Macronutrients, Muscle and Metabolism
A belated Happy New Year to all Perform and Function followers. Sorry for the tardiness of this 2014 article, but I’m sure you’ll appreciate that what with the Six Nations and the hectic Premiership Christmas schedule, this time of year really represents the business-end of the sporting calendar.
So, this research review will sum up current views and recent findings over training-adaptation. Team sports players players must train for strength, for size, for endurance, and explosive power; so I will cast a critical eye over the nutritional strategies that are being used to get these different types of fitness. We train, we recover, we adapt – but how can we maximise this process and get the most from our training? It depends what type of training your doing and what your goals are, so think about eating for performance, and eating for functionality…
• Carbohydrate and protein needs to enhance cardiovascular fitness: The current state of depleted-state strategies…
o Depleted state protein needed for endurance
o Depleted state helps AMPK, but mechanism not clear
o Carb mouth rinse effects on endurance/sprints
• Postulations over protein: protein requirements for strength training, recovery
o Carb not needed for muscle
o Hormones questioned in hypertrophy
o Protein helps/doesn’t help glycogen replenishment for endurance
o Timing – creatine after better than before
Carbohydrate and protein needs to enhance cardiovascular fitness: The current state of depleted-state strategies, looking over the past few years
More and more studies are emerging on the effects of training with low carbohydrate stores. In addition, more evidence means a greater ability to look over the existing science and make valid conclusions on what’s effective. The rationale of “train low compete high” originally focused around the idea that by causing short-term pain (by training fasted, or by deliberately depleting your fuel for training by exercising twice in a day) we can bring about long term gain (increased endurance). However, although this theory is proving to have a very real scientific basis, it is also continuing to throw up more questions. Although depleted-state training seems to improve measures of cardiovascular fitness, training low to compete high has yet to translate onto actual performance gains over other strategies in controlled trials. The mechanisms by which this strategy works are still unclear. So… what do we know?
A good summary for the evidence has recently been done by two of the real authorities in this area at the end of last year; James Morton and John Hawley.
Hawley and Morton (2013); Ramping up the signal: Promoting endurance training adaptation in skeletal muscle by nutritional manipulation; Proceedings of the Australian Physiological Society 44:2013-07
To sum it up, exercising with low carbohydrate stores (e.g. by training twice a day, or by training before breakfast after a previous day’s exercise) increases chemical signals in exercising muscle that release energy. Training regimes that use this principle result in more enzymes involved on aerobic energy production – theoretically making you more of an endurance-machine. More importantly, it also increases the number of mitochondria in your muscles. These are the energy-releasing power-stations of your muscles. Now… you’ll have heard me say this an innumerable number of times, but protein is priceless! Even for endurance training. Not only does protein help prevent muscular breakdown when training in a low-energy state (), but protein is needed to create new structures – not just muscle, but mitochondria too. A study from last year assessed whether the impact of low-carb training was just due to a low-energy (calorie) intake, and whether consuming protein could meddle with the mechanism by introducing more energy. It didn’t…
Taylor et al., (2013) Protein ingestion does not impair exercise-induced AMPK signalling when in a glycogen depleted state: implications for train-low compete-high; Eur J Appl Physiol 113:1457–1468
This study was conducted on ten recreational male cyclists in a randomised, double-blind, cross-over and counterbalanced design. Previous studies have shown that training with sports drinks seems to blunt the chemical signals needed to get fitter, so to ascertain the impact of protein-calories, the cyclists were trained, given insufficient carb recovery, then trained again the next day with or without protein. After glycogen depleting exercise, participants were deliberately only provided with a low-carbohydrate meal (<50g).
• Participants ingested on one occasion a total of 20 g (casein) protein prior to exercise, 10 g during exercise and a further 20 g immediately post-exercise.
• In the other trial (randomised in time –sometimes the first, or sometimes the second trial) the consumed placebo.
• This study looked at the activation of a molecule called AMPK; this is known to control fitness adaptations impacting on fatty acid oxidation in particular
• AMPK activation is also linked to increases in mitochondrial biogenesis
• In addition, they looked at the protein eEF2, responsible for allowing/repressing protein synthesis.
• Exercising with protein had no effect on low-energy AMPK signals that can help fitness gains
• However, it seemed to better activate the muscle-maintaining eEF2 protein
• Although AMPK was seen to be switched on by depleted state training, there is some uncertainty over how AMPK works and some molecules needed for endurance adaptation are actually not affected by AMPK (Yeo et al., 2014 - below).
o This protein was switched on – but is this as effective as we first thought?
