The Importance of Peri-Workout Nutrition

The Importance of Peri-Workout Nutrition

by Julia Ladewski

Four sets of pre-exhaustion leg curls, heavy back squats, sets of 25 rep hack squats, and walking lunges with chains. That was my first leg training day in preparation for a figure show.  It was brutal!  I dreaded getting out of bed the next day because I knew it would be bad…

A short clip of some of my first leg day

You see, prior to my deciding to compete in a figure show, my training for the last 13 years was very powerlifting based. It consisted of a maximal or dynamic effort exercise which was followed by traditional assistance work of 3-4 exercises that complimented that day’s training to build my main lifts. The powerlifting training, while very taxing on the nervous system, was never overly high in volume.

I made an immediate switch to a bodybuilding approach for the figure prep.  Not just any bodybuilding program, John Meadows’ Mountain Dog training (  John’s programs are extremely demanding and exhausting, yet highly effective.

The workouts left me sore for the first week (as will virtually any new training program).  With Mountain Dog training adapting to the program doesn’t really happen. The workouts change every week.  Everything is changed, the exercises, sets, reps, and the order of body parts.  Toss in eccentric sets, challenge sets, drop sets, and short rest period sets and you have a recipe to always keep the body guessing.

Left = 4 weeks into diet  Right = 8 weeks into diet

Combine the above training with a pre-contest low calorie diet and you would expect me to be constantly sore and generally in a physical tailspin.  Instead, I’m still able to train hard, still have energy to coach my athletes and speak at seminars, and I feel great. My body is recovering so optimally that I’ve been able to drop body fat and put on some significant muscle mass!

Peri-workout nutrition has been a major key to my success.  Peri-workout nutrition involves what is consumed surrounding one’s training sessions.  My regimen has been as follows:

- One hour before training:  oats, peanut butter and an AtLarge Nutrition Nitrean+ protein shake.

- Just before training: 1 scoop AtLarge Pre-Workout.

- One hour after training: lean steak and rice.

Left = 4 weeks into my diet  Right = 8 weeks into my diet

The moral of this story is I have learned just how important nutrition can be, especially the nutrition surrounding your training sessions.  In just one short week I will be going back to powerlifting training, but you can bet one thing will remain regardless of my goals, my peri-workout protocol.

Julia Ladewski, CSCS, is currently the director of Parisi Speed School in northwest Indiana working with youth and adults. Previously, she spent 8 years as a Division I strength coach at the University at Buffalo.

As an sponsored athlete and Q&A staff member, Julia is an Elite level powerlifter once holding the #1 spot in the 132 pound class. After having two kids, she is back on the platform making her way to the top in the 123’s. Her best lifts to date are a 462 lbs squat, a 255 lbs bench, and a 424 lbs deadlift.

Julia continues to write about youth sports performance and female strength sports. Her writing can be found on and  She also offers training programs for powerlifting and female strength training as well as nutritional consultation.

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