I receive so many questions regarding so many different aspects of training, nutrition, and supplementation on a daily basis that it’s hard to keep up with them.
Not just through the 1st Phorm community, but in day to day life; from family, friends, and people I see and meet at the gym.
One thing that stands out to me is how many people concern themselves with tiny details of nutrition and supplementation and yet overlook the core, foundational things that really work.
All the quick-fix marketing out there makes it really hard for a person to filter through the bullshit and get real results … which is what we all ultimately want!
I get asked so many ridiculous questions daily, about every product you can imagine. I get asked about this mineral or that vitamin or this “new” pre-workout powder.
It makes me realize how many people out there are truly looking for that “quick fix” or “secret” to results in the gym, and are overlooking the strategies that truly produce results.
They want it now and they think that the latest, greatest “secret” will give it to them. It’s not their fault; typical supplement marketing beats this message in their head over and over and over again. And I have been in their shoes before!
Because of this, the reality of what works gets overlooked or lost in the shuffle and people just end up jumping from product to product without really ever truly understanding what they are trying to accomplish. (yup, been there too)
They end up frustrated and pissed off because no matter what they do, the results are mediocre at best … and again, I’ve been there too!
If this is you, and you are tired of flip-flopping products for mediocrity and you truly want to improve your results … pay attention.
Because what I’m about to tell you can help speed up your results when it comes to building quality muscle and burning fat.
This is not “new” information by any means; it is just highly overlooked when it comes to what truly works.
Let me get right down to the nuts and bolts of post-workout nutrition.
First, we need to understand that when you are lifting or doing resistance training, you are not actually “building” muscle, which can help you "tone-up", or burn a bunch of fat.
What you are really doing is:
1) Creating microscopic tears in the muscle fiber called micro-trauma (These tears are what will be rebuilt while you are resting, to create larger, stronger muscles). Basically, you are breaking down the muscle tissue on purpose.
2) Severely depleting your glycogen stores.
Glycogen is your body’s carbohydrate stores that are primarily in the muscle, and used for energy during training, activity or sport; it’s your onboard energy source. This is similar to burning fuel from your gas tank in your car or truck.
When you finish training, your body has two distinct tasks to accomplish:
1) Replenish your glycogen stores.
2) Repair the micro-trauma in your muscle cells.(1)
Your body will accomplish the aforementioned tasks in that order, as it will always choose to replenish glycogen stores BEFORE repairing the micro-trauma; that’s just how the human body is programmed.
Your body instinctively has its own set of priorities, and having stored energy is essential for survival, whereas looking good or really even reaching your goals is not. There is no way to get around it and no supplement on the face of the planet that can “re-program” your body or genetics to operate any other way.
This means that when you are drinking your protein powder after you workout, when your body is starving for glycogen, there is a good chance that some portion of the protein you drink will start to be inefficiently broken down, go through a process called gluconeogenesis and stored as glycogen instead of being used for muscle recovery, as it is intended.
It doesn't matter how good or expensive your protein is ... consuming a simple carbohydrate can help optimize recovery better than a protein powder by itself.
In addition, glucose is the simplest form of carbohydrates, and is exactly what your body needs to replenish muscle glycogen.
If you don’t give your body that glucose; your body will make it, but that is a slower process that delays recovery and can short-change your results.
What most people don’t realize is that when you leave the gym, your body doesn’t know you’re done training ... so it may continue to break down muscle tissue for hours. It has no way of knowing that you stopped working out and therefore, should begin the recovery process. Once your muscles are in a catabolic state (state of breakdown), it continues … until YOU stop it.
It’s your job to stop this process and to get moving in the other direction in order to create a highly anabolic (muscle building) environment in your body.
This can be done with a spike in insulin and by stimulating muscle protein synthesis. (2)
So, when we are done training, it can be very beneficial for speeding up recovery to spike insulin and halt the breakdown process.
Insulin is essentially a transport hormone that tells the body it is ready to begin the repair process by delivering nutrients where they need to go. A spike in insulin will halt the catabolic process of our muscles and open amino acid receptors in the damaged muscle tissue in order for the repair and recovery processes to begin.
A rapid assimilating whey protein will give you enough of an insulin spike to stop the catabolic process known as muscle protein breakdown.
However, when your body is in a glycogen-depleted state, glucose is what your body needs. It will take any form of carbohydrate (or protein) and eventually break it down to glucose in order to get what it needs. The problem is ... “Eventually” means wasted time and can lead to slower recovery and results.
Not only does supplying your body with carbohydrates other than actual glucose waste valuable time, but by giving your body glucose, you are essentially killing two birds with one stone.
You are creating an insulin spike and giving your body the nutrition it needs to replenish the glycogen stores you depleted in your workout. This way, your body can begin rebuilding damaged muscles quickly! Without a strong serving of glucose, it can take your body much longer to replenish your glycogen stores and kick the muscle recovery process into full speed.