• To deplete their glycogen, cyclists performed a high-intensity task, cycling at 90% maximum until fatigue before dropping to 80%, 70% and 60% respectively
o This was a high intensity, damaging protocol!
• However, this can of tomato soup not only provided less than 50g CHO, but also only 3.6g Pro.
o This incomplete muscular recovery as well as carbohydrate replenishment may have enhanced subsequent effectiveness of protein...
In summary, although we’re still unsure how depleted state training works, and if protein will really help as much as inferred by this protocol, it seems a safe bet to say that protein will not interfere with the low energy/fitness promoting signals from depleted training. It will also help preserve muscle in a low calorie state.
As an aside – athletes should be very careful if embarking on this strategy. Glycogen depletion increases the risk of injury and illness, so plan your training schedule, protein intake, and rest with the utmost attention; preferably with a qualified nutrition/fitness professional.
So – how sure are we that depleted state training actually gets the fitness results we want, and how it works? There seems to be little doubt over the fact that training with low carbohydrate stores increases mitochondrial biogenesis. However, the low energy machine AMPK, being credited with causing fitness gains in the above study is a slippery little customer. What genes it turns on and off, and just how it operates is uncertain, as discussed in the following study.
Yeo et al., (2010); Acute signalling responses to intense endurance training commenced with low or normal muscle glycogen; Exp Physiol 95.2 pp 351–358
We know that training without enough fuel can increase production of energy releasing enzymes, but no-one has yet to successfully demonstrate this translates into improved performance. How does depleted state training work? What mechanisms are involved? Answering these questions could help answer whether other beneficial adaptations become forfeited, undoing any performance-benefit.
Twelve endurance-trained male cyclists or triathletes participated in this study. One group (HIGH) performed a 100 min steady-state ride (AT) at ∼70% ˙VO2peak (63% of PPO) on the first day and high=-intensity
interval training (HIT; 8×5min work bouts at self-selected maximal effort with 1min recovery in between work bouts at ≤ 100W) 24 h later. In contrast, the other group (LOW) performed both training sessions on the same day, performing the AT in the morning (08.00 h), followed by HIT after 1–2 h of rest. Muscle biopsies confirmed the LOW group did commence the high-intensity training with lower glycogen stores.
The food intake was controlled in this experiment. Participants were given prepared meals that provided a set amount of calories, fat, carb and protein per kilo. This high carb diet meant those athletes exercising on separate days could replace glycogen, whilst those exercising either side of a 2 hour un-fed period (LOW) would not replace any of their carbohydrate.
This study looked at a biochemical cellular signal of low energy; AMPK. AMPK promotes fatty acid (FA) oxidation in skeletal muscle during exercise by inhibiting fatty acid formation and the first step of fat oxidation. It is also suggested that low glycogen levels can stimulate the formation of mitochondria, the cells’ power plants, via AMPK activating the proteins PGC1a, either directly or via other molecular machines called CREB, p38 and HDAC. Although CREB and p38 are known signals of low energy, and HDAC is involved in moving the cell forward in its cycle so that mitochondria can be produced, their role in exercise adaptation is less certain...
• As expected, AMPK activation (the low energy signal) was greater in the low-glycogen group.
• However, the signals downstream of AMPK proposed to trigger mitochondrial production (HDAC and p38) were not affected.
• Studies on carbohydrate depletion often suffer from the protocols creating differences between participants – i.e. it won’t be a completely fair test... In order to deplete their carbohydrates, those being tested are often trained twice in a day, and training in a carbohydrate depleted state often creates other physiological changes such as an increase in stress hormones and circulating fatty acids. It may be that the benefits of glycogen depleted training are mediated by other factors.
• This shows there is some disconnect between glycogen availability, CAMPK signalling, and enhanced adaptation and in this case HDAC and p38 were not the missing links.
• It may be that increases in fatty acid availability, oxidative stress, or other effects of twice daily training are playing a role, or that if glycogen availability is the most important factor, it’s working via other pathways.
