Regular resistance exercise leads to significant skeletal muscle
hypertrophy, which can occur through an increase in protein synthesis,
a decrease in protein degradation, or both. While stimulus (i.e.,
exercise) is important for muscle hypertrophy, nutrient availability
plays a critical factor regulating the degree of hypertrophy.
Obviously, the muscle's hormonal milieu (insulin, cortisol,
testosterone, GH, etc.) also has a major impact on protein synthesis.
It is now clear that protein balance over the muscle remains negative
after resistance exercise when only carbs are ingested. In sharp
contrast, amino acid ingestion alone significantly increases muscle
protein anabolism after resistance exercise. However, consumption of
both amino acids and carbs results in much greater effects on muscle
protein synthesis, suggesting an interactive effect between insulin,
amino acids and resistance exercise.
New Study: Aminos + Carbs = Greatest Muscle Hypertrophy
A recent well-controlled study by Bird and colleagues examined the effects of chronic carb and/or essential
amino acid supplementation
on hormonal and muscular adaptations in untrained young men. All
subjects followed the same supervised, resistance training protocol two
times per week for 12 weeks. Following resistance exercise, the
subjects consumed either a high-glycemic carb (Gatorade), a essential
amino acid (6 grams), a combined high-glycemic carb + essential amino
acid supplement, or a placebo containing only aspartame and citrus
flavouring. As expected, the results revealed that carb +
amino acid supplementation
enhances muscular and hormonal adaptations to a greater extent than
either carb or amino acids consumed independently. Specifically, carb +
amino acid ingestion demonstrated the greatest relative increase in
type I muscle fiber cross sectional area. Changes in type II muscle
fibers exhipited a similar trend. Also, resistance training resulted in
similar decreases in body fat across all groups, suggesting that
post-exercise ingestion of high-glycemic carbs do not promote fat
From Theory to Practice
While the Bird study
indicated one should take in both carbs and amino acids after
resistance training, it must be clear that a 6 grams dose of amino
acids cannot be optimal for serious gym rats. Based on the best
available evidence, I would suggest that a
should contain at least the following ingredients:
1. Fast-acting hydrolyzed whey protein.
has been singled out as the ultimate source of protein based on an
excellent amino acid profile, i.e., it is very rich in essential amino
acids. However, you also want that these amino acids are absorbed as
rapidly as possible. So,
is the way to go. Extensively hydrolyzed (pre-digested) proteins
containing mostly di- and tripeptides are absorbed more rapidly than
free form amino acids and much more rapidly than intact (whole)
proteins. Protein hydrolysates produced from various sources showed
increased amino acid absorption when the propotion of di- and
tripeptides was increased. So, in order to maximize absoption rate, the
protein hydrolysate should contain mainly tri-
and tripeptides. Such a protein hydrolysate seems to produce the most
immediate hyperaminoacidemia. In other words, the use of a
protein hydrolysate in a post-exercise drink is preferred
because it results in a faster increase in blood amino acid
concentrations than does intact protein, and in turn the levels of
essential amino acids in the blood regulate muscle protein anabolism.
In addition, protein hydrolysate ingestion has a strong insulinotropic
2. Fact-acting high-glycemic carbs. High-glycemic carbs (e.g.,
maltodextrine, dextrose) further increase insulin secretion. Both
increased availability of amino acids and increased insulin are
important to maximize the muscle protein anabolism. Also, insulin
decreases post-exercise muscle inflammation and generation of harmful
reactive oxygen species. Furthermore, high-glycemic carbs boost
3. A extra dose of key amino acid
This branched-chain amino acid virtually acts as a nutrient signal to
stimulate muscle protein anabolism. Together with insulin, leucine
coordinates muscle protein synthesis following resistance exercise.
4. Creatine monohydrate.
can enhance muscle size and strenght responses to resistance training.
A mixture of whey hydrolysate-carbs-leucine induces a substantial
increase in blood insulin, which maximizes creatine transport into the
About 45 minutes later you should take in another meal to maximize post-exercise "anabolic window".
Read original article: Search for the Ultimate Post-Exercise Bodybuilding Supplements: the Anobolic Edge.
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