This is part of the reason why it’s a good idea to give your body the glucose right alongside your protein immediately post-workout, so that it can start the glycogen replenishment and muscle recovery processes simultaneously and very quickly. (3,4)
By consuming glucose with your protein post-workout, you are giving your body exactly what it needs to get the job done. The glucose will cause a greater insulin spike than the protein would alone, which will in-turn put a halt to the catabolic process of breaking down your muscle, while at the same time opening your amino acid receptors in the muscle and delivering the nutrients exactly where they need to go.
The glucose gets delivered and stored in your body as glycogen and the amino acids from the protein are delivered into the muscle cell for muscle repair.
This is one of the most important things to understand when it comes to getting the best benefits from weight/resistance training.
If it was a little confusing the first time you read it, it'd be a good idea to go back and read it all again ... because understanding post-workout nutrition can help you improve your results!
This is specifically what Ignition, our signature post-workout carbs supplement, was formulated for.
Ignition (Dextrose Monohydrate) is a powder you can use post-workout. Ignition contains the highest quality, fastest absorbing carbohydrates known to man and is also one of the highest glycemic carbohydrate source available. Plus it also has a water-soluble vitamin blend.
I still remember the first time I used Ignition with my Phormula-1 and how much better I felt!
Right away I felt refreshed and energized after a super hard workout, then I noticed I was not as sore the next morning, and even had more energy and felt better than normal in the gym the next day!
However, you don’t want to take Ignition alone. You want to take it with a rapid assimilation protein so that you can take advantage of the open amino acid receptors on the damaged muscle fiber for repair and growth.
There is a very specific type of protein that is ideal to be used to help with proper nutrient-timing. Post-workout, it is a great idea to use a hydrolyzed whey isolate rather than a whey concentrate or whey blend. Allow me to explain.
A low-temperature processed, hydrolyzed (pre-digested) whey isolate is a super-fast absorbing protein that breaks down and assimilates very quickly ... much faster than a whole food protein source!
Regular whey isolate and concentrate blends, sometimes called a sustained assimilation protein, can take longer (sometimes even a few hours) to digest, depending on the specific protein ratios used.
Using a fast-absorbing protein immediately post-workout along with Ignition allows you to take advantage of the insulin spike that Ignition creates.
This way, you will have insulin that is ready to deliver nutrients to the cells, and a lot of amino acid receptors that are ready to receive amino acids, which are the building blocks of protein. Because of the timing, you’ll want to use a protein that is ready to be delivered quickly and effectively.
As mentioned previously, insulin is a hormone that opens the doors to your muscle cells, so the protein/amino acids have to be present at that specific time when they are open to being received by the damaged muscle fiber.
If you are using a sustained assimilation protein, some of the amino acids won’t arrive for a few hours ... which can keep you from maximizing recovery.
“So, what protein do you recommend for this?”
Phormula-1. Phormula-1 was formulated specifically to work in tandem with Ignition for improving recovery and muscle tissue repair after periods of moderate or intense training.
In addition to being a high quality protein, Phormula-1 mixes easily and quickly in water and tastes great!
I really can’t stress enough how much of a difference replacing my old post workout with this combo made for me and how much it can help you too!
Proper post workout nutrition is where it’s at ... and from a supplement standpoint, it can help speed up your results!
Like I said earlier; this is undoubtedly one of the most important concepts to understand when it comes to getting the greatest benefits from weight/resistance training.
- Jacobs, I., P. Kaiser, and P. Tesch. Muscle strength and fatigue after selective glycogen depletion in human skeletal muscle fibers. Eur. J. Appl. Physiol. 46:47–53. 1981.
- Chandler, R.M., H.K. Byrne, J.G. Patterson, and J.L. Ivy. Dietary supplements affect the anabolic hormones after weight-training exercise. J. Appl. Physiol. 76:839–845. 1994.
- Biolo G., BD Williams, RY Declan Fleming and RR Wolfe. Insulin action on muscle protein kinetics and amino acid transport during recovery after resistance training. Diabetes 48: 949-957, 1999.
- Ivy, J.L., A.L. Katz, C.L. Cutler, W.M. Sherman, and E.F. Coyle. Muscle glycogen synthesis after exercise: Effect of time of carbohydrate ingestion. J. Appl. Physiol. 64:1480–1485. 1988.
- Kraemer, W.J., J.S. Volek, J.A. Bush, M. Putukian, and W.J. Sebastianelli. Hormonal responses to consecutive days of heavy-resistance exercise with or without nutritional supplementation. J. Appl. Physiol. 85:1544–1555. 1998.
- Haff, G.G., M.H. Stone, B.J. Warren, R. Keith, R.L. Johnson, D.C. Nieman, F. Williams, and K.B. Kirksey. The effect of carbohydrate supplementation on multiple sessions and bouts of resistance exercise. J. Strength Cond. Res. 13:111–117. 1999.
- Bowtell JL, K. Gelly, ML Jackman, A Patel, M. Simeoni, and M. J. Rennie Effect of different carbohydrate drinks on whole body carbohydrate storage after exhaustive exercise. J Appl Physiol 88: 1529-1536, 2000.
- Roy, B.D., M.A. Tarnopolsky, J.D. MacDougall, J. Fowles, and K.E. Yarasheski. Effect of glucose supplement timing on protein metabolism after resistance training. J. Appl. Physiol. 82:1882–1888. 1997.