Let’s talk about intra workout. I know you like EAA’s there, but what else helps in building muscle?
First, let’s talk about why this period of time is special, then I’ll get into what else to use for max muscle growth.
I’m not sure who said this, it might have been Dan Duchaine but whoever it was, he was spot on… “Supplements don’t act like drugs, drugs act like drugs. The one exception to this rule is intra-workout. During this time, supplements can have drug-like effects.”
The reason is simple: Blood flow to the muscle is maximized, by some estimates, up to 400%.
Even better, the supplement industry has actually come up with a number of pretty cool products to maximize this window, from custom ratios of EAA’s to hydrolyzed proteins to high molecular weight modified starches.
So in addition to the EAA’s I’ve always spouted off about, these selectively tailored modified starches (or even plain dextrose) allows you to pull the trigger on the big gun – insulin.
Remember, insulin “pushes” things into muscle cells. Things like the all important EAA’s.
And after a muscle has undergone repeated stretching and contraction under load, it’s been primed to accept all these goodies – by some accounts up to 2 hours after a workout.
Going to be honest with you though, after much review of the literature and tons of trial and error, I now favor getting all this stuff immediately prior to and during training, vs. getting them after
There’s research supporting that of course, in one case protein synthesis rose 600% vs. 400% when the same dose of EAA’ was used pre workout vs. post.
400% still sounds like a lot and it is, but here’s how I look at it – why give up that 200% when you don’t have to? Now multiply that loss of 200% by dozens, hundreds and eventually thousands of workouts – it eventually becomes relevant, in my opinion.
Besides, I’m thirsty anyway during my workouts, and don’t want to wait, so I start my Synthagen/Karbolyn during warmups and down the rest between sets.
With that combo, I’m not only getting all the EAA’s I need (and in the most effective ratios) but I’m also using insulin to my advantage.
Now I know a lot of guys who use just EAA’s and that’s fine, but if maximizing muscle growth is your game a little insulin helps. Carbs are the easiest way to do it, but they’re not the only way.
If you still want to give your EAA’s a “push” into muscle cells and get the benefits of insulin, consider insulinogenic aminos like Leucine or Glutamine. Or an insulin mimetic, such as gram amounts of Taurine.
You may eventually arrive at the same place I did – a hybrid. Which is to say after getting my Synthagen/EAA’s etc I use just a small amount of carbohydrate (say, 20g vs. the usual 35 to 75), plus a few grams of Taurine.
That may or may not be necessary in your case, but at 52 I need to be careful with insulin. I want just enough to accelerate muscle growth, yet not so much that it adds to my waistline.
By the way, it doesn’t need to be Karbolyn, that’s just what I found best for me. You should experiment with everything from straight dextrose to home-made oatmeal blended to different consistencies. Everything from old fashioned oats straight from the can to a very fine powder you can create in your blender.
After getting your EAA’s, use various carbs or insulinogenic aminos (or combinations) to harness the power of insulin. I’m sure that ultimately after enough trial and error, one of these strategies will work for you.
It’s a very worthwhile (and rewarding) experience in my opinion.