How to Optimize Your Anabolic Hormone Profile

In previous articles I presented some fantastic new research that should have drug-free bodybuilders embracing their barbell and dumbbells with delight! This research showed that muscle actually produces its own IGF-1 in response to weight training!

Intense resistance training, using maximum overload is particularly effective at producing the big squirts of IGF-1 into the system [1]. Maybe this is one reason why Max-OT training is so effective! Now, recent studies reveal that intense resistance training appears to be the all-important stimulus that rearranges IGF-1 binding proteins and turns inactive IGF-1 into active IGF-1.[1-3]

However, this modulation of IGF-1 proteins within muscle to create active IGF-1 does not peak until six to 12 hours after training [1]. Interestingly, this is just about the time muscle protein synthesis rates start to peak. The dilemma is how to capitalize on this IGF-1 production to maximize natural muscle growth.

There is scant research on this area of nutritional science, so I’ve had to dig deep and draw on some diverse areas in my application of the literature. However, if you’ve read my previous research articles you’ll see I have not been wrong so far. What I’m going to cover now is the nutritional strategies you need to implement to optimize your body’s anabolic hormone profile. First, remember these crucial points:

• Don’t drop your dietary fat intake too low, for too long. Athletes who consume diets ultra-low in fat (below 15% of total calorie content) probably have sub-optimal levels of circulating testosterone.

• The type of protein you consume is also important. Men who include red meat in their diets possess higher concentrations of free (active) testosterone.[4]

• Effective management of insulin appears to be all-important to prolonging the active life of IGF-1 production. Steady-state insulin levels are required for IGF and growth hormone (GH) to exert their maximum growth effects on muscle.[5]

• Once insulin levels are restored they must be kept steady within a narrow, physiological range for the rest of the day. If you do not, then that nice squirt of GH and IGF-1 you’ve produced during training will be short-lived.[6]

• IGF-1 is produced in a dose dependant fashion to protein intake [16]. So a high protein intake at all times is critical to IGF-1 production [17]. IGF-1 production is directly correlated to nitrogen balance [18]. That means, if you skip just one meal, IGF production will suffer.
Step-1 The bracketing method.

• Bracket your training session with VP2 Whey Isolate and Creatine HSC. Mix one serving of each supplement in 15-ounces of ice-cold water and consume before and immediately after training. There is a lot of evidence that demonstrates this simple strategy will more than triple the anabolic stimulus and turn that hard training into net gains in muscle.[7-10]

• Using a protein/carbohydrate liquid supplement at this time primes your hormonal profile for gains in lean mass.[7,11] It increases circulating IGF-1 levels and, if this procedure is followed after every session, the increases are substantial.[10]

• The best post-training carbohydrate source you can use is glucose. It restores insulin levels the quickest and produces better glycogen accumulation within muscle.[15] That’s why we include 34-grams of pure D-glucose in one serving of Creatine HSC.

• This small serving of glucose will work to effectively restore insulin levels and provide a much needed fuel for muscle recovery. These carbohydrates will not be converted to fat, they will enhance your results![13]

• It’s next to useless to take your VP2 without some form of carbohydrate after intense training. Several researchers have shown that when a whey protein supplement is consumed in the presence of low insulin levels (such as after training), a vast majority is directed toward energy restoration (oxidative) pathways and not building muscle.[9,14]
The bracketing method ensures that an abundant supply of amino acids gets directly to the exercised muscle after training, this is crucial to amplifying the anabolic response.[8] A surge of amino acids into blood amino acids at this time creates a super-compensation effect, and muscle cells are crammed-full of growth stimulating amino acids.[8] The only protein with the absorption kinetics to do this is VP2 Whey Isolate. Try using any other protein for this bracketing approach and all you’ll get is nauseous.

The short chain protein peptides in VP2 Whey Isolate are ideal – they deliver more nitrogen, faster to muscle than other proteins. VP2 is 30% peptide bound branch chain amino acids. High dose branch chain amino acids are also shown to be anabolic hormone optimizers.[7]

If you are preparing for a contest and are limiting your calorie intake, simply adjust the serving size of each supplement to fit-in with your calorie requirements.

Step-2 Meal-2

That post-training VP2/HSC liquid meal will flood the bloodstream with growth-stimulating glucose and amino acids and restore insulin levels. That’s good! However, because of VP2′s rapid absorption kinetics and glucose’s impact on insulin, this anabolic effect will disappear quickly if another meal is not consumed within 20-30 minutes after training.

• A carbohydrate that is slightly lower in glycemic index (a rating of 60-90) and low in fiber and fat is required for the next meal. A small serving of baked potato, steamed white rice or pasta is an excellent choice.

• Combine this with a low fat protein such as tuna, chicken or egg whites. This small protein/carbohydrate meal will prevent the drastic drop in blood sugar and insulin levels that glucose consumption creates.[13]

• A lot of bodybuilders use the post-workout meal as an excuse to “pig out” on junk foods such as burgers, fries or pizza. Don’t. Nutrients wrapped in fat are absorbed too slowly for this crucial period. They short-circuit your chance for optimal uptake of nutrients by hungry muscles.

• For the post-training period we’re specifically after rapid absorption, which means low fiber and fat.
Step-3 Meal-3

The selection of the nutritional material for this next meal is critical. Net gains in muscle mass appear to be a product of inhibiting protein breakdown while stimulating protein synthesis rates. Muscle breakdown rates are accelerated for many hours after intense training – if left unchecked they will override synthesis rates, and net gains in muscle will be zero.[10]

This next meal must be effective in preventing prolonged muscle breakdown, while enhancing anabolism and keeping insulin levels rock-steady. You can easily meet all these requirements and set the stage for optimal gains simply by consuming one serving of Ny-Tro PRO-40 soon after this solid-food meal.

