Monthly Archives: December 2011
Post Workout Carbohydrate Sources
By Kyle Hunt
Research in discussion
Effects of ingesting protein with various forms of carbohydrate following resistance-exercise on substrate availability and markers of anabolism, catabolism, and immunity
The ingestion of carbohydrate and protein following resistance training is a general protocol for most athletes interested in optimizing their gains from training. The combination of carbohydrate and protein has been shown to increase insulin levels, optimize glycogen re-synthesis, enhance protein synthesis, and lesson the immunosuppressive effects of intense exercise. There has been a lot of research conducted on the varying recovery properties of different protein and amino acid sources but much less research done on different forms of carbohydrate sources. Theoretically, ingesting a carbohydrate source that has a high glycimic index would offer the greatest increase in insulin levels, glycogen re-synthesis, and protein synthesis. The big question is whether or not the glycimic index (speed of delivery) makes a difference when combined with protein and taken post workout.
The purpose of the study was to determine whether the type of carbohydrate ingested along with protein (whey) following a resistance exercise affects blood glucose availability and insulin levels, markers of anabolism and catabolism, and/or general immune markers.
The research group used forty subjects (19 males 21 females) who had all participated in at least one year of resistance training prior to the experiment. Before the start of the program, one repetition maxes were found for the given exercises in the program along with starting body weight. Before the start of the training sessions the subjects gave “pre-exercise” blood and after completing the given resistance training workout the subjects gave “post-exercise” blood.
Following the post exercise blood sample, the subjects received in a double blind and randomized manner a carbohydrate and protein supplement consisting of 40g whey protein with 120g sucrose, powdered honey or maltodextrin. The remaining group was served as a non supplement control group.
The research group had three major findings after concluding the study. One, ingesting a carbohydrate and protein supplement following resistance training promoted significant increases in insulin level. This was not a major finding as many studies have showed the same thing. Two, there were no significant differences observed among the forms of carbohydrate served on the insulin levels. This suggests that all three carbohydrate sources tested when combined with protein are effective for post workout recovery. Lastly, the group found that glucose was maintained to a greater degree in the subjects ingesting honey as the carbohydrate source. This was an interesting point because honey has the lowest glycimic value of the three carbohydrates tested and symbolized a “mix” carbohydrate source. The honey used in the study was made up of a mixture of fructose, glucose, wheat starch, and maltose. The study also concluded that the differences in post workout supplementation did not significantly affect time course of testosterone, cortisol or general markers of immunity. Like previously mentioned the findings support the growing literature that ingesting post workout carbohydrates combined with protein stimulates insulin levels and anabolic processes. However, the study brings up an interesting point in regards to post workout carbohydrate intake; faster absorption might not be as beneficial as originally imagined.
It has generally been thought that insulin levels increase the greatest amount in conjunction with higher glycimic index carbohydrates. Thus it would provide the greatest benefit to combine protein with the highest possible glycimic index carbohydrate post workout such as dextrose, maltodextrin or like substance to benefit from all of the anabolic processes of insulin. However, the research showed there was little to no difference between carbohydrate sources tested in the study. A possible explanation for this could be the effect of the whey protein supplement on the carbohydrate source. Glycimic Index values are determined fasted and as an isolated food item. When the carbohydrate is combined with the whey protein a whole new cascade physiological response occurs compared to the carbohydrate isolated.
Post workout supplementation protocol is one of the most debated aspects in sports nutrition. In addition, over the last few years a lot of post workout supplements have came onto the scene marketed as recovery formulas with dextrose, waximaize, or maltodextrin as their carbohydrate source. The reasoning behind having those carbohydrate sources is their extremely high glycimic index values. Dextrose, waximaize and maltodextrin all have glycimic values at or above 100.
It is important to consume protein and amino acids post workout because of the powerful stimulation effects on protein synthesis. Insulin is therefore included because insulin has been found to be a potent stimulator of protein synthesis. The research study showed no significant differences on insulin response of the three forms of carbohydrate tested. Also, honey was found to maintain elevated blood glucose levels to a greater degree than either sucrose or maltodextrin. These findings suggest that it might be more beneficial to ingest a mix of high and moderate glycimic carbohydrate sources post workout to promote a sustained elevation in blood glucose. Also, by combining varying carbohydrate sources consisting of a range of GI values it could prevent rebound hypoglycemia that some individuals may encounter when ingesting extremely high GI carbohydrate sources in large amounts.
Personally I feel like the study was very well put together. However, in the future I would be interested to look into the differences between mixed carbohydrate sources and see if there is any benefit to the combination of high GI sources with low GI sources or if a single moderate GI source provided the most benefit. I tend to suggest a mix of a moderate to high GI source combined with a moderate to low GI source post workout. The idea is to create an initial insulin response but one that is able to be sustained over an extended period of time. An exception to that is during extreme fat loss phases where I feel it is more beneficial to control insulin levels throughout the day and just have a moderate to low GI carbohydrate source post workout.
