For muscle to grow, it must be stimulated. Weight training is said to be the best way to stimulate your muscles for growth. After your muscles have been stimulated, they need nutrients.
You have just put your body through an intense, strenuous workout, during this time muscle breakdown has occurred. So what do you need to do to maximize building muscle?
Encarta's Interactive Encyclopedia defines insulin as "a pancreatic hormone that regulates the metabolism of carbohydrates and fats by controlling blood glucose levels."
As you have probably read in other articles, insulin plays an important part in building muscle. Insulin transports nutrients to the organs in the body. This includes muscle cells and fat cells.
"While insulin is driving amino acids and glucose into muscle cells, it appears it also prevents the 'leaking out' of these nutrients from the muscle cells that usually occur in response to training or illness."3
I asked a friend of mine what he knows about insulin. He is a big time powerlifter and is studying this kind of stuff in college (I forget the names of his classes).
This is what he had to say:
"It is an anabolic/lipogenic hormone triggered by your pancreas upon the consumption of carbohydrates which stores the consumed carbohydrate as glycogen, a glucose polymer.
The glycogen is stored in muscles and the liver to which we hold about 1600-1800 calories from glycogen max. It is said that after carbo loading, that number can jump as high as 2800 kcal."
So what kind of carbs should you load with? The answer is really quite simple... simple carbs.
To create an insulin spike after training, a simple carbohydrate (sugars) should be consumed. Some examples of good sugary carbs to consume after a workout are, honey and fruit juices. The spike created will increase protein synthesis.1
Your body also needs protein after a workout. It is important to get protein into your system as fast as you can, so doesn't it make sense to intake a protein that is absorbed quickly. Hydrolyzed whey isolates takes about 20 minutes to be absorbed.1
Whole foods can take hours to digest. "Recent research reviews indicate a protein/carb mix stimulates insulin and other anabolic hormones levels far greater than just carbohydrates alone."3
Glutamine and Cysteine
"Studies of blood and whole body amino acid biochemistry show that low plasma levels and a low glutamine/cysteine ration in blood and tissue forecast muscle loss in many people. This has been demonstrated in symptom free cancer and HIV patients, healthy people over 60, and young, physically fit men preforming a weight training program.
That's right, healthy young men with low levels of these amino acids in their bodies actually lost muscle during a weight training program."1
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My Experiences with L-Glutamine
When I was trying to cut up for the summer, I lowered my calories and continued with my current workout routine. After a week, I was skinny, but I was also smaller muscle wise. This really depressed me.
I went back to my normal eating habits and gained some of the muscle I lost back. Not too long after, I began to read about L-Glutamine and talk to people that took it. They said it prevented muscle lost when dieting. I decided I would try it. I now lowered my calories again and supplemented with L-Glutamine.
By the end of the week, my waist was slimmer and trimmer and my muscles were bigger. I cut my calories exactly as I had before, but this time I did not lose my hard earned muscle. By the way, I was taking 5 grams in the morning, 5 grams after my workout, and 5 grams before I went to bed.
Essential Amino Acids
Some people also need arginine and histidine.1 All these amino acids are used during weight training. The problem is, they also trigger high protein synthesis rates.
Therefore, it is important to take a supplement with these amino acids after training. These amino acids can also be found in meat, eggs, and milk.2 These amino acids assist in recuperation and growth. Amino acids must be present with high insulin to produce massive muscle growth.3
There have been many well-written articles about creatine on this site. Instead of rewriting them, I will just refer you to them.
This link will take you to a list of the articles written about creatine on this site:
My Post Workout Drink/Meal (6-25-01)
1 Scoop of AST HSC Creatine in 4 oz. grape juice.
1 Scoop of AST VP2 Whey Protein in water with 1 tbsp. honey.
15-20 minutes after workout:
5 grams AST GL3 L-Glutamine in 8 oz. of grape juice.
30-45 minutes after workout:
1 packet of AST Ny-Tro Pro 40 in 12 oz. milk.
Reasons For My Post Workout Meal
AST's HSC is designed to increase the insulin spike and increase creatine uptake. Excellent! VP2 has all of the essential amino acids needed after a workout as well as cysteine and 24 grams of high quality whey protein.
The grape juice is to increase to the insulin spike. I chose not to use milk with the VP2 because it would slow down the insulin spike.
The protein in milk is casein, which is 80% of the protein in milk.2 This casein protein contains all the essential amino acids that the body cannot create. The sugar in milk is called lactose. Some adults have trouble digesting lactose.
If this is the case, you might want to try lactose free milk. I choose skim milk here because it has no fat. Your fat does not need fat after a workout, hence the skim milk.
For more on Milk, check out:
Honey's ability to enhance muscle recuperation and glycogen repletion is unknown to most people. Taking honey after a workout allows you to maintain higher blood sugar levels after training than most other carbohydrates.4
*I highly suggest viewing the articles that are linked to my article. They contain information that is vital to my article.
Never skip out on post workout nutrition!
"Always looking to expand my knowledge of training and nutrition!"
If you have any questions or comments, please email me at
- Cribb, Paul. "Why you need to build it and how to do it drug free, fast and effectively".-High Performance Muscle. p. 22-3.
- Encarta's Interactive Encyclopedia-"Milk","Amino Acids"
- Cribb, Paul. "Insulin and Muscle Growth. The Latest Research".