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Pre/Post Workout Nutrition, Protein Timing And Fasted Training w/ Eric Helms

ready to go amen cool what’s up everyone
so I’m here again for the third time with Eric Helms if you don’t know who he
is you’ve been living under a rock but basically he’s a very prolific scientist
you know he’s really respected and the bodybuilding and powerlifting community
so he’s full of knowledge and he’s back again to share some knowledge on
pre-workout nutrition post-workout nutrition and also you know how to train
in a fasted state if that’s something you choose to do so I guess let’s get
started so first thanks for having me fill me back and I will try to be even
more prolific if I can but I like that but the descriptor I need to live up to
it I’ll be about doing best sueños so yeah first of all let’s start with a
basic question what should people be eating before a workout because there’s
a bit of confusion on this whether you should be eating before workout whether
you should be eating a lot of protein or a lot of carbs so if you want to perform
at your best watch what you you be eating it’s a good question
I think first we need to kind of figure out who we’re talking to so if we’re
talking to strength athletes and bodybuilders primarily or people who are
just training to look better or get stronger the limiting factor to your
performance is probably not going to be what you consume in your work in your
pre meal pre-training meal you’re gonna be relying a little more on stored
glycogen and you’re not going to be probably doing enough work and a
continuous enough degree or two at a high enough intensity continuously to
really get the point where you would need to really worry about what if I eat
a couple hours ago so the main concern for most people becomes whether or not
your your meal is going to disturb your GI tract so you need to think about how
far from the training session you want to eat and you want to have a relatively
balanced meal probably not anything really high in fat that would slow down
digestion and make that sit in your stomach longer and you probably want
some protein in it so it would be a probably low ish fat moderate carb
moderate to high protein meal and then when I say moderate to high I mean on a
per meal basis out of like a high protein diet that might be somewhere
between 0.3 to 0.5 grams per per kg of protein or something like that now with
that said we need to think about a couple things so how often are you
eating is it with one consideration and are you going to be eating afterwards as
this first thing in the morning that’s all going to dictate or they’re not that
protein component is essential because essentially what we know is that while
it’s probably a good idea to have somewhere between 0.7 to like one gram
per pound of protein it’s a decent starting place for most people if their
goal is to get bigger or stronger how you break that up can potentially impact
your your outcomes in terms of muscular growth it’s probably not a bad idea to
evenly spread your protein intake between say like at least three servings
per day since your body has no mechanism to really store transient amino acids
when you consume them they they get oxidized or used for fuel or they
contribute to building muscle mass ideally so it means if you go a very
long period of time without eating protein and you have to cram a bunch of
protein into a short window that might be less efficient not hugely so but but
still potentially measurably than if you were to spread them out a little more
evenly so that means if you’re going to have a protein shake immediately post
workout that pre meal our sorry pre-training protein intake is not
incredibly important but it’s not a bad idea that’s kind of the high level
summary we can dig into the details in a bit right cool um do you think there’s
any difference if you eat or you don’t eat before a workout because I’ve heard
some some people well there are a lot of anecdotes online where people tend to
train just as well when in a fasted state but then there’s also so many
claims online saying that you know you should eat a lot of carbohydrates before
a workout to give you fuel so is there really that big of a
difference I think there can be on an individual level and there can be if
you’ve got a marathon session so for example if you’ve got a crossfitter
talking to who who might have long training sessions and it’s quite a high
level talking to a bodybuilder following a bro split who’s in and out of the gym
in an hour they very well may both be expressing true experiences but disagree
so they’re also our individual differences so for example there was a
study and there’s this the studies on this are on this topic are are not all
going the same direction so there’s mixed data here there is a study that
came out recently showing a benefit from a carbohydrate mouth rinse in the middle
of a relatively high volume bodybuilding workout so what we think is have like a
great question yeah so carbohydrate mouth rinse is you
would take a carbohydrate based liquid so that would be something like say
Gatorade something like that rinse it into your mouth and actually spit it out
so not even ingesting it yeah and that is in some studies actually improves
performance like the total amount of volume completed really yeah so the
question of what the hell’s going on here and it’s clearly not in you know
you wouldn’t think it’s it’s improving like blood glucose levels or glycogen
because you’re not actually ingesting the carbohydrate but it may be doing a
few other things so there are there are mechanisms in your mouth to sense the
presence of carbohydrate and there are also mechanisms in your mouth the sense
sweetness interestingly enough in this study I’m referencing and like I said
not all not all the studies on this topic show a beneficial effect with some
do a artificial sweetener didn’t do the same thing so it’s not purely just the
sensation of sweetness it might actually be the the presence of carbohydrate in
your mouth is sensed by the brain that might result in a more efficient or more