It is a general consensus that combining protein and carbohydrates together post workout significantly increase glucose and insulin responses thus anabolic processes. The findings suggest that each of the three types of carbohydrates tested can be used as an effective carbohydrate source to combine with protein and consume post workout. However, it was found that blood glucose levels could remain elevated if a “mix” carbohydrate source was consumed such as honey.
In a post resistance workout setting there seems to be no added benefit to consume an extremely high GI carb source such as dextrose, waximaize or maltodextrin. In fact, like mentioned I would recommend a mix of a high and moderate glycimic index carbohydrate source to generate an insulin response and maintain it over a greater period of time. The study does not say that having a high GI carbohydrate source such as dextrose, maltodextrin, or waximaize post workout is not effective. It is effective it’s just not any MORE effective than having a moderate carbohydrate source or a mix. I would try a few different protocols and determine what your body responds to best.
Post Workout CHO Intake Q & A
Here are some of the more common questions I get regarding post workout intake.
Q- If you are following a low carbohydrate diet do you still need carbohydrates post workout?
- There this definitely a great deal of benefit to consuming carbohydrates post workout. Like mentioned the ingestion of carbohydrates and protein create a cascade of events including increased protein synthesis, increased glucose and nutrient uptake within the muscle cell and it stems from the insulin response. Typically in a low carbohydrate setting I would recommend partitioning the majority of your carbohydrates to be consumed pre and post workout, post workout being the last place to take carbohydrates from so you can still benefit from the muscle building properties of carbs plus protein post workout. However, if you are following a ketogenic diet where the idea is to keep the body producing ketone bodies the only way to do that is to limit all insulin response therefore no significant carbohydrate can be ingested at one time or at all. In those cases its best to follow the plan and avoid carbohydrates.
Q- Do you have to have a supplement post workout or is whole food alright?
- Whole food is definitely alright. For me personally I am about 50/50 when it comes to supplements vs. whole food post workout. Some days I might have a shake along with some carbs and some days I might just have a meal. It really comes down to personal preference and convenience. There are some benefits from having whey protein post workout but most of the benefits stem from maximizing protein synthesis. Since whey protein is about 10-11% leucine it only takes about 30g to hit the leucine threshold to maximize protein synthesis. To make up for that with a whole food source such as chicken, you just need to slightly increased the serving size in comparison to the whey. A great whole food post workout meal could be 6oz chicken, 8oz sweet potato, a little bit of brown sugar and stevia on the sweet potato and there you go! Solid whole food post workout meal.
Q- How important is it to restore glycogen levels post resistance training workout?
- Well this is a good question. Yes, stored glycogen levels are typically on the low side following a resistance training workout, especially if it was an intense workout. But the benefits of restoring glycogen post workout are a much different need to resistance training than it is to endurance training. Your body has about 400g of glycogen stored in muscle cells and about 100g stored in the liver. It only takes about 60 minutes of moderate (65-70% vo2) exercise to completely burn through stored glycogen. To an endurance athlete it is extremely important to restore the glycogen levels so they can train again. A resistance trainer is looking to restore glycogen for another reason. There is only two ways glucose gets into the muscle cell. One is through muscle contraction and another is through the action of insulin. For this discussion we are going to focus on insulin. Insulin acts on GLUT-4 which transports glucose into the muscle cell from the blood. A resistance trainer is looking to benefit from the increased uptake of nutrients, amino acids and the increased muscle protein synthesis response this creates. This really hits on the overall meaning of this article. Yes, insulin is important for muscle growth and recovery but restoring glycogen is not really the main principle of concern. For muscle growth it is more about taking advantage of the physiological cascade of events insulin creates.
I hope this article helps clear the light on some of the more pressing issues of post workout nutrition intake.
Until next time “One Dream, One Reality”
2012 Hunt Fitness Classic
Sponsored by Hunt-Fitness.com, Tigerfitness.com and Marc Lobliner (MTS and EthiTech Nutrition)
This is an online bodybuilding contest like no other on the web! Bigger and Better than last year.
- Sign up– starts Jan 1st and goes all the way up until April 7th.
- Video week– April 1st– 7th Enter your video to firstname.lastname@example.org
- The video must be a YouTube video. Send the link
- Voting Week– Starts Sunday April 8th at 12pm noon and goes until Saturday April 14th at 12pm noon. Voting will be done on the Hunt Fitness site.
To sign up, send your name along with a short bio, height, weight, picture, and where you are from to email@example.com between Jan 1 and march31st. This will go up on the site as your “competitor profile”. Your video will be posted with your profile on the site.