The other side of carbohydrate – the mental side
Nearly 4 years ago there was a landmark paper that looked at swilling carbohydrate in the mouth and the benefits to endurance performance. By triggering motivational circuitry in the brain, rinsing the mouth with a sports drink can exert some powerful effects without even the need to swallow. Maltodextrin or glucose drinks were shown to improve neurotransmission in the brain, leading to a 3% improvement in a time trial (of around about 1hr in duration). Other studies have repeated these findings, although there now seem to be questions regarding which types of exercise actually benefit from this strategy. The following trial looked at the impact on the repeated sprint ability test (RSA) and (b) the Loughborough Intermittent Shuttle Test (LIST).
Dorling and Earnest (2013) Effect of carbohydrate mouth rinsing on multiple sprint performance; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10:41
• These tests were designed to mirror the intermittent, high-intensity nature and duration of team sports, and as such may be more reliant on the phosphogen system of energy provision and may be subject to greater degrees of acidosis and metabolite release (phosphates, lactate, oxidative species etc).
o The combine RSA/LIST was carried out over more than an hour and included 4 x 11-minute cycles of sprinting interspersed with jogging, walking and rest.
• Eight young, active, fit males participated in a randomly assigned, double-blind, counterbalanced study administering either a carbohydrate mouth-rinse (6.4% maltodextrin with added sweetener) or similarly flavoured placebo solution to ascertain whether intermittent sprint performance would benefit in the same way as endurance exercise.
• In contrast to previous trials which showed mouth rinsing to improve maximal sprint speeds in cycling tests, this trial observed no difference in either peak sprint times or average sprint times between carbohydrate and placebo in the RSA test.
o Similar findings were noted for the LIST test, and no differences were found for perceived exertion, even casting doubt on the psychological impact of mouth rinsing for intermittent tests.
• Additionally, carbohydrate mouth-swilling has been suggested to work by impacting on insulin function and muscular glucose uptake.
o In this trial however, no differences were noted for blood glucose concentrations throughout the testing protocol
• This trial is the most applicable to team sports in terms of the protocol and application to a real-world, completive scenario
• This trial also showed good repeatability and low variation in the results from the sprint tests, adding to its reliability.
o However, although blood sugar was analysed, no direct measures of metabolism, cerebral function or substrate utilisation were taken, meaning the illuminating mechanistic explanations postulated by fMRI and gas-analysis studies were lacking.
So, this study would seem to suggest that team sports athletes looking to get immediate, impactful effects from sports drinks should think again. However, it is still possible that the thinking-side of their game could still be enhanced even if high intensity performance is not, according to this fascinating study I stumbled across whilst reading around this subject...
Daniel C. Molden, Chin Ming Hui, Abigail A. Scholer, Brian P. Meier, Eric E. Noreen, Paul R. D’Agostino and Valerie Martin (2012); Motivational Versus Metabolic Effects of Carbohydrates on Self-Control: Psychological Science: (23) 1137
This paper more closely examined some of the psychological theories around self control. It has been suggested that self control may be a limited resource (The Strength Model) that can be depleted in much the same way as energy stores. This has even been proposed to require the utilisation of energy, meaning your brain needs to use carbohydrates just to stay alert. Conversely, self control has been proposed to rely purely on motivational factors.
• Over four experiments, researchers analysed the relationships between self control and carbohydrate metabolism, or self control and carbohydrate mouth-rinsing, to ascertain if there were metabolic or non-metabolic effect effects.
• Researchers found that exerting self-control did not increase carbohydrate mobilization, as assessed by blood glucose levels under carefully standardized conditions
o However, considering the human brain uses about 500Kcal over a whole day, and also has its own glycogen store, it’s highly unlikely that such cognitive tasks would use the amount of carbohydrate that would require mobilisation of the body’s stores.
• Rinsing one’s mouth with, but not ingesting, carbohydrate solutions immediately bolstered self-control (and mental performance in the Stroop test of working-memory)
• Carbohydrate rinsing did not increase blood glucose, meaning it did not effect the release or utilisation of carbohydrate
So it seems that previous findings on carbohydrate improving motivationally-mediated endurance- performance may extend to purely cognitive tasks, making this strategy all the more relevant for competition and training involving skill acquisition and decision-making. However, there remain questions of the effectiveness of carbohydrate mouth-swilling for high intensity exercise of the type in team sports.
