RULE #9: SLEEP ON IT
When you sleep, you’re actually fasting. As we mentioned in rule 6, when you have no food in your digestive tract, your body turns to your muscle fiber for protein (the amino acids from protein to be exact) to fuel your body. A slow digesting protein such as a casein protein shake or cottage cheese (also rich in casein protein) and healthy fats, such as walnuts, are your best choices just before bed. These foods help slow digestion and provide a steady supply of amino acids for fuel, thereby minimizing the body’s tendency to use muscle.
A protein shake containing micellar casein can take up to seven hours to digest. This means your body gets a slow and steady stream of amino acids through most of the night, preventing it from breaking down your muscles.
RULE #10: SUPPLEMENTAL MASS
In addition to using whey protein, casein protein, soy protein and waxy maize starch, there are certain specialty supplements you need to take to ensure that you gain the mass you wish during this wintertime program.
- Branched-chain amino acids: The BCAAs comprise the three amino acids leucine, isoleucine and valine, which happen to be the three most important amino acids for repairing and building of muscle tissue. Leucine is the most critical of the three, as research shows that this amino acid can turn on muscle protein synthesis by itself. It’s still best to take all three together though, as they work in synergy to provide a multitude of benefits that include muscle growth, increased energy during workouts, blunting of cortisol (a catabolic hormone that inhibits testosterone and increases muscle breakdown), and