We know that you gotta eat plenty of protein, healthy fats, and unprocessed carbs if you want to gain muscle. But did you know that when you eat is critical to promoting muscle gains? Yes, the dimension of time is part of the new science known as nutrient timing. Gain muscle. Lose fat. And do it at the right time. If you learn to use the clock, it’ll jump start you past than plateau that has been sitting on your shoulder like the proverbial 800 lb gorilla.
When folks ask me what can one do, that’s simple, doesn’t require major changes in lifestyle, that will also help recovery from exercise and promote muscle growth, I answer, take care of your body immediately after exercise. That is, consume a carbohydrate-protein shake right afterwards. Don’t wait 30 minutes; don’t wait 2 hours; consume nutrients once your done. No ifs, ands, or buts.
100 calories is the minimum
Some folks say they can’t eat after training. They’re not hungry; they’re not this; they’re not that. Fooey. You gotta eat! And you know what? As little as 100 calories will help. And here’s the proof.1 A recent study took healthy male US Marine recruits from six platoons and they were supplemented immediately post-exercise during the 54-days of basic training. They received either placebo (0 g carbohydrate, 0 g protein, 0 g fat), control (8, 0, 3), or protein supplement (8, 10, 3). You don’t have to be a math whiz to see that they’re not consuming a lot calories post-exercise; it’s about 100 calories (in the protein group anyhow).
Compared with placebo and control groups, the protein-supplemented group had an average of 33% fewer total medical visits, 28% fewer visits due to bacterial/viral infections, 37% fewer visits due to muscle/joint problems, and 83% fewer visits due to heat exhaustion. Recruits experiencing heat exhaustion had greater body mass, lean, fat, and water losses. Muscle soreness immediately post-exercise was reduced by protein supplementation vs. placebo and control groups on both days 34 and 54.1 What did these fine young scientists conclude? “Postexercise protein supplementation may not only enhance muscle protein deposition but it also has significant potential to positively impact health, muscle soreness, and tissue hydration during prolonged intense exercise training, suggesting a potential therapeutic approach for the prevention of health problems in severely stressed exercising populations.”
Another study compared immediate (P0) or delayed (P2) intake of an oral protein supplement on muscle hypertrophy and strength over a 12-week period of resistance training in elderly males. 2 Thirteen older men (age 74) lifted weights 3 times per week and received oral protein in liquid form (10 g protein, 7 g carbohydrate, 3 g fat) or immediately after (P0) or 2 h after (P2) each training session. They found that muscle growth was much better in the P0 group versus the P2 group. In fact, the size of the quads was 7% larger in the group that took the supplement immediately after exercise versus no change in the group that waited 2 hours to consume the supplement. The science guys concluded that “early intake of an oral protein supplement after resistance training is important for the development of hypertrophy in skeletal muscle of elderly men in response to resistance training.”2
Non-essential amino acids are not needed
Here’s an interesting tidbit. Consuming just the essential amino acids (EAA) is enough to promote significant muscle protein synthesis. One study showed that net balance of protein was similar for mixed amino acids (combination of essential and non-essential aminos) and EAA; and thus, it does not appear necessary to include nonessential amino acids in a formulation designed to elicit an anabolic response from muscle after exercise. From a practical standpoint, this would mean that whole protein foods (e.g. beef) would be inferior (if you did a pound for pound comparison) to consuming the essential amino acids (see Table 1 for list of EAA).3 But to make up for it, we’d suggest you consume twice as much whey for every gram of EAAs.
The Essential Amino Acids
- Methionine (and/or cysteine)
- Phenylalanine (and/or tyrosine)
So what’s the moral of the story? If it ain’t as clear as the Montana sky, then your IQ is somewhere between an avocado and a goldfish. You must. I repeat. You must consume something immediately post-workout. Here’s why:
- The Restoration of Electrolytes and Water – you need to maintain a hydrated state to optimize protein synthesis.
- The Rapid Replenishment of Skeletal Muscle Glycogen Stores – you need to replace muscle fuel.
- The Provision of Amino Acids and/or high quality dietary Protein to Aid Muscle Protein Synthesis and Accretion – you need to repair and promote the growth of muscle fibers! Whey and casein have an abundance of the essential amino acids.
The formula - VPX’s Stealth fits the bill and more. Stealth has whey and casein protein hydrolysates are the most anabolic proteins known to man and enter the blood rapidly causing a massive spike in insulin -- the most anabolic of all hormones including growth hormone and testosterone. These fractionated whey and casein di- and tri-peptides have an insulinotrophic effect that forces amino acid transport into muscles to induce rapid growth. Furthermore, this unique combination of fast and slow proteins provides an instant anabolic kick followed by a slow trickle of amino acids for anti-catabolic muscle breakdown prevention. Coupled with these superlative proteins are cutting edge creatine nitrate, COP™ (Creatinol-O-Phosphate) and creatine leucinate to drive muscle strength and muscle growth through the stratosphere. Research shows that these compounds can activate satellite cells, enhance myofibrillar protein synthesis, and top off phosphagen energy concentrations in muscle. Specialized unsaturated fats are utilized for superior muscle cell membrane integrity along with high molecular weight polymers for glycogen super-compensation. VPX’s STEALTH™ is the superior muscle mass builder that is perfect to lay down slabs of mind-blowing mass.
- Flakoll PJ, Judy T, Flinn K, Carr C, Flinn S. Postexercise protein supplementation improves health and muscle soreness during basic military training in marine recruits. J Appl Physiol. Mar 2004;96(3):951-956.
- Esmarck B, Andersen JL, Olsen S, Richter EA, Mizuno M, Kjaer M. Timing of postexercise protein intake is important for muscle hypertrophy with resistance training in elderly humans. J Physiol. Aug 15 2001;535(Pt 1):301-311.
- Tipton KD, Ferrando AA, Phillips SM, Doyle D, Jr., Wolfe RR. Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids. Am J Physiol. Apr 1999;276(4 Pt 1):E628-634.