steady or greater release of glucose from the bloodstream or potentially just
neurological effects that improve enjoyment and then perceived effort
could all be going into affecting your training because fatigue is something
that is it has a large central component so when your brain says you’re fatigued
your body goes ok I’m fatigued so that can that can have a negative impact on
performance and it may be that that is mitigated or affected in some way by you
know carbohydrate rinsing so the same thing would happen by eating
carbohydrate so some of the arguments you will see online of hey you know it
takes way longer than that for you know glycogen it gets stored and that’s gonna
be the main fuel source for weight training so you eating an hour before
training about two carbohydrates doesn’t make any sense
they’re not wrong from if if the only mechanism is is you know glycogen
storage but if there is some impact on neurology and there’s some impact on
subsequent performance because of just having carbohydrate in your mouth then
there may be something there so I think I think is it’s it’s a bit of
a individual situation in my opinion that depends on what your meal schedule
is how much training you’re doing or what type of training you’re doing and
whether or not you see a consistent degradation or improvement performance
by consuming food close to training or maybe even in the example of the
carbohydrate mouth rinse in the middle of drink to see if that that maintains
your performance a little bit better cool what’s your what’s your go-to meal
before heavy squat session or deadlift session you know I’m someone who doesn’t
really matter if I eat much beforehand right I tend to do better I used to
think and you’re another thing a lot of people will they will associate um
training later in the day and feeling better with having more meals in them so
for example if I train in the afternoon or the evening I typically perform
better than if I do first thing in the morning now I can say that’s because
I’ve had eaten two or three more meals but I don’t actually know that that is X
the causative factor it could be body temperature being higher it could be
that my hormonal status is more conducive to performance at that time it
could be star kadian rhythm or all the above and multiple combinations of the
two that’s one of the more frequent arguments I see for people who like to
eat one more meal or about the Train of more meals in them it that you know I
drink them in the evening therefore pre-workout meals are important and that
that could be effective we just don’t know you’d have to isolate that but
there are there is route so enough research showing that more often than
not people tend to perform a little better training in the afternoon or
evening in the morning until they habitually to it so that’s totally fine
to turn in the morning just be aware that if you’re not used to it yet you’ll
train poorly so anyway to answer your question more directly it doesn’t really
matter too much what I eat I just try not to eat anything really crazy heavy
so more often than not it will be like a quest bar with banana if I’m training
earlier in the day Quest buzz is so good absolutely you know that’s what’s up and
if it’s later in the day I will probably have like two hours after lunch I might
train so like for example yesterday I had like a tuna tuna melt on bagels so
event cool yeah I think like a big thing is just what you’ve been used to I mean
someone if you’ve been training in eating breakfast before you train for
like three years and then you try faster training and you’re weaker it’s probably
just because you’re not used to it and the same thing with the time you’re
training it I I did here online somewhere I’m not sure how true this is
that most two old records are set at about 4:00 p.m. something like that
so does does our circadian rhythm and and the timing of the day really have a
big impact on on a training performance well there is something to say for the
literature that looks at hypertrophy and strength and I would say more often than
not the studies would suggest that people perform a little better in the
afternoon or evening however what is also consistently shown is if they
you have bitchu 8 to training in the morning that effect seems to go away or
almost completely dissipate yeah so I think yeah the human machine is is very
adaptable but there is some time to adapt you know and and i think also
adherence and enjoyment are more important than some potential mechanism
related to circadian rhythm so if your life only works well when you train
first thing in the morning to because your job schedule or your family
commitments don’t change it on the off chance that you know some study so yeah
exactly I get questions like that all the time
like what exact time should I train for a day and it’s just like whatever is
more convenient for you so you can keep it up consistently absolutely that’s
gonna get you the majority of the results you know what about with with
foster training because you know for some reason some people choose to Train
fasted some people choose to remain fed for whatever reason how can you make
sure that you’re not losing muscle that’s a big fear people have especially
if they’re doing long and intense workouts really glycolytic workouts
that’s a big fear people have how can you mitigate that is it something to be
concerned about what’s your take on the fossa training weightlifting yes for
most people I would first ask them you know what other beliefs are not fasting
what are is their desire to fast when they eat sometimes they must whether
that is you know like Ramadan or whether they are in a position where they’re
dieting and they would rather save calories through some other time of the
day so a personal preference or whether for they have to Train first thing in
the morning they don’t want to get up so early they have time to digest food and
if they try to eat like 20 minutes for their workout they feel nauseous so
those are those are probably the only reasons I would advise someone to go
