Importance of Post-Workout Nutrition

Many of us know how important the relationship between nutrition and sporting performance is. Usually the main goals of the post workout nutrition are to recover the body from the physiological stress that it went through and prepare it for upcoming activities. Post workout nutrition aims to replenish glycogen that was used during the workout, to stimulate muscle protein synthesis, reduce catabolic processes within the body, and reduce muscle fatigue and soreness.

Of course, the post workout nutrition consists mainly of protein, carbohydrates, and fats but also water, vitamins, minerals, electrolytes and all these nutrients can be consumed in the form of whole foods or supplements. However, the post workout nutrition depends on the goals of an individual. Keep in mind that post workout nutrition of a person who wants to lose fat is significantly different than the person who wants to pack on muscle mass, also their training programs will be individual too.

The post workout meal is all about replenishing what was lost during workout in order to optimize recovery process. Providing the body with the right combination of nutrients is essential for maximizing recovery. Some people prefer to take nutritional supplements to optimize recovery. However, according to a study on using carbohydrate & fat for training and recovery the only people who need to really concern themselves with immediately re-fueling, replenishing glycogen, post workout are those who may have another hard training session within an 8-hour window.

As we know intense workouts can cause break down of muscle protein, and studies have shown that consuming a protein and carbohydrate combination right after an intensive workout, can raise the insulin levels and blunt the effects of muscle protein breakdown. Also it is mentioned that this effect can be achieved by consuming well balanced meal 60+ minutes post workout. On the other hand, muscle protein synthesis is highly desired by many sporting individuals.

Studies suggest that an increase in essential amino acids in the bloodstream has great results on improving the rate of muscle protein synthesis, but other studies have found no significant change. However, another study points to a greater response when protein/carbohydrate is consumed up to 1 hour before workout, which makes sense as we consider the digestion time and the float of amino acid in the blood stream.

Also, another factor is the muscle hypertrophy which is an enlargement of the muscle tissue. Researchers suggest that hypertrophy can be greatly stimulated by consuming pre and post workout supplements. So a question might arise, “Do you need supplements immediately after workout?, according to studies is NO, unless your goal is to “bulk up” or you have multiple workouts in less than 8 hours frame during the day in order to optimize recovery.

Researches seems to support that you would be better off eating a protein / carbohydrate-based meal PRE- workout in order to blunt the effects of muscle breakdown, and promote glycogen replenishment, protein synthesis, and probably hypertrophy. But hey, it really comes down to your individual goals and training, be creative and find what works best for your body and goals. If you see your desired results, keep going with what you are doing, if not make some another changes and find your balance.

By Ibrahim


Burke, L., Kiens, B., & Ivy, J. (2004). Carbohydrates and fat for training recovery. Journal of Sport Sciences, 22, 15-30

Cribb, P., & Hayes, A. (2006). Effects of supplement timing and resistance exercise on skeletal muscle hypertrophy. Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise, 06, 1918-1925.

Newton, P. J. Post Workout Nutrition.

Stark, M., Lukaszuk, J., Prawitz, A., & Salacinski, A. (2012). Protein timing and its effects on muscular hypertrophy and strength in individuals engaged in weight-training. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 9(54), 1-8.

Exercising On An Empty Stomach

Exercising early in the morning can be hard and this can be due to many reasons such as waking up earlier than you’d have liked to or due to the lack of energy that is coming from food in your system. However, it is debatable whether it is a good idea to workout on an empty stomach or if this fasted state is going to cause you adverse effects such as metabolic disbalance.

Let’s take for instance waking up in the morning after 6-12 hour overnight fast. This state will cause your body to somewhat deplete its glycogen and therefore activate the fat burning process by mobilizing the usage of fat as energy to compensate the low glycogen levels. However, as we know when we eat food, our body starts to produce insulin which interferes with the mobilization of body fat.

