New studies reveal the most effective way to intensify the anabolic response of each and every workout.

The research on carbohydrate intake and weight lifting shows that the consumption of a carbohydrate supplement just before (or during) an intense workout can save valuable muscle glycogen stores from complete depletion, as well as enhance total lifting capacity during the workout. [15,16] While training without using a carb supplement before weight training results in muscle carb depletion, and poor weight training performance [14], supplementing just before or during training, results in only a 13.7% decrease in muscle glycogen content and more weight lifted, for more reps in every working set![16-18]

A carbohydrate supplement consumed immediately before or after weight training is shown to directly affect the hormonal response. Taken before training, a carb supplement will maintain blood sugar levels, and restore insulin levels. The presence of insulin is vital for stimulating muscle protein synthesis rates. [19] A carb supplement taken immediately after training increases insulin concentration while decreasing 3-methylhistidine and urea nitrogen excretion (all examples of reduced muscle breakdown).[20]

So far, the researchers at the University of Texas Medical Branch had showed that weight training dramatically stimulates muscle protein synthesis rates (50% above resting levels).[5] The addition of a protein supplement accelerated these rates even further (up to 100% better).[7] Then these scientists demonstrated that supplementing with the essential amino acids and 35 grams of glucose stimulated muscle building rates by up to 400%![13] This is triple resting rates and the highest muscle protein synthesis rates ever recorded.

However, probably even more important was the finding in another study by these scientists that the same supplement combination caused a response just as potent if taken just before a workout.[12]

Since then, the advantages of post-workout protein/carbohydrate supplementation have come flooding through. Consuming a protein/carbohydrate supplement immediately after training restores insulin levels, increases muscle protein and glycogen content, amplifies the anabolic response of resistance training.[3,4, 11-15]

5. Phillips SM., KD Tipton, A Aarsland, SE Wolf, and RR Wolfe. Mixed muscle protein synthesis and breakdown after resistance exercise in humans. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 273; 36: E99-E107, 1997.
7. Tipton KD, Ferrando AA, Phillips SM, Doyle D, Jr, and Wolfe RR. Postexercise net protein synthesis in human muscle from orally administered amino acids. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 276: E628-E634, 1999.
12. Tipton, KD, Rasmussen BB, Miller SL, Wolf SE, Owens-Stovall SK, Petrini BE, and Wolfe RR. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 281: E197-E206, 2001.
13. Rasmussen BB, Tipton KD, Miller SL, Wolf SE, and Wolfe RR. An oral essential amino acid-carbohydrate supplement enhances muscle protein anabolism after resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol 88: 386-392, 2000.
14. Leveritt, M., and P.J. Abernethy. Effects of carbohydrate restriction on strength performance. J. Strength Cond. Res. 13:52–57. 1999.
15. Hakkinen, K., A. Pakarinen, M. Alen, H. Kauhanen, and P.V. Komi. Daily hormonal and neuromuscular responses to intensive strength training in 1 week. Int. J. Sports Med. 9:422–428. 1988.
16. Lambert, C.P., M.G. Flynn, J.B. Boone, T.J. Michaud, and J. Rodriguez-Zayas. Effects of carbohydrate feeding on multiple-bout resistance exercise. J. Appl. Sport Sci. Res. 5:192–197. 1991.
17. Haff, G.G., C.A. Schroeder, A.J. Koch, K.E. Kuphal, M.J. Comeau, and J.A. Potteiger. The effects of supplemental carbohydrate ingestion on intermittent isokinetic leg exercise. J. Sports Med. Phys. Fitness. 41:216–222. 2001.
18. 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.
19. 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.
20. 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.