into a workout more or less completely fasted yep in almost all of the cases
you’re probably better off just having a small something like we’re talking half
a banana and a scoop of whey to this to get some amino acids and they’re ready
to help you repair and you know something to help stabilize
blood glucose levels and you could potentially have the effects I mentioned
of the mouth rinse but let’s say you want a situation where you do need to
fast and you’re not under some false belief about improved fat oxidation
that’s gonna help you there’s extra body fat or improve performance or some other
thing that is not actually true when you compare fast at not fast at training
what I would advise is consider having a carbohydrate drink and then just rinsing
your mouth about halfway through and then having a post-workout shake as soon
as you’re done so you’re basically taking care of the two main things
preventing a degradation and performance due to not having food so the
carbohydrate mouth rinses trying to mitigate that to some degree and then if
you are training fasted especially after sleeping it’s been probably a long while
since you’ve had amino acids in your system and while most of the data on
post-workout protein intake doesn’t show a huge benefits for resistance training
it may be a little different in the story if we’re talking about going into
it fasted like I said earlier there’s no storage mechanism for transfer for the
for amino acid in the body just hanging around so if you’ve gone you know eight
to ten hours without eating food or longer there’s not going to be anything
in place that to help that repair process so having a post-workout pretty
soon it’s probably not a bad idea just to make sure you’re not leaving any any
gains in the table per se so I think yeah just uh swig a little Gatorade in
your mouth spit it out if you want to still stay faster during your workout or
even just get drinking inter workout you know if you don’t they want to be fasted
beforehand and then once you finish you have a shake within you know an hour to
something that’s fast digesting like wait what if you um if you have like a
meal relatively rich in protein that’s ABO you have a protein shake and a
banana and some oats before a workout does a post-workout meal become less
important because you have the protein in your system beforehand I would say
yes it doesn’t become that critical yeah if you have I mean
availability after training well first I think we have to realize that the the
quote-unquote anabolic window of having protein post-workout it seems more and
more like it might be like a barn door like it’s pretty broad wide and the
response to amino acids is is like enhanced if you haven’t had it for prior
like it’s being to be partitioned towards muscle protein synthesis and
repair so the the importance of it is variable and it’s probably not a bad
idea but in a normal fed state we’re having three plus meals per day
digestion slow it’s almost always gonna meet amino acids available what so it
becomes an acute issue for someone who is slept fast and not eaten in a train
but typically not other times and I’m dying so farewell all good poet it’s
been a good talk ristin protein yeah so would it be like six hours seven hours
where you don’t have amino acids available is that per diem yeah right
yeah and unless you had something like a large steak in six hours ago that might
still be digesting but most of the time if you’ve been going yeah six plus hours
without food you you probably want to have a little something beforehand or if
not make sure you got something on deck right after I thought that amino acids
could be stored in the month in the muscle I thought well this is made up of
protein yes right right but no we have a very small small capacity for you know
just like the amino acid pool is not really like some policewomen
thing like that yes interesting yeah so then the needs are LR a little more a
little more time restricted you know like we can store glycogen and muscle
and liver look we have an effectively unlimited capacity to store you know fat
and an adipose tissue but you can make an argument protein needs should be looked at on a
shorter timeframe than 24 hours that said a bunch of research fails to show a
difference when manipulating things within a 24-hour period so the the
meta-analysis by Shawn Felton and Aragon on post-workout protein consumption
didn’t find a significant effect might have been a small potential difference
long term if you just kind of look at the effect size and where the data fell
the effects of having a casing shake before bed which has been investigated
twice now yeah I had shown a benefits towards putting that Casey and somewhere
else in the day and when you look at data applied data and not just muscle
protein synthesis data on trying to evenly spread protein intake throughout
the day it doesn’t consistently show a benefit to muscle gain over over having
it in fewer fewer meals so I think the issue is that in realistic feeding
conditions and most people digestion slows down enough because of the
consumption of fiber fats and the fact that most protein sources aren’t way so
they’re they’re being metered out slowly into into the body it kind of needs to
be cut this kind of conga lining and digestive tract so that there’s almost
always some presence of amino acids it’s not really like these bolus has some
spikes that we observe and research because the way research on protein
timing is done is you typically come in fasted and then they’re often using way
so you’ve got nothing to slow down digestion and you’ve got a high very
fast digesting protein so we can see these distinct periods of muscle muscle
protein synthesis what I think what actually happens when we’re eating mixed
meals is all those spikes and valleys get kind of smoothed out to being these
rolling hills in the area under the curve for protein synthesis becomes
pretty similar whether you have three meals or six meals where you have you
know casein before bed when you have Lookout pretty pre pre-workout protein
or post-workout protein these things become a little less important but there