Take home messages for carbohydrate consumption and training adaptation:
• At present there is a large body of evidence to suggest that training adaptations helpful for aerobic cardiovascular exercise are enhanced by training in a low carbohydrate state
o These include adaptations that encourage fat oxidation and utilisation, theoretically helping to support good body composition demands
• Performance in either endurance trials, or high intensity tests has yet to be significantly improved
• Glycogen depletion is correlated to an increase likelihood of injury and illness
• Twice daily training revolving around carbohydrate depletion should only be attempted with the full cooperation of an athlete’s coaches and support team in order to vary training intensity and volume to minimise the risk of injury and illness
o Recreational athletes may want to focus on scheduling their exercise and diet alongside a qualified fitness/nutritional professional to balance maximising adaptation with the possible negative consequences of training in a low energy state...
Postulations over protein: protein requirements for strength training, recovery
Moving on form our questions over carbohydrate and training adaptation... What about resistance exercise? Is there really a specific role for carbohydrates in muscle synthesis? The answer seems to be... not really.
Figueiredo and Cameron-Smith Journal (2013): Is carbohydrate needed to further stimulate
muscle protein synthesis/hypertrophy following resistance exercise? Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition 10:42
Carbohydrates release insulin. Insulin is anabolic. So, therefore the old thinking was that we need a carb-induced insulin spike for muscle growth... The review above puts together nicely the evidence to properly assess each of these claims.
Firstly, let’s review the claim that we need insulin for leucine and amino acids to cause protein synthesis. This is true, but the evidence is often taken from in-vitro studies entirely with or without insulin. In actual fact the human body, even in the fasted state, always has a little insulin floating about. It has been shown that in healthy males, the 5mU/L of insulin present even during sleep is enough for amino acids to stimulate protein synthesis (Greenhaff et al., 2008). Therefore, insulin isn’t the limiting factor – the protein is. It has also been argued that insulin is anti-catabolic; even though it isn’t the most important factor in building muscle, it prevents existing muscle breaking down, therefore enhancing protein balance. Again, this can be answered by the previous point – the small amounts of insulin present even in the fasted state permit protein synthesis. If protein is provided, then quantities of about 20-30mU/L are released without carbohydrate, again providing sufficient stimulus to prevent catabolism.
We need to control for the other factors if we are to make a well informed scientific conclusion on the effects of carbohydrates, and this review actually looks directly at the (relatively few) studies that have directly compared protein with protein with add carbohydrate. There are only three. Lets analyse these studies, and look at the populations (are they relevant), the formulations (what are they eating/taking – can we actually assess the roles of carbs and proteins with these studies?), and the implementation (are they using valid measures and good science?).
• Firstly, these studies were done with healthy young participants and actually compared protein interventions with identical doses of protein with added carbs.
o They all looked at the synthesis or breakdown of protein by tracking the incorporation or release of stable isotopes of amino acids – the gold standard, direct method for was assessing protein metabolism.
The first study by Glyn (2007) showed that if provided with 20g of protein, then adding either 30g or 90g of carbohydrate resulted in the same impact on protein synthesis. Although the high carb group saw their insulin levels rise twice as high as those in the low carb group, did this impact on protein synthesis? Not a jot. A similar experiment was conducted by Koopman’s group (2007) who found that 0.3g per kilo of protein would be assimilated in the same way whether accompanied by 0.15g/kg or 0.6g/kg carbohydrate. This trial tested both conditions on the same individuals, randomised to undertake each condition on separate days (a crossover trial, making for a well controlled study).
• So we can see that if there is some carbohydrate, and some insulin, protein is the important nutrient for muscles and the amount of carbohydrate is insignificant for protein synthesis.
o However... what about if there was no carbohydrate at all?
As stated, a good portion of quality, leucine rich protein will give a hefty whack of insulin – more than enough for protein synthesis. This was proven more recently by Staples’ group (2010) who showed that 25g of protein would stimulate the same amount of growth whether ingested with 50g of carbohydrate, or eaten alone. That insulin spike from a whopping 50g carbs was completely irrelevant – the small 20-30mU/L insulin concentration caused by a lone protein supplement was enough.
So are carbs needed for athletes gaining muscle? Carbohydrates are essential to provide the calories for growth, and also to provide the high-octane fuel needed for prolonged or intense exercise. Think about why you’re eating them. As a brief summary:
• Protein is the only essential nutrient for muscle growth
• Growth needs energy (calories) which should be provided by consuming good-fats and carbohydrates
• Intense and frequent training needed to stimulate the muscle will be dependent on carbohydrate, so...
o Carbohydrates should be consumed according to training load and intensity, although protein should be frequently consumed at every meal/snack
• Not reviewed here is the need for protein in athletes losing weight; protein preserves and synthesises muscle, and so should be consumed often in weight-cutting athletes.