As the carbohydrates (in the form of glucose) levels are low in the blood stream caused by the overnight fast, more calories from stored fat are burned when exercising to compensate the low glucose levels. Therefore in fasted state less insulin is present which ultimately links to burn more calories that come from stored fats when you do cardio in such fasted state.

Doing cardio in the morning will allow your metabolism to remain high for a period of time after the workout is done and take advantage of the after-burn effect. Of course, you will benefit from doing cardio in the evening, but you will impair the effect of the after burn effect because your metabolic rate drops drastically as soon as you go to sleep. Some researches support this theory, where it has been tested on subjects who burned 1kg of fat faster when exercised in fasted state in the morning, compared to individuals who had few meals throughout the day exercised later.

A study on respiratory gas exchange, caloric expenditure, and carbohydrate/fatty acid metabolism in individuals who exercised after 12 hours of fast has shown 67% of the energy expenditure that came from fat, compared to 50% expenditure achieved when individuals who did the same exercise later in the day or after having food. Also, another study supports the hypothesis that endurance training enhances lipid oxidation in men after a 12 hour overnight fast.

Of course both methods of exercising either in fasted or fed state has their own pros and cons. This highly depends on the individual and their goals. Some other benefits of training on empty stomach can be improved performance and helps avoid stomach upsets. On the other hand there are negatives as well which could be decreased ability to work at higher intensity for longer, lower stamina, and can lead to muscle loss.

As previously mentioned both methods have their benefits and its side effects, this depends all on the individual and its goals. At the end, it is very important to follow your body and find what works and feels best for it. 



Read, F. C. M. F. cardio on an empty stomach.

Aceto, Chris. Everything you need to know about fat loss. Club Creavalle, Inc. (1997)

Bergman, BC, Brooks, GA. Respiratory gas-exchange ratios during graded exercise in fed and fasted trained and untrained men. Journal of Applied Physiology. (1999) 86: 2.

Brehm, B.A., and Gutin, B. Recovery energy expenditure for steady state exercise in runners and non-exercisers. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise. (1986) 18: 205,

Gym 101: Progressive Overload

Whether you’re a recreational fitness enthusiast or an elite athlete in order to make the most out of any training programme it is crucial to have a well-structured plan that follows fundamental principles of training. One major component in all training programmes is the principle of progressive overload.

What is the principle of progressive overload?                                                                                        

“Progressive overload is the gradual increase of stress placed on the body during resistance training. In reality, resistance training is only effective for improving health and performance if the human body is continually required to exert a greater magnitude of force to meet higher physiologic demands. Thus, a gradual increase in demand of the resistance training programme is necessary for long-term improvement in muscular fitness and health.” (Kraemer, Ratamess and French, 2002)

This principle isn’t necessarily limited to only resistance training, and can be applied to any type of physical training (running, jumping, lifting, etc.) where the goal is simply to “improve”. There are various ways to implement the principle of progressive overload in your workout regimen and lucky for you below you can find a short list that I prepared for you:

  • Intensity:

You can manipulate the intensity of the exercise by increasing the weight/resistance. Heavier weights or an increased resistance will over time lead to an adaptation by your muscles, connective tissue, bone and nervous system. In other words you will get bigger and stronger!

  • Volume (aka Sets & Reps) :

There are situations where increasing the intensity of the exercise is out of question. Or you may simply want to play around with other aspects of your training. Then increasing the number of repetitions in a given set or increasing the total number of sets for a given exercise is a good option which will eventually lead to improvements in muscular endurance and hypertrophy (increase in muscle size).

  • Tempo:

Tempo is another aspect that could be manipulated to achieve progressive overload in your training. As far as lifting is concerned tempo indicates the time spent in concentric, eccentric as well as isometric parts of the exercise. A quicker concentric contraction will lead to improvements in power while a slower is likely to lead to a longer “time under tension” and eventually to muscular hypertrophy. 

