Article by Cliff Harvey PhD

Originally posted at

What the heck is ‘peri-workout’?

No, it’s not a Portuguese inspired workout performed with chicken drumsticks, it’s the time around training, and so includes the time-period before, during, and after training.

Your needs for peri-workout nutrition are going to vary greatly depending on your desired outcome. Most importantly, your sport and the volume and intensity of exercise are going to play a big role in what you take before, during, and after training.

I’m going to delve into specifics for endurance sports later, but in this post, I’m going to cover off what can work really well for your average lifter, gym-goer, or athlete training around 3-9 hours per week (which, let’s face it…is most of you!) with reference to what I take.

Before training supplementation

For most athletes and gym-goers, there’s no need to have a high-carb meal to ‘stock up’ your glycogen levels for training. Your glycogen levels for exercise bouts up to 90 min are just fine! [See my article on carbs before training here:]

So, what’s going to help?

Cognitive boosters:

Stimulant, perceived exertion, and stamina boosters

Joint and connective tissue boosters:

During training supplementation

For most recreational athletes, there’s no real need for anything within the workout, especially if you’ve had some pre-workout boosters. Take some ketones and/or a touch of protein (around 10g) if you really want to…

After training supplementation

After training, you might benefit from some protein. Now, I know that the evidence is quite equivocal and the recommendation to have protein after training is not as clear-cut as it once was, BUT I still have my clients taking a protein drink straight after training…

Why protein?

  1. There is likely to be some benefit to muscle gain or retention and possibly to fat-loss, even if small
  2. Many of my clients do not eat enough protein to hit their daily targets consistently and so, having the behavioural trigger of always having a protein drink after training helps them to optimise protein intake

Overall, when my clients take a protein drink after training, they tend to feel better, gain more muscle, and are more satiated later in the day, and so, eat less overall, but with a greater protein intake consistently. (Win-win-win!)

Creatine is also a good addition to your post-workout drink. It is THE king of sports supplements with literally hundreds of papers demonstrating the benefits to muscle and body composition, strength and power.

Cliff’s peri-workout stack



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