How much protein and carbohydrate to maximise recovery from endurance exercise?
There’s a lot of crossover between the roles of protein and carbohydrate and they can in deed help each other to function in the body. As said before, carbohydrate mediated insulin-release does have an effect on protein metabolism. On the other hand, supplying extra protein calories to a carbohydrate-rich recovery meal can help restore muscle-glycogen. So, for an endurance athlete, how much protein and carbohydrate should we consume? And in what relative amounts?
To put it simply, when looking to recover as soon as possible from one day to the next (or even when competing multiple times in a day – e.g. between disciplines in a triathlon/iron-man) it’s all about restoring glycogen and providing fuel. This means carbohydrate is your most important nutrient. Protein is important, but mainly for muscular recovery and longer term training adaptation. If a product or study is telling you that protein also helps make your faster, or restore glycogen to the muscle – look at it closely and take it with a pinch of salt...
Coletta et al. (2013), The influence of commercially-available carbohydrate and carbohydrate-protein supplements on endurance running performance in recreational athletes during a field trialJournal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10:17
In the above trial, the role of adding protein to a carbohydrate drink was assessed for performance benefits.
• Participants consumed placebo (water – PLA), 6% carbohydrate (CHO), 6% cho + 1.4% pro +1%fat (CHO + PRO) or 9% carbohydrate + 0.7%fat (CHO CHO).
• The athletes completed a time trial on a paved course over 20km in an effort to recreate a real life race. However...
• The design of this trial was designed to see if additional carbohydrate calories, or additional protein calories added extra benefit to the normal 6% sports drink.
• Carbohydrate was being supplied below saturation point, meaning that extra carbohydrate could be absorbed...
o If CHO+PRO was better than CHO CHO, then the protein itself rather than extra energy would be pinpointed as the reason for the performance benefit
• Athletes were instructed to keep diet and aerobic exercise consistent before all runs in order to minimize variances in glycogen status and physical condition among trials.
• With all of these controls - additional protein didn’t help performance.
• However, the type of protocol may not be that responsive to carbohydrate feeding in the feed state.
o A 20Km race would not be far enough to completely deplete an individual’s glycogen stores in the fed state.
o It may be that additional carbohydrate and/or protein would have been useful if carbohydrate was limiting
o As it was, sports drink was not even better than water
Longer, glycogen-limiting exercise protocols give good examples of this. For example Ivy’s group (2003) provided an additional 2% protein solution to 7.5% carbohydrate drinks on time trials to exhaustion. With an exhaustive trial, glycogen is limiting to performance. At these concentrations of carbohydrate, the muscles’ GLUT receptors are saturated, and adding extra protein simply provide a way for muscle cells to absorb extra calories for fuel. This is why the protein was so effective for performance.
On the flip side, adding protein to a lower carb drink can also aid recovery by simply adding extra calories. Saunders et al., (2004) added an additional 10g of protein to 40g of carbohydrate in between time trials and found a beneficial effect. Hardly surprising seeing as carbohydrate recovery guidelines would be at least 70g carbohydrate for these riders. They essentially failed to provide sufficient carb recovery, so got an obvious effect when tapping in protein to this sparse recovery-drink.
The take home message? Fuel and recover properly for your event, and you don’t even need a sports nutrition product – particularly if your event is under 90 minutes in duration. Turn to food first!
Protein will be unlikely to add a benefit over carbohydrate for endurance exercise if sufficient carbohydrate is provided
Hormones and hypertrophy
A long held, but relatively unsupported paradigm in sports science has been that acute hormonal elevations arising from strength training mediate subsequent gains in lean mass and strength. However, many assumptions on the effects of hormones are actually derived from long term, chronic observations. In contrast the elevations caused by exercise are relatively brief. For example, supra-physiological increases in testosterone concentrations from exogenous sources (doping) increase strength adaptations due to their persistent nature, and studies into the role testosterone have shown impaired muscular adaptation following administration of persistent, long-term testosterone antagonists (Kvorning et al., 2006).
• Work by Phillips’ lab has gone some way to show that acute hormonal elevations following resistant exercise are not responsible for long term adaptation.
• They use a design whereby participants exercise one arm alone, or they exercise their other arm followed by leg-exercises that induce the release of large amounts of growth hormone and testosterone.