  • Frequency:

This is basically how often you work out in a given time. Let’s say if you work out 3 times a week, then an additional 4th day would lead to an increase in frequency and various adaptations. But this one is a bit tricky as you may not want to increase the frequency forever and end up living in the gym. This can not only hurt your life, but many other aspects of your health as well. So, my advice is to be very mindful with this one and listen to your body. If you constantly start feeling fatigued, don’t see any improvements in the gym for an extended period or struggle with your sleep, these are all your body telling you to slow down a little.

  • Exercise Variety

Last but not least, you can implement different exercises in your routine. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you should change your entire routine every session, but once the improvements plateau in your existing plan then you may want to consider replacing some of the exercises with alternatives.


Kraemer, W.J., Ratamess, N.A. & French, D.N. Resistance training for health and performance. Curr Sports Med Rep 1, 165–171 (2002).

Aydin Parmaksizoglu

Staying Active in Cold Weather

The change of seasons causes the ambient temperature changes as well. As we are currently in the winter season, the temperatures drop. When it comes to physical activity, some individuals choose to take exercising indoors and some choose to workout outside in the cold.

However as the temperatures are low outside, the temperature of our muscles can also drop, which makes this a huge aspect for the sporting performance.

One of the biggest considerations for training in the cold is the warm up. It is very important to warm up before any type of physical activity especially cold weather, as the cold temperatures can significantly reduce muscle function. The decline of muscle temperature may result in reduced force up to 20% studies suggest, and they can take longer to build force.

As we know that the brain sends signals to the muscles via nerves, the rate of nerve conduction slows down in cold circumstances. On the other hand, muscles produce heat when they are activated, which therefore provides a protection from the cold.

Warm up before exercise is crucial in such low temperatures, and can decrease the risk of injury up to 40%. Additionally, warm ups that consist of strengthening, jumping, balance, and agility exercises potentially reduce the risk of non-contact injuries such as ACL-tear. However, exercise form is of a huge importance in such circumstances.

Some people rush the warm up section of the workout and neglect its importance, so take some quality time and put effort in to doing correct and effective warm up with good form. This will also make you feel better and ready for exercising in the cold.

Most physical activities outdoor include running, rope skipping, jumping, and others. Studies suggest that dynamic stretching during warm up could be more effective than static stretching.

Examples of dynamic stretch can be forward lunges with a twist, knees to chest, high knees, and side shuffle. Static stretches on the other hand include stretch holds for 5-30 seconds, such examples are standing hamstring stretch, shoulder, chest, back, calf, and adductor stretches.

It is suggested that dynamic stretches can help with the warm-up of muscles and improve performance more than prolonged holds of stretches. Now that we know the importance of warm up, another benefit of it is the improved muscle flexibility and readiness for the upcoming exercises.

A simple jog for 5 minutes can improve flexibility and warm up the muscles, and can help preventing muscle strains which is a quick stretch of the muscle beyond its flexibility limit. Most of the exercise specialists recommend that warm up and stretching is essential, as studies suggests that it’s a way of injury prevention.

However, the effect of warm up doesn’t last forever. It is also recommended the warm up and stretching to last at least 15 minutes prior physical activity to gain most of its benefits.

On the other hand, this means physical activity should be constantly maintained in cold weather while the muscles are still warm and loose, but if you stop and rest for prolonged time muscles gradually cool down and become less flexible which is a thing that we have to avoid. Depending on the exercise or sport, some exercise specific warm-ups may be required.


PAY, B. Great Facts And Tips For Warming Up In Cold Weather.

Getting Back Into Routine After the Holidays

Most fitness enthusiasts view holiday season as dietary nightmare, especially around Christmas and New Year’s. However, some people stay active during this period and cheat on their diet, and some people are preferring to spend some time off with family and enjoy the festive period with no specific diet or physical activity. This can result in some excessive weight gain and loss of muscle mass which can lead to demotivation, depression and difficulties in returning to physically active lifestyle.