may be some difference in the long-term so as
it is a general rule like once you’ve got your total daily macronutrient
intake sort of we’ve got your training really well set up you’ve got your sleep
in order you can think about you know what I’m gonna roughly spread my protein
intake between four meals one of those I want to be either pre or post-workout in
the one I want to be before bed and be something that would that just slowly
that could be steak that could be cottage cheese Greek yogurt it could be
casing if you want to spend the money totally up to you hmm yeah I remember
years ago and especially in the bodybuilding community the casting thing
was huge you know slow digesting habit before bed keep muscle but honestly just
at the end of the day it’s mostly about your calories and your protein for a far
majority of your results that’s gonna dictate most of it absolutely yeah so
you you were saying before that it’s not worth training fasted for increased fat
oxidation because you know increased fat oxidation doesn’t necessarily mean more
fat loss could you elaborate a bit on that because that that is still a widely
debated thing absolutely yeah yeah it’s it’s been something that’s been the
source of many fitness misunderstandings since and 20-30 years ago you know for
example that the quote-unquote fat-burning zone on the treadmill it is
one that people often forget like if you if you go at you know 120 beats per
minute you’re gonna burn to the vast majority of calories from fat that has a
treadmill right they have that yeah yeah exactly and the reason is is that you
know the lower the intensity of exercise the greater proportion of calories get
used from fat which is carbohydrate because carbohydrate is more
high-intensity fuel so therefore if you want to burn fat exercise at a lower
intensity the problem being though it’s twofold one you’re burning less total
calories and two what do you think happens if you burn off a bunch of
carbohydrate what are you gonna be using for the rest of the day that
carbohydrate is gone you must therefore be using fat right so there’s no really
no real gaming of the system there in fact there are some studies showing that
if you spend a 30 minute period doing a bunch of hit and burn off a bunch of
glycogen that fat oxidation increases for the rest of the 24-hour period
because that is now the available substrate you have to burn so focusing
on the substrate in the context of cardio doesn’t make a lot of sense if
your goal is fat loss make sense for performance because obviously fat can’t
really effectively fuel very high intensity activity and we’ve even seen
you know ketogenic diets being effective at low intensity exercise like in race
Walker’s as a study by Burke showing that carbohydrate based diets are even
more effective for that low of an intensity of exercise so that’s one of
the ways where people get confused another one is not eating after 6 p.m.
so for example that that’s a it’s an older myth and I’m using these old myths
first because I think most people accepted they’re wrong but use the same
inaccurate logic to perpetuate new myths right so there’s the old myth of not
eating after 6:00 p.m. because you’re going to be going to bed you’re not
going to be using those calories for fuel therefore they will get stored
however if we’re playing with the same amount of calorie intake over a 24-hour
period it doesn’t matter if you store a bunch of calories in given time because
then you’re not eating those calories later and your body has to tap into
those stores to provide energy so it’s really just like a bank account just
because you got paid on the first $900 it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea to spay
the 850 on the second thinking it’s fine if $50 left but there’s still 28 days
left in the month you’re gonna be broke so it’s you have to think of it like
that the how you distribute food throughout meals in the day whether you
have three huge meals and you’re storing a lot of body fat at each one of them
that means that you’re having more time spent in the day not eating which means
are going to be tapping into that body fat later or if you have six small meals
and you’re storing a very little body fat in each meal and then only burning
very little with that body fat later it results in the same net bounce and it’s
the same rationale behind why training fasted or having a ketogenic diet or
etcetera typically give you an advantage in the
former example of being fasted you might train fasted and have to rely on a bunch
of your body’s endogenous stores but then if the same amount of calories are
even later you will then store fat because they’re crammed into a smaller
window and you’ll have the same net balance of body fat even when you
manipulate fat oxidation through diet like you eat a very high fat diet you
are increasing fat oxidation but you’re also increasing fat storage so then that
balance is roughly the same so yeah this unfortunately no gaming of the system
it’s just kind of your body switching fuel fuel usages and storages over and
over and over again yeah this seems to be like a revolution today against
calories for some reason like people uprising and protesting and calories
don’t matter don’t matter but they really do I think at the end of the day
it’s it’s been that way and it probably will will be for the rest of the time we
exist you know that’s just how the human body works calories do matter I mean
it’s not the only thing you should focus on but they should be your major
priority when it comes to body composition whether you want to lose
weight or gain weight um absolutely you show me you show me a human who doesn’t
need ATP and I’ll buy the whole calories I’m at a marathon yeah oh yeah I think
that can be it for today let’s keep it nice and short and sweet I think that
was a it was a good video I’m sure everyone watching found that interesting
if you’re watching up to this point go and check out Eric’s books they’ll be in
the description and its website and 3d MJ’s YouTube channel cool thank you
brother always happy to be here just

