The Secret to Building Muscle Part II

Last week we spoke about High Meal Frequency and the benefits it has with building muscle. However, there is a 2nd part to building muscle...........INSULIN.

Insulin used to be a word that was only mentioned when referring to Diabetes. However, today it is being used more frequently by bodybuilders and those alike. Fortunately,  I do have a special certification on Diabetes and Insulin as it pertains to fitness. I believe it is important to know where your getting your information from and don't believe everything you read on the web. This doesn't mean, by any means, that I think I know it all when it comes to this topic. I am always learning new material when it comes to science; things are always changing. 

What is Insulin?

Insulin is the hormone that drives glucose out of the bloodstream and into cells, and diabetes is the loss of the ability to control blood glucose levels. Yet insulin is so much more than a hormone that controls glucose. For one, it's highly anabolic, which means it's critical for building muscle. However, if not used properly insulin will increase fat storage. this is why it is important to spike insulin in order to recover properly from your workouts and  decrease it to stay lean. 

How does Insulin work?

Since Insulin is a protein, and it is produced and released by the pancreas whenever you eat carbs, protein, or both. (That is, if your not Diabetic). Yet unlike the proteins that are the physical building blocks of muscle, this is a functional protein, much like growth hormone. From the pancreas it enters into the muscle. Once the insulin is inside the muscle, it signals for the muscle tissue to open up allowing creatine, glucose and amino acids to enter. This is why its so important to build muscle. It also decreases the breakdown of muscle. 

It causes blood vessels to relax and dilate, allowing greater blood flow to the muscles. By increasing blood flow, insulin can help get even more nutrients like glucose and amino acids to the muscles. This is why you'll see bodybuilders pounding simple carbs on contest day. Not only does the corresponding spike in insulin drive the carbs into the muscles to keep them full, it also boosts vascularity.

6 steps to use Insulin to build Muscle:

We know what insulin is and how it works, so now it is time to put this knowledge to the test with the 6 steps. 

1. Know the GI (Glycemic Index) of the carbs your eating. The glycemic index refers to how fast the carbs in the food end up as glucose in your blood stream. In order to build muscle you want to have HIGH GI  post workout! 

2. Keep GI low throughout the day! Especially pre-workout because you will lose your energy quickly if you have a high GI carb. 

3. 2 times a day to go high GI: Post Workout & Right when you wake up. When you wake up, you have just endured a solid 6-8 hours of fasting. That has caused your muscle and liver glycogen (the storage form of carbs in the body) to drop. This drop in glycogen signals your body to tear down muscle tissue for fuel. Taking in about 20-40 grams of fast-digesting carbs as soon as you get out of bed will boost insulin and quickly restock your glycogen levels and stop the muscle onslaught.

4. Have your protein too! Research confirms that when you take high GI carbs along with fast-digesting protein, such as whey, after workouts, insulin levels soar even higher than when just high GI carbs are consumed.

5: Take supplements that enhance Insulin Spikes. Some supplements can enhance or mimic insulin's effects at the muscle cells, which can help you to get the most out of your post-workout rise. Two of the most prominent of these are Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA), and Cinnulin-PF.