Most fitness fanatics see this as disaster to their physical appearance and mental wellbeing, but this is not always a bad thing. Around these festive times, allow yourself a different perspective that can help you see how slacking on your diet and training can re-energise and boost your future training and actually help you set achievable fitness goals. This short break won’t make muscle gains completely disappear or make you obese, its just going to make your first few workouts a little harder than they usually are.

In such instance it is recommended to start light weight or bodyweight in order to prepare your body for the upcoming physical stress that you are going to go through. However, first workouts should be light and body weight which will help your heart pump blood around your body and make your muscles burning without tremendous muscle soreness on the next day. There is nothing worse than lifting heavy weights after a break and then skip the next day because you are way too sore to workout again. Also lifting heavy weights after a break can increase the risk of injury that can be avoided by dropping the training load. It is also recommended to plan ahead which can make a lot of difference.

During holiday period you can take this time to figure out what your goals, also its always beneficial to sneak in a quick workout during holidays because a short workout is better than no workout at all. However, it is not advisable to jump back on your old training routine after holidays that level of physical activity is low or no activity done at all. It is recommended to start light, but consistently in order to stimulate your body’s muscles, joints, and nerves and slowly adapt them to the heavier workouts ahead.

There are few tips that can keep your fitness plan on track. It is important to schedule your workouts – by writing your workouts into your schedule, you’ll be more likely to regard them as protected time and actually do them. Another tip is to put exercise first thing in the morning, which guarantees other unforeseen duties during the day will not prevent you from exercising as many studies suggest that our will power is higher early in the day before we’ve had to exert a lot of self-control.

By devoting the first 20 to 30 minutes of each day to exercise not only makes it more likely to happen, but it also makes your early morning workout help you fight food cravings throughout the day as well. Another tip is taking an advantage of seasonal offerings, this can provide you with specials on membership fees, class packages and monthly rates after the holidays. Also squeezing in mini-workouts is very effective during such periods.

Studies have shown that walking just over a mile a day or doing three four-minute bouts of high-intensity exercise per week may be enough to help you maintain your weight and fitness level. By using the tips provided here, you should have ample time and motivation to do that much or more during or post-holiday season.


Shepard, B., & ACE-CPT, A. R. Holiday Workout Tips.

Aliotti, G. Gina’s ‘No Gym’Holiday Workout.

A Word On The ‘Fitness Lifestyle’

If you are a new to the ‘fitness lifestyle’, have all the good intentions but don’t know where and how to start, you are not alone. Very often I come across new members in the gym that took the first step towards a healthier lifestyle yet feel a little lost in regards to both training and dieting (remember if you focus on one but ignore the other, you are making things harder for yourself).

This is perfectly understandable considering that there is so much information out there which makes things even more complicated in the eyes of a beginner. There are so many ‘experts’ out there claiming that their approach is the right one. As if this wasn’t making things hard enough, most of those claims tend to contradict each other. High carb vs high fat, vegan vs carnivore, 1 meal vs 5 meal are just a few of these examples.

First things first, if you just began your fitness journey no matter what protocol you chose to follow, you are still better off than you were before. Be proud, be happy! Even if you change nothing in your diet, you will still see some progress. But this won’t last a lifetime. Eventually as you progress you will slowly realise the importance of nutrition. You will notice that while some days you feel a lot more energetic in the gym, some other days you’ll feel simply drained. You will also see fluctuations in your weight, but you will struggle to pinpoint what is causing it. Do not worry! You do not need to know everything, and that is why we the fitness professionals are here. To help you and guide you.

As a complete beginner I strongly advise you to ignore all the nonsense that you are being bombarded by the fitness industry, and stick to the basics. So what are these basics? It is “calories in, calories out” and the balance between the two. If you want to gain mass you need to eat more calories than you burn; if you want to maintain your current weight then what you eat and what you burn should be in balance; and if you want to lose weight you will have to burn more than you consume.

Fundamentally it makes no difference if you eat your calories in the form of your favourite chocolate bar or in so called super foods such as avocados and quinoa. Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying these choices are completely equal, that would be simply ignorant, but the message I am trying to get across here is that all that matters for weight loss is how much you eat and how much you burn through physical activity.

