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Why Your Nutrition Is More Important Than Your Workout

Today was chest/back at the gym and for all intents and purposes, it was awesome. I did numerous exercises, at challenging resistance levels, with elements of agility and mobility laced throughout. But as I felt my strength go up, and saw the obvious evidence of hypertrophy [muscle growth] in the mirror, I found myself wondering, "Could I have gotten to this point in my training without supporting the muscle-crushing training sessions with muscle-building nutrition?" After all, without rebuilding broken down muscle tissue, the in-workout pump is little more than a temporary buzz from your favorite addiction: exercise.

In this post, I'll share with you my workout, and then talk about what I ate to increase the effectiveness of the iron I pumped.

10 minutes boxer shuffle, toprock, & dynamic stretch [new readers: I actually dance during my warm up. It's a lot more fun than slogging through treadmill or recumbent bike mind-numbing boring-ness]


  1. "Flat" bench dumbbell press [it was actually at a 15° angle] - warm up set, 3x15 at a challenging weight, focused on form [good stretch at the bottom, proper shoulder position at the top]
  2. Wide grip lat pulldown - warm up set, 3x15 at a challenging weight, again, focused on form [pulling with the lats, not yanking with biceps/rear delts/traps]
  3. Dumbbell pullover - 3x12
  4. Standing lawnmowers - leaning onto the weight rack, rowing a single dumbbell 3x15
  5. Machine bench press - Heavy for 12/8/6 reps
  6. Bent over lat rows - 3x15

No finisher, no additional mobility work. Pumped as heck. Muscles obviously primed for growth... So now what?

Now comes the good part: Nutrition.

I took 5,000 mg of creatine monohydrate + 1,000 mg of straight vitamin C powder before my session, drank a bottle of my "workout hot sauce" [3/4 tsp cayenne pepper, 2 Tbsp raw honey, pinch of sea salt, 24 oz purified water] during the session, and quickly shot another 2,500 mg of creatine + 1,000 mg vitamin C immediately after the workout. Then I took a quick shower, and downed 30 grams of whey protein in water and raw milk.

So what's so special about that sequence? Those ingredients? The timing? Well, all of it. Let me break it down a little more:

Vitamin C has been shown, repeatedly, to lower blood sugar levels and help athletes lean out. Testosterone levels are increased indirectly by vitamin C through aromatase and cortisol blocking action. I could go on, but let's just say that vitamin C is like Harry Potter's invisibility cloak- pretty darn cool, and good for 1,001 uses- except it's real. So why take it on an empty stomach? To increase absorption.

Why take creatine monohydrate with it? Well that's a can of worms we don't have time to open up fully, but I'll say this: creatine monohydrate, as a performance-enhancing supplement, has decades of peer-reviewed, long-term study. Literally thousands of studies, backed by millions of testimonials. Very few supplements come remotely close to having the near-universal seal of approval that creatine has. Before the workout, I pour 5 grams directly into my mouth, and wash it down quickly with purified water. Same after. Why? Creatine degrades when placed in liquid, so I get it straight in.

"Why the 'workout hot sauce'?!" 

Numerous reasons: hydration, thermogenic results, and small amounts of carbohydrate to compensate for the lowered blood sugar that high doses of vitamin C induce. Here's some additional reading material on the awesomeness of cayenne pepper drinks.

"Why wait for a post workout shake? Isn't sooner better?"

Not necessarily: oftentimes, the anabolic window lasts about 45-60 minutes, and it's better to let your body cool down, allowing currently available micronutrients already present in your bloodstream such as vitamin C & creatine [wink wink] to find their mark before pulling blood back to your gut for processing new macronutrients [protein shake that has to be broken into it's many essential amino acids].

So, that was a lot to pack into one blog post. Let me ask you: do you supplement? Why? What have the long term effects been? Are you happy with them? Chime in below!
Stay Strong, Friends.

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