Northeast Wisconsin
  • Northeast Wisconsin
  • May 2014
Written by  Lisa Jermain

The smart ‘whey’ to fuel your workout

For years, I did a lot of things wrong when it came to workouts and nutrition. My biggest mistake was thinking I could out-exercise a questionable diet. Burning more cardio calories than I was taking in would have to lead to weight loss, right? Then why didn’t it work?

I felt that way, and I hear that question from clients all the time. I have never been a competitive athlete, but have enjoyed exercise and understood the need for it to be a regular part of my life. Despite working out, though, I struggled for years to stay in a healthy weight range. I did early morning workouts on an empty stomach, thinking I would burn fat, since nothing else was in my system. I “carb loaded” before a race and ate bagels afterward, even if it was only a 30-minute run. When I trained for a marathon, I felt I should be able to eat anything I wanted after running 16, 18 or 20 miles. If you have fallen into these traps, there are simple changes you can make.

Let’s start with what to have before a workout. Your body needs the right nutrition 45-60 minutes before exercise to set you up to perform during the workout and get the gains you seek. This mini-meal should include an energy source from carbs (in moderation — not a heaping mound of spaghetti the night before a 5K). It also needs a protein high in branch chain amino acids to help avoid muscle breakdown. If you don’t eat prior to a workout, you may draw some on fat stores, but you may also become catabolic and break down muscle. This is what happens when you are so sore after a hard workout that it is hard to move for a few days.

In my opinion, the best protein source is undenatured whey. Whey is easily absorbed and is delivered to the muscles through the bloodstream to support them during the workout. Undenatured is a term that refers to how the protein is processed. If it is undenatured, it is processed at a low temperature, so the protein doesn’t break down before it ever enters your body. You want to be able to absorb and use all that you take in, so looking for an undenatured protein is key. You also want to start your workout positive and focused. Plant-based adaptogens or a small amount of caffeine can help get you in the right mindset to make the most of your time in the gym.

After the workout, you need to refuel. For 30 minutes after your workout, your body is a sponge and is anxious to replace what is lost. Aim to consume most of your carbs for the day around your workout. Thirty percent should come before the workout and 40 percent shortly afterward. During this window, there is a lot of blood running to the muscles, so it is a great time to take in more protein to help with muscle growth and recovery. A colleague of mine states that failing to take advantage of the “protein window” after a workout is like working a 40-hour week and then not cashing the paycheck.

There are a lot of good sources of protein, such as lean meats, egg whites and fish. But undenatured whey is a quick and easy option that delivers more bang for your buck. It is quickly absorbed and helps with fat burning and muscle growth — helping to improve body composition, fuel metabolism and make our bodies more efficient. Whether you are a weekend warrior or a serious athlete, getting the right nutrition before, during and after workouts can help you get the most of out of the time you invest in exercise. 


Lisa Jermain spent 12 years in financial services before becoming a full-time mom. After battling degenerative disc disease, Lisa reclaimed health through spinal fusion surgery and weight loss. Now Lisa has combined her professional background and passions to become a Crystal Executive with Isagenix. She loves coaching people to better health and wealth and can be reached at 920-470-6791.

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