Dr. Cory Holly is an expert on sports nutrition, exercise, and natural fitness. He is the founder and director of the Cory Holly Institute, an online university that specializes in sports nutrition, anti-aging, health, and fitness education. Among many accomplishments, Dr. Holly also competes as a Masters athlete in natural bodybuilding and was the Grand Master Silver Medalist at the 10th Annual 2007 INBA Natural Olympia in Greece.
When I caught up with Cory Holly during his 2008 U.S. tour, he graciously agreed to an interview. After hours of sharing his vast knowledge about nutrition and exercise, Cory agreed to write out answers to a few choice questions that I posed to him, with the average exercise and Pilates buff in mind. What Dr. Holly has given us is a wonderful distillation of his natural approach to fitness along with information on nutrition and exercise, weight loss, and supplements that everyone can use.
What and When Should People Eat Before a Workout?
I have competed as an athlete my entire life and have worked professionally with thousands of recreational and competitive athletes engaged in all forms of sport and exercise training. My best advice based on research, safety and experience is to prepare a pre-workout protein shake 1 to 2 hours prior to each workout. The concept is called Shake & Take, and it works like a charm.
Use clean, filtered water as a base. Blend your shake with 1 to 2 T. omega-3 rich sport oil (flax, chia, fish), 1 to 2 servings of whey, hemp or soy protein isolate, Â½ to 1 cup of low-glycemic organic fresh fruit (berries, cherries, pear, peach or apple, for example), and additional performance ingredients such as ribose, creatine, glutamine and spirulina (Â½ to 1 tsp of each). The objective is to enter the workout with glycogen-rich muscle, stable blood sugar and a positive nitrogen balance. Energy reserves should be high. Running on empty increases risk of injury, limits exercise performance and stifles progress. [For convenient reference, you will find this smoothie recipe on its own page here:
Make a Smoothie with Fruit and Protein...]
Take a good multiple vitamin and mineral pack with the shake. Choose one that also provides enzymes and CoQ10. The pack provides the body with essential nutrients and antioxidants that are depleted during the workout. Enter the war against resistance, gravity and oxidation with full armor. Protect your cells and tissue from free radicals generated during exercise.
When you consume adequate high-quality lean protein throughout the day, you rev up your metabolism and protect muscle from injury and damage. You become a fat burning machine, not a fat storing machine. Protein literally means "to come first."
What About Eating in the Post Workout Period?
Repeat the Shake & Take process immediately after training, while the window of opportunity is wide open for repletion and restoration. Liquid nutrition is rapidly absorbed. Add some medjool dates or eat a slice of manna bread with the shake. After a good workout, insulin and glucose are low. Spiking insulin with high-glycemic carbohydrates after exercise results in faster glycogen repletion and better recovery. The body is looking for optimum nourishment and can't respond to the workout stress until glycogen and ATP levels in the muscle cells are completely restored.
Before skeletal muscle can adapt, heal and remodel itself in response to vigorous exercise, the immune, cardiovascular and nervous systems must fully recuperate. This process takes time and demands rest, whole organic food and solid biological support. Great workouts are one of the keys to feeling and looking great and maintaining physical strength. During the workout, sip on cold, filtered water reinforced with electrolytes and vitamin C. Hydration is a huge factor in health and performance.