Randall Smitham



  1. Michael Hobgood Posted on June 28, 2018 at 2:53 am

    Good interview. I see people on youtube saying calories don't matter almost everyday and it baffles me how in 2018 we are still debating this. It's really pretty damn simple. Eat less lose weight. Eat more gain weight. 200,000 years on earth and it still works the same.

  2. Insendi Posted on June 28, 2018 at 12:30 pm

    Great video man, I have a question if you could do a video on it. What exactly is L-carnitine and what does it do? I've tried looking it up and I don't see how it is different then BCAAs

  3. LeembaLanced Posted on June 28, 2018 at 2:15 pm

    I just binged the first two last night and earlier this morning then saw this in Erics IG story wow talk about timing!

  4. Arturo S. Posted on June 28, 2018 at 5:34 pm

    It's "Dr. Eric Helms" Phillip lol.

  5. Wiltord Abayo Posted on June 28, 2018 at 5:42 pm

    i have been training fasted for a year now and i don't take a post workout!!! i'm in best shape i'm lean and i'm still gaining since i got introduced to I.F so i think it differs from individual to individual

  6. Cassie Jackson Posted on June 29, 2018 at 2:22 pm

    What an absolutely fantastic podcast. Thank you for the valuable information and thank you Eric for confirming what my inner self has always sensed…. that whether you intermitten fast, or eat evenly spaced meals, our bodies will utilize energy and fats no matter what. What a great podcast. Thank you so much for bringing this to us Philip. Much appreciated.

  7. Extraterrestrial Posted on June 29, 2018 at 5:38 pm

    I can't train in the morning at ALL.. I train like around 2:00pm. I'm on a (TRE) from 8:00am to 6:00pm. Btw.. We are at our STRONGEST at 4:00pm. Dr. Satchin Panda.

  8. Aaron Raymond Posted on July 14, 2018 at 9:17 pm

    A scientist eating tuna melt with a bagel LOL

  9. Ryan Burnham Posted on July 23, 2018 at 10:39 pm

    Why does almost every podcast host say "for those who have been living under a rock and don't know about Eric…" can't they think of anything other than this overused cliche?

  10. Ryan Burnham Posted on July 25, 2018 at 11:55 pm

    This guy's face (the interviewer) pisses me off for some reason. Not sure what it is.

  11. NoDoubtsss Posted on August 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm

    Can you time stamp your questions mate?

  12. JustMe9 Posted on December 12, 2018 at 11:43 pm

    Helms looks like Captain America

  13. razvanimal TRT Posted on December 14, 2018 at 7:24 pm

    The carb mouth rinsing part is very interesting, never thought I'd hear Eric suggest something that sounds so sketchy on the surface 🙂

  14. antrewt asphar Posted on December 16, 2018 at 4:55 pm

    I don't understand why Helms thinks it's a misguided belief to train fasted in order to burn more fat (higher glucagon, lower insulin). Sure there would be no significant difference in total calories burnt – you would probably burn a little less fasted, but more of that energy would be fat. If you train fasted you will be burning more fat vs blood sugar/glycogen during fed training; and in the post-workout period you will ramp up fat burning further. As soon as you have carbs and/or protein you will be burning other substrates. What's the controversy?

  15. antrewt asphar Posted on December 16, 2018 at 5:00 pm

    Also no mention of the huge increase in growth hormone (1500-2000% after 24 hours) following a fast, which increases the anabolic response to a meal, an argument for intermittent fasting and against spreading protein.

  16. Malek Malek Posted on December 23, 2018 at 3:49 pm

    I like cream of rice,scoop of whey vanilla,chopped pineappel for thé bromalin for proteinutake and some fat like coconutoil,nuts or penutbutter 10gr the fat slows digesfion giving a steady rise in insuline avoiding a sugarcrash

  17. Muaz Nabil Posted on May 19, 2019 at 10:12 am

    I’m just so confused other scientists are talking about you will lose more fat if you train fasted and now this scientist is talking about it as a myth. I’ve had some really good results with fasted training with a preworkout and than after training have a balanced meal.