And this brings us to the next step. How can you keep track of your calorie intake? Again considering that you are a complete beginner, I would suggest you to keep things as simple as possible. Don’t even waste time on calorie tracking apps such as Myfitnesspal, that will be the second step and I will talk about that later in another post. For now the best thing you can do is to keep a food diary. And trust me even this is harder than it seems to be, as the science says that majority of us tend to cheat and lie even to ourselves about how much food we eat. So you have to be 100% honest and note down everything you eat for 10 days, whilst also keeping track of your activity (gym sessions, walks etc) and measuring your weight on a daily basis.

After this time period you will be able to look back and see what amount of food was actually your maintenance intake. Only after that you will have a better understanding of how much you’ll need to eat in order to lose or gain weight. Also if you later decide to work with a personal trainer or a dietician this will be a great log which you can share with them to help them guide you more accurately.

Exercise of the Month: Bear Complex

The Bear Complex is lifting move that is suited for more intermediate/advanced gym goers. The 5 lift involves 5 different parts which are: A power clean from the floor, front squat, push press (bringing bar behind head to rear rack position), back squat, and push press (bringing bar to chest to front-rack position) and then back to the floor. The completion of all 5 moves counts as one repetition (rep). There is the option to perform this exercise with a pause after each of the moves (to break them up) or it can be performed as one continuous movement with no pauses.

It is important to be well accustomed to all the individual parts of the complex, on their own, before attempting to do the full movement. It is also advised that if this is the first time you are performing the complex, you should start with a lighter weight than you usually squat or power clean with. This is to ensure that you are safely able to perform the complex and then you can gradually begin to increase your weight as you get used to the movements.

1) power clean

2) front squat

3) push press (to behind head)

4) Back Squat

5) push press (to chest)

The Bear complex is good for developing power and strength. It is also good for conditioning your full body due to having to stabilise yourself whilst performing the movements. It can also be used for development of muscular endurance and cardiovascular fitness if the weight is kept light and performed at a faster rate.

So if you’re looking for a way to take your Olympic/Power lifting to the next level, try incorporating the Bear Complex into your workout.


by Beverley

SportsDock Open Day

How to make the most of SportsDock’s open day

Whether you are already a member or intrigued by the thought of joining SportsDock you need to take advantage of this FREE day! To fit it all in it’s going to take tactics.

We have a good mixture going on. First of all, it’s a Saturday, get a lay in until 9amish? (That counts as a lie in!) in preparation of your day of intense exercise.

Arrive at SportsDock for 10:30am and prep yourself for Kef’s Train Insane, it begins at 11am in Arena 1. This class is circuit based and each exercise is timed so you can push yourself as hard as you want. Take a break and recuperate.

Next up is dance fitness (12pm) with Gintare! An hour of cardio based dance from different styles. Don’t label it for women, guys dance too! Get your Ashley Banjo on and get down to a mix of current hits.

Take a break that was intense! Grab a bite to eat from Munch café, top up your protein shake and breathe…

Time for something different. At 2pm join in the free sports, choose from Basketball, Volleyball or Badminton…or a bit of all of them! You never know, you might find a hidden talent. Could you be the next Michael Jordan?

All that exercise is hard work. But you’ve one more stop to make before you’re done. The Fitness Centre!

It’s going to be busy on the open day, so you have to be tactical. There’s plenty to do so be creative. The rig has a lot to offer so make sure you use it: battle ropes, TRX, boxing, money bars. Try them all! If you’re unsure ask a fitness instructor. Our cardio machines are not to be missed, step up and plug in your headphones, watch television or stick on your own tunes.

This takes you to about half four (Depending on how long you hold out in the gym) and you have fully exhausted everything SportsDock has to offer at the community day.

Only got half a day? Don’t worry, classes run throughout the day with three Train Insane, a dance fitness, two Zumba and a yoga class you’re not going to miss out if you lay in or have to give it an early start. Check out the full timetable here.