*This is a key difference from last year. There is not a deadline to sign up. This year you can sign up all the way up until the day before voting. As long as your information and video make it in before voting starts you are in!
As soon you send in your profile it will go up on the site ASAP.
The video entry like mentioned must be a YouTube video. The video entry should be between 60-90 seconds and set up like a night show posing routine. Take into consideration music, lighting, presentation, etc as this will be what you are voted on.
This year the voting will be done by a poll that will be with the competitor profile and posing video. The voting is done by the viewers.
Whichever competitor has the most votes over the week of voting is the winner. Second and third place will be given out as well. Top three vote getters will get prizes.
1st Place GRAND PRIZE
· 8 weeks training with Marc “The Machine” Lobliner
· (2) 5lb tubs (1 chocolate and 1 vanilla) MTS Nutrition Whey
· 1 bottle MTS Nutrition Drop Factor
· 1 bottle EthiTech Yohimbine HCl
· (1) 5lb tub MTS Nutrition Whey
· 1 bottle MTS Nutrition Drop Factor
· 1 bottle EthiTech Yohimbine HCl
· (1) 5lb tub MTS Nutrition Whey
Coffee and Caffeine
Since the recent article published on Flexonline.com regarding coffee and caffeine is getting a lot of attention I figured I would write an article going over the topic in order to clear some things up.
Should you avoid drinking coffee if your goal is muscle building?
If you have not read the article here is the link http://www.flexonline.com/nutrition/say-no-coffee . Basically what the article is saying is caffeine has a lot of great benefits but coffee should be avoided. The reasoning is based on a study published out of Greece that showed a greater increase in cortisol when subjects drank coffee as opposed to water in the morning. Since caffeine is noted to increase cortisol it is a no brainer subjects drinking coffee as opposed to water would have higher cortisol levels. The idea of taking a caffeine supplement being alright but consuming coffee that has numerous antioxidants is confusing to me but that’s beside the point. The real question is does elevated cortisol from caffeine make a difference?
Cortisol is a stress hormone that can have negative catabolic effects on muscle. However, in order for cortisol to really cause issues on muscle mass/growth a few things need to happen. One, cortisol needs to be elevated for an extended period of time. Short term elevations in cortisol do not have negative effects on muscle building. In fact, hard training sessions that are needed to grow muscle also cause raises in cortisol. Secondly, cortisol raises need to be high enough over a prolonged period of time to make a difference. In my opinion any elevation in cortisol due to coffee intake will not be significant enough to limit muscle building efforts. So should you stop drinking coffee if you are interested in muscle building? In my opinion no, you can still drink your coffee!
Caffeine is a stimulant that has numerous performance and physique enhancing properties.
- Caffeine enhances alertness which is why it makes a great pre workout supplement. It takes about 45-60 minutes to reach peak levels so timing needs to be considered. It also lasts in the body around 4 hours. Caffeine can be classified as an adenosine receptor antagonist. What that means is caffeine binds to adenosine receptors which “blocks” adenosine from being able to bind to them. That is what creates the enhanced alertness.
- Caffeine is also a great fat burner. Fat cannot be burned where it’s at; it needs to be transported into the muscle cell. Caffeine increases free fatty acid entry into the muscle thus increasing fat utilization.
- Caffeine also has an effect on decreasing appetite, although not significantly.
- The biggest benefit may be its performance enhancing properties during endurance training. This goes back to the point about free fatty acid release into the muscle cell. Since fat is the main fuel source during endurance activity, being able to burn fat more efficiently for fuel is a great benefit.
- Too much caffeine can cause GI distress. It is important to take proper dosages. A general guideline for performance benefits would include getting in 3-6 mg/kg of body weight. For a 175lb person a general recommended does would be between 240-480mg depending on the individual.
- You generally hear about people who say they do not feel the same effects from caffeine as they used to. This is because the body becomes more efficient at metabolizing caffeine with prolonged use. Generally over time it will take increasing dosages to get the same results.
There are a lot of good qualities in coffee and caffeine. I know I am not going to let a study talking about cortisol levels keep me away from my morning cup of java!
“One Dream, One Reality”
Brief overview of Ergogenic Aids / Supplements
What is an Ergogenic aid?
In the fitness industry the most popular form of ergogenic aids are in the form of supplements. However, ergogenic aids are not only just supplements. By definition an ergogenic aid is any substance that enhances performance. It can be physiological, biomechanical, psychological, pharmacological, or nutritional.
Ergo = work
Genic = to generate
For this article we are going to focus on supplements which are classified as Nutritional Ergogenic Aids.