• Following training no differences were seen between arms, regardless of whether subsequent leg-training increased circulating concentrations of anabolic hormones.
A more recent study called these findings into question:
Ronnestad et al., 2011, Physiological elevation of endogenous hormones results in superior strength training adaptation, European Journal of Applied Physiology, 111, 2249
This study argued that the order of exercise in the above trial may have masked the impact of hormones on muscular adaptation and instead trained the legs before subsequent training of the arms. In a trial on nine recreationally active males, they reported greater increases in lean mass and strength in the arms that were exercised in an anabolic hormonal environment. However, many issues have been subsequently raised over the collection and analysis of this group’s data. This was brought to bear by a recent letter from Stuart Phillips...
To summarise, although cross-sectional area (CSA) and strength are valid measures, several irregularities may cause one to question their findings.
1) CSA was reported as greater in the arm exercised following leg-training, but in actual fact this was only at one point amongst several sections that were scanned
a. Not only are all of the other sections similar in size, but in the low-hormone arm, there seems to be a reduction in size following training between 2 sections that was shown as an increase in size pre training. Either this bit of the muscle atrophied during training, or there were issues aligning the scans of the different cross-sections
b. Scanning methodology seemed lax with arms above head rather than using skeletal landmarks to standardise position – this could have caused differences in the angle of the scan and so changed the area of a 2D picture
c. No statistical information on the differences between CSAs and volumes were given
2) Strength measures suspect, as the load progression was identical between the two conditions. There was a greater 1rm after 11 weeks in A+L despite no greater ability to lift more/progress throughout the training intervention.
So do hormones released during exercise make you bigger and stronger? Are are they only short term occurrences that help your body release energy for exercise? The jury is still out, but the pressure would seem to be on Ronnestad, or anyone else, to repeat his findings...
Timing is everything – or is it? The role of timing in Creatine supplementation...
Many studies on maximising muscular adaptation look at recovery. If we recover better, we train harder and get fitter and stronger. Creatine is an ergogenic aid shown to increase muscular energy stores suited to high intensity exercise and weights-training. Taken over a long period, levels increase in the muscles; athletes can train harder and get better gains...
As with many supplement strategies, we can load the muscle by consuming our supplement post training when nutrient uptake and utilisation is typically at its highest (carbohydrate receptors and protein synthesis both peak following training, for example). However, recent reviews of the literature are suggesting that timing is not so important once we control for the fact that people are exercising in a fed state and are consuming a sufficient amount of protein and carbohydrate over the whole day. So... is there a meaningful difference in when we take creatine? Pre-training loading... or post work-out recovery?
This study looked at 19 recreational body-builders, randomised into taking 5g creatine monohydrate either before or after their training for four weeks.
Antonio et al, (2014), The effects of pre versus post workout supplementation of creatine monohydrate on body composition and strength; Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition, 10
• To summarise the findings, those body-builders who took creatine after training (in recovery) seemed to gain a small amount of extra muscle compared with the pre-training group.
o However, these results did not reach significant values.
o Given the small sample size and large individual variation in muscular adaptation, these trends can’t be taken as a positive result...
• There is also an issue with the supplementation protocol
o The 5g creatine was not recorded as being taken with any carbohydrate.
o The creatine transporter protein is sensitive to insulin, being shown to have maximal uptake after about 80mU/L (achieved with 40-80g carbohydrate).
o In addition, food intake immediately around the training session was not controlled for.
• Body composition was determined using Bod-Pod.
o This method suffers from methodological issues as it uses the “two compartment” model to estimate body density and lean/fat mass.
o Variations such as body water and air in the digestive tract can throw off measurements that often only have a precision around 5%; roughly the same order of magnitude as the variation between individuals/following intervention
• Bottom line – if you want to get big, use a loading dose of creatine (4 x 20g) for the first week, before dropping down to a 5g dose.
• Ensure this is taken with a high carbohydrate meal to facilitate loading.
• I would personally advicate a post-training recovery meal to aid muscular recovery and support energy intake – eating often will help you maintain a high training load and consume the calories needed for hypertrophy.
So, to summarise this month’s newsletter – Keep things simple!
Protein for adaptation (strength or endurance)
Carbohydrate for performance
Plan your food around your training, and plan your training schedule to allow recovery, regeneration and some fully fuelled, intense workouts.
Until next month...
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