Don’t forget about our prize draw! Take out membership on the day and you could win an extra three months of Gold membership!

Keeping those resolutions

On New year’s, like many others, I made new year’s resolutions. I will stop eating lots of chocolate, I will exercise more, I will lose weight. So three months down the line how am I doing?

I will stop eating lots of chocolate

I’m very open about my relationship with chocolate. I love chocolate. I was reminded the other month that every birthday of mine for the last three years has had something to do with chocolate. A chocolate tour, a chocolate festival, a chocolate fountain. So I decided to cut down. It was going so well until my colleague bought me 10…yes 10 Double Deckers as a thank you for work I did for them. I fell off the wagon.

I will exercise more

I started doing classes three times a week. Pilates, Boxercise, Dance Fitness. I had convinced myself that the gym wasn’t for me. I didn’t know what I was doing and preferred dancing to running any day. Problem. Classes are at set times of the day and one over run meeting can mess the whole system up. Exercise goes out the window.

I will lose weight

 So as a result of the above I did not lose weight.

Getting back on the wagon

Three weeks ago I decided things needed to change. This is how I did it.

Find the time

I was never a morning person. I tried classes at lunch (Didn’t work) I tried classes after work (I just want to get home) So I decided I should become a morning person. I get up an hour earlier and spend half an hour a day at the gym…yes, the gym.

Make a plan

When I started at the gym I would amble around doing a bit of this and that. I didn’t expect to see results. So I booked a personal plan with Kef. For those of you who know Kef and are staring at your computer screen with a “What did you do that for?” face I have to say some of the other instructors were surprised too. I knew Kef would challenge me, but also listen to what I wanted to do and more importantly, what I didn’t want to do (Burpees). He knows that you must enjoy a workout to want to do it. So he wrote me five half hour workouts that focus on one part of my body a day.

Stick to it

You know what they say, it takes 21 days (More or less) to form a habit. After three weeks at the gym, at 7:15am when the alarm goes off my body doesn’t scream at me to go back to sleep, but there is still a tiny part of me that says “But you went yesterday and the day before, you can sleep now” by the time that sentence has finished I’m already out of bed because my body just does it.

Find your motivation

I’ve found that my motivation has changed. It used to be to get fit and toned, now that I’ve noticed my body changing and colleagues have started commenting on my hard work my motivation is to keep changing. I recently purchased the Cosmopolitan Body magazine (Which I recommend to all) There was an article about two staff members having a personal training session with a world class trainer and a couple of words stuck with me. “When you hit the wall you start to get better” and I’ve found myself thinking this when I don’t think I can do any more. Your body is capable of more than you think.

Go Compare!

Not completely sure which membership is best for you? Find out more about them here.

The Pitch Invader

Fancy a kick around or shooting some hoops with your friends? If so, the Bronze Membership is perfect for you. Splitting the £6 monthly membership along with the £15 per hour pitch hire, with your friends, is the best and most cost effective way to enjoy a game of football at SportsDock. Taking out a bronze membership will save you £12 on a 60 minute game, split between five people just £2.40 each! Check out how much you can save, just by becoming a Bronze member here.

The Gym Machine

Our Silver Membership is a perfect fit for those who are flexible with their working hours. You can enjoy free use of our fitness centre and the strength & conditioning room during off peak hours, which are 4pm to 9pm. If you want to enjoy our classes, you can do so for a reduced rate. However, if you’re going to take part in more than 2 50 minute classes a week at £4 each, you’re better off getting the Gold Membership and saving yourself some money!

The Class Addict

Do you have a hectic work schedule? Do you only get to enjoy leisure time after work? Then look no further as our Gold Membership is the perfect option for you. Enjoy full, any time, access to our great services including; the fitness centre, the strength & conditioning room and unlimited exercise classes! This is the best package that we offer and provides you with a great opportunity to distress after a long day at work.

To check out all of our prices visit our website here.