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What to eat to get strong, fit, & fast

Sport nutrition, what to eat to get strong, fit & fast from Dr John Heiss, Herbalife24By Dr. John Heiss

As Director of Sports and Fitness at Herbalife, I’m often asked about how athletes can improve their performance.  It comes down to sports nutrition – you need to feed your body the right nutrients at the right times to help it perform.

You get stronger while eating and sleeping – not while working out.


2 to 3 hours: can eat a full meal, generally limit fat.

1-2 hours: Something light (sports bar, fruit – mostly carbs, some protein)

1 hour: Sports drink with electrolytes, some calories – something easy to digest. A caffeine + nitric oxide (NO) product will be useful to get the most out of your workout (energy, focus, muscle pumps, blood flow).

Target: caffeine (50-150mg), arginine (2-3g), creatine (2-3g), amino acids, electrolytes (100-200mg sodium), some carbs (10-20g), some protein ok (<10g)

During workout:

Don’t be scared of carbs here. Carbs will give you energy to complete a longer workout with more energy – and you’ll be able to do more reps with more weight at the end of a workout: meaning you’ll get stronger. Also think about consuming some protein – it will help prevent muscle breakdown. Look for a sports drink anywhere from a 3:1 to a 10:1 carb-to-protein ratio (often recovery drinks for endurance athletes are perfect to drink during a gym workout).

Target: 25-50g of carbs per hour (aerobic being at upper end) + protein (3-10g) Total 100-200 calories / hour

After Workout:

This is the most important time to eat properly. A mixture of carbs and protein is key. Carbs help protein build muscle, and refill the energy “gas tank” called glycogen. Look for a recovery shake with a mixture of fast + slow proteins and free amino acids, particularly BCAAs, which are the “building blocks of muscle.”

Depending on your size, consume about 20-40g of protein and 10-25g of carbs – 200-400 calories after workout.


General Nutrition:

Athletes can easily lose >1L of sweat per hour and 1g of sodium. You’ll need to drink 1.5L of water for every 1L you lose unless you consume electrolytes that will facilitate the re-hydration process.

Vegetables: These are a great source of antioxidants and phytochemicals. They’re also rich in fiber, which means they’re filling and good as snacks so you’re not loading up on junk food during the day. Try to eat good, wholesome food every day. Include vegetables with every meal, and make it easy – cut them up Sunday night so it’s easy to grab and go during the week.

Healthy fats: These are known to fight inflammation and are linked to better overall health. Walnuts, almonds and other nuts (generally not peanuts) are great. Sprinkle some onto cereal in the morning or into a shake.

Soft Drinks: avoid soda at all costs.  The only time I might forgive a soda is if you just did a killer workout, you don’t have a good recovery shake with you and you can’t get to conventional food!

Herbalife markets food and supplement products, including hydration supplements.

Sports Nutrition
Dr. John Heiss

11 Responses to What to eat to get strong, fit, & fast

  1. jenny estrada

    hi..dr john
    my name is jenny
    and i would like to know if me as an athlete i work out 7 days a week for 2 to3 hrs.. since i breastfeed, what would you recomend me to eat, because i sometimes feel really weak and im not sure of what to eat…

    • Herbalife24

      Hi Jenny,
      Thanks for your question.
      There could be more than one answer to your question, and you should discuss this issue with your doctor.
      Team Herbalife24

  2. Alejandro Miranda Bernal


  3. Alejandro Miranda Bernal


    • Herbalife24

      Hi Alejandro, I’m sorry this article isn’t available in Spanish but it’s certainly something we’ll bear in mind.
      Team Herbalife24

  4. Glen Hengst

    What a great amount of tips in a short powerful article, brillent thank you was great to read!

  5. Eliane Vigneron

    absolutely awesome counselling ! Thank you !

  6. George Pierson

    My name is George Pierson the founder of a non profit. Herbalife has saved my life. I went from eating and drinking anything and everything unhealthy. I made a Herbalife 25 day challenge. Im on day #2 and havent been more excited for the next workout. Thank you

  7. Tom Byrnes

    Dear John,

    Thank you for your valuable information and your contributions to Herbalife 24 nutritional products, especially Prolong, Rebuild Endurance and Rebuild Strength. Prolong helped my teammates and me finish the Furnace Creek 508 twice in good shape.

  8. Richard

    Hi, Before Herbalife 24 was released, I followed the Fuel, hydrate, refuel, repair and recovery philosophy: I used Thermo and F1 shake with dilute fruit juice just (15-20mins) before my early morning run of 45 – 60mins. Immediately I finished I had another F1 Shake with diluted fruit juice and then a breakfast of F1 Shake with extra PPP, yogurt, milk fruit. I also used NRG or Thermo as hydration during my runs. I had an unbelievable season reaching all kinds of personal bests.

    In this article the intake of carbs/protein is recommended 1-2 hrs pre-work out. That’s not easy when you work-out at dawn. What suggestions can you make using Herbalife 24, for an early morning exerciser training for 1/2marathons and marathons?

    • Herbalife24

      Hi Richard,
      You’ve inspired us with that question and, if you don’t mind, we’d like to answer it in a full article as we think it’s something everyone will be interested in! Watch this space and thanks for the inspiration.
      Team Herbalife24

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