• Research now shows that different proteins have different absorption rates, and they have a distinctly different impact on whole body protein metabolism.[14]

• Whey and casein are the major milk proteins, and they vary greatly in their ability to present amino acids to muscle and other tissue. The consumption of whey and casein-based proteins have an entirely different impact on protein dynamics (proteolysis/synthesis) and whole body protein retention.[14]

• Using state of the art amino acid tracer techniques, research shows a 30-gram dose of whey protein causes a large, rapid increase in amino acid availability (plasma aminoacidemia) that stimulates a dramatic increase in protein synthesis rates (that’s why you use VP2 before and after immediately after training). However, it appears that whey protein has zero impact on preventing protein breakdown.[9,14]

• Casein is much slower absorbing and does not produce a dramatic response in protein synthesis rates. However, because casein provides slower release of amino acids into the bloodstream, it provides a more constant uptake by tissues and inhibits protein breakdown much better than whey. This ability of casein to inhibit of protein breakdown results in a more efficient utilization of amino acids.

• Ny-Tro Pro-40 is a precision blend of slower releasing (casein-based) proteins, that will effectively halt muscle breakdown and provide a constant source of amino acids to muscle. (That’s why you need to take one serving within the hour after training.)

• Supplementing with VP2 Whey Isolate first and then Ny-Tro Pro-40 within the hour after intense training provides a potent anabolic stimulating effect along with effective inhibition of protein breakdown. This is the ideal protein selection.
Step-4 Meal-4

Research has shown that nutrient transport to the exercised muscle is tremendously accelerated for up to three-hours post training. Capitalize on this by consuming another small, solid food meal (similar to the first), and take another serving of VP2.

Remember, for this period we’re specifically after rapid assimilation – this means food choices that are low in fiber and fat. A neat trick I instruct athletes who are unaccustomed to this style of eating is to simply split their regular post-workout meal into two portions.

Eat one-half within 30 minutes after training (after the VP2/carbohydrate drink) and the other meal (meal-4) two-hours later. Your previous meals have raised insulin levels so mix your VP2 and Micronized Creatine in ice-cold water. The practical application.

• Don’t drop your dietary fat intake too low. This will impair testosterone production.

• Include red meat in your diet to provide high concentrations of free (active) testosterone.
If you train at 6:30 AM your nutritional program should look like this:

• 6:00 AM. Consume your first VP2 Whey Isolate and Creatine HSC shake.

• 7:15 AM. Consume your second VP2 Whey Isolate and Creatine HSC shake. Use 15-ounces of cold water for these shakes.

• 7:45 AM. Consume your first small solid food meal. Remember, this meal should contain some carbohydrate and some protein and minimal fiber. An egg white omelette with white rice mixed in, is an ideal choice.

• 8:15 AM. While driving to work, sip on your Ny-Tro Pro-40 shake.

• 9:45 AM. You should be thinking about your next solid food meal. Lucky you were clever enough to cut that omelette in half and take it with you in a container. Go nuke-it in the staff room microwave and add some chill sauce!

• Don’t forget to wash it down with your second serving of VP2. Even in plain old water this protein tastes fantastic.

• This is also a great time to take other supplements like NAC 500, R-ALA 200, GL3 L-Glutamine and MultiPro 32X.
No matter how busy your day gets, make sure you take time to optimize your nutrition within the hours after a workout. These hours appear to make or break your results from all those jaw-clenching, teeth-grinding hours spent in the gym.

References:

1. Carroll PV, Christ ER, Umpleby AM, et al. Diabetes, 49(5):789-96,2000.
2. Zachwieja JJ, Yarasheski KE. Phys Ther. 79(1):76-82,1999.
3. Bamman MM, et al. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab. 280:E383-E390, 2001.
4. Hameed M, Harridge DR, Goldspink G. Exerci. Sport Sci Rev. 30:1;15-19, 2002.
5. Endocrine Control of Growth, New York:Elsevier,1981.
6. Tillmann V, Patel L, Gill MS, et al. Clin Endocrinol.53(3):329-336,2000.
7. Kraemer WJ, Volek JS, Bush JA, et al. J.Appl.Physiol.85(4) 1544-1555,1998.
8. Precision Supplement Timing – Part 4: Maximize Muscle Growth With Precise Timing of Supplementation.
9. Rasmussen BB, Tipton KD, Miller SL, et al. J Appl Physiol. 88(2) p386-92, 2000.
10. Wolfe RR. Protein supplements and exercise. Am.J.Clin. Nutr.72;2(2):551S-557S, 2000.
11. Chandler RM; Byrne HK; Patterson JG; Ivy JL. J Appl Physiol.76(2):839-45, 1994.
12. Volek JS, et al. Med. Sci. Sports Exerci. S182. Vol 30. 2000.
13. Brand Miller J, Foster-Powell K, Colagiuri S, Leeds A. The GI factor. Hodder Publishing 1998.
14. Dangin M et al. Am J. Physiol 280:E340-348, 2001.
15. Bowtell JL, et al. J.App Physiol. 88:5;1529-1536, 2000.
16. Maes M, et al. Acta Endocrinol. 117:320-326, 1988
17. Yahya Z, et al. J. Endocrinol. S71, 1987
18. Clemmons DR. Metabolism 34:391-395, 1983.


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