The supplement industry is a multi-billion dollar industry that is continuing to grow year after year. When looking to purchase supplements a few things need to be considered. One, supplements are not regulated by the FDA. This means there is no governing body that has to “approve” the supplement before it is marketed. Secondly, not all supplements sold on the shelves produce results. Supplement labels can be very misleading therefore it is important for the consumer to research a product before they make a purchase. Lastly, not all supplement companies are created equal. Not only should consumers do research on a specific compound but on the company as well. Sometimes it makes sense to spend a little more money on your supplements to ensure you are getting the highest quality available. Put it this way, what is the sense in saving a couple dollars when the company that made the supplement you purchased uses low quality ingredients and cannot meet label claims? Quality over quantity!
Here is a list of what I typically recommend to my athletes when selecting supplements.
*Here is your personal Hunt Fitness Supplement Guide
– Essential supplements (For all athletes – general health/body composition)
- Multi Vitamin – Cover all of your micronutrient bases! Its best to try and meet all of your micronutrient needs through food but having a multivitamin is a good way to ensure you are not deficient in one micronutrient. I’m not a huge advocate of the expensive “sports performance” multi vitamins. In my opinion this is one area where you can afford to be stingy. Just go to Wall-Mart or an online supplement store and get a cheap one a day multi vitamin and call it a day. For most of you that will be more than sufficient. The only objection to that is an extremely hard training athlete and/or bodybuilder getting ready for a contest that will need to take into account a greater micronutrient demand. Again that can be accomplished through food or getting a higher quality multivitamin supplement. I prefer the former.
- Protein Powder – Protein powder is great for meeting your daily protein requirement and should be included in your diet. Despite what you all may think there is nothing all that special about drinking protein shakes. It is just highly concentrated, highly bio available protein. The biggest benefit gained from including a protein powder in your diet is convenience. However, it should be used in conjunction with a good diet that is based on high quality whole food protein sources. I personally recommend a whey protein powder due to the high BCAA content and especially leucine for the muscle protein syntheses benefits. I recommend looking for a product that has a blend of whey concentrate, isolate and hydroslate. All three forms have their benefits. Most high quality protein powders on the market have a blend of all three forms of whey.
- Healthy Fat – This category can be considered both a supplement and food similarly to protein powder. Everyone has heard about the benefits of mono and poly unsaturated fats and supplementing with omega 3 fatty acids. They are essential nutrients that are involved in numerous physiological processes within the body. I recommend getting a high quality omega 3 supplement as well as a healthy fat oil source such as macadamia nut oil to add some healthy fats to your diet.
– Next step (Recovery and Muscle Building)
- BCAAs – During workout nutrition, BCAAs are basically low calorie muscle food! Take 5-10g BCAAs during your workout. They help increase muscle protein synthesis as well as aid in recovery. Great overall supplement.
- Creatine Monohydrate– Great supplement for building strength and muscle. Take 3-5g daily, it can be all at once or split up over two doses such as pre and post workout on training days. Creatine monohydrate is the most scientifically researched and backed form of creatine available. The biggest benefit of creatine monohydrate is the fact that it is cheaper than any other form of creatine plus has been shown to be more effective. There is no better value than creatine monohydrate.
- Pre Workout Supplement– When looking for a pre workout supplement look for a product that has stimulants such as caffeine to get you energized along with muscle builders beta alanine and creatine. If you are getting a 3-5g dose of creatine from your pre workout you do not need to supplement with extra creatine. However, most pre workout formulas do not have a substantial amount of creatine in them. Another thing to look for in a pre workout is Arginine or Arginine AKG. Arginine and N.O is what the product category was built around but there is not a lot of research to support its muscle building benefits. If a form of Arginine is included in your pre workout product of choice great but if not I wouldn’t worry about it.
– Fat loss
- Stimulant Fat Burner – A stimulant based fat burner works by up regulating your metabolic rate causing your body to burn more calories. They are not magic; you need to be on a calorie restricted diet along with a training plan conducive to fat loss for these to work. Look for a product that contains caffeine, yohimbe, green tea, or even small doses of ephedrine.
- Carnitine- Carnitine is a compound that is a combination of the amino acids lysine and methionine. It works as a fat burner by transporting fatty acids into the mitochondria of the cell where it can be used for energy. Carnitine provides muscle building benefits as well and is a great overall supplement. For extreme fat loss stack a thermogenic stimulant fat burner with Carnitine.
(Not Recommended) Fat Blockers- Fat blockers such as Chitosan work by binding to fat in the digestive track and not allowing them to be digested. In theory it allows one to consume high fat foods without them being absorbed into the body. I am not a proponent of this for a couple of different reasons. For one, I would rather just monitor my fat intake and provide my body with the healthy fat it needs and when it’s time for a cheat meal just eat a cheat meal and not worry about it. Secondly, there are some nasty side effects associated with these products such as anal leakage…need I say more.
– Vitamin C, Vitamin D, MCTs
The take home message when it comes to supplementation is to do your homework! Supplement companies want to try and sell you so it is your job to know what works!
Until next time
“One Dream, One Reality”