Taking supplements is
both a science and an art. The science involves knowing what the
supplements do, how they might benefit you under certain conditions, and
providing possible dosages and times that will theoretically maximize
their effects. The art involves finding out just what works for you and
in customizing these supplements for your own needs and metabolism.
The bottom line is to
try out potentially useful supplements and determine if the benefits are
worth the cost. Experiment with various combinations under different
conditions, keeping such variables as diet and training relatively
constant so you can determine the effects of the supplements by
Various studies report
that certain supplements can have anabolic and anticatabolic effects.
For examples. the use of branched-chain amino acids (BCAAs: leucine,
isoleucine, valine) before workout increases insulin secretion and
decreases the drop in testosterone both during and after exercise.
Athletes who use a complete amino acid mixture, hydrolysate or even a
whole protein supplement before working out still run into declining
testosterone levels as they train and after the workout. The use of
BCAAs before training counteracts this.
Yet the use of BCAAs
blunts the growth-hormone response during training and decreases the
formation of IGF-1. While this might have catabolic effects, the
relatively increased levels of testosterone would likely overshadow this
effect. Nonetheless, if GH and IGF-1 could be made to increase along
with testosterone and insulin, the overall anabolic effect of exercise
could be maximized.
So how can an
bodybuilder get all the hormones working together? First, use an amino
acid and protein stack as follows: Increase your daily protein intake to
at least 1.5 grams of protein a meal within a few hours before working
out, and especially don't take in any carbohydrates to avoid an insulin
Between a half-hour
and an hour before training, take in 5 grams of glutamine, 5 grams of
alanine, 5 grams of leucine and 5 grams of arginine, either in powdered
form or mixed with water or other no caloric drink. We recommend 50mcg
chromium and 1 gram Vitamin C. Also consider using other antioxidants
such as Vitamin E, selenium, beta-carotene and zinc, and magnesium,
potassium, folic acid and calcium either before workouts or in 2-3 daily
Taking too many
supplements before working out might cause stomach upset, so we'd use the
amino acids, chromium and Vitamin C first, introducing any other
supplements as tolerated.
Right after training,
take in about 20 grams of protein in the form of both free amino acids
and a protein hydrolysate that has an abundance of di- and tripeptides.
Don't take in any carbohydrates - they'll slow the absorption of the
protein and decrease GH levels. The use of the full-spectrum free-form
amino acids with a well-hydrolyzed protein supplement will get needed
amino acids into the system the quickest and will increase insulin to
some extent without affecting the elevated GH levels. Along with the 20
grams of this protein, take 5 grams of glutamine to further increase
insulin, GH and testosterone levels, and to counteract the
immune-suppressant effects of intense exercise. These recommendations
are based on an individual weighing between 150 and 250 pounds. That
appears to be quite a range, but considering that many supplements are
relatively inactive until a threshold dosage is administered, the
suggested amounts are intended to "turn up" a process that is determined
more by physical chemistry than by physical size.
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