-composition changes in resistance-trained men. Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab, 2009. 19(2): p. 172-85.
4.    Bergstrom, J. and E. Hultman, Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: an enhancing factor localized to the muscle cells in man. Nature, 1966. 210(5033): p. 309-10.
5.    Coyle, E.F., et al., Low-fat diet alters intramuscular substrates and reduces lipolysis and fat oxidation during exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab, 2001. 280(3): p. E391-8.
6.    Fairchild, T.J., et al., Rapid carbohydrate loading after a short bout of near maximal-intensity exercise. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2002. 34(6): p. 980-6.
7.    Bussau, V.A., et al., Carbohydrate loading in human muscle: an improved 1 day protocol. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2002. 87(3): p. 290-5.
8.    Pascoe, D.D. and L.B. Gladden, Muscle glycogen resynthesis after short term, high intensity exercise and resistance exercise. Sports Med, 1996. 21(2): p. 98-118.
9.    Roy, B.D. and M.A. Tarnopolsky, Influence of differing macronutrient intakes on muscle glycogen resynthesis after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol, 1998. 84(3): p. 890-6.
10.    Coburn, J.W., et al., Effects of leucine and whey protein supplementation during eight weeks of unilateral resistance training. J Strength Cond Res, 2006. 20(2): p. 284-91.
11.    Kraemer, W.J., et al., Effects of a multi-nutrient supplement on exercise performance and hormonal responses to resistance exercise. Eur J Appl Physiol, 2007. 101(5): p. 637-46.
12.    Cribb, P.J. and A. Hayes, Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Med Sci Sports Exerc, 2006. 38(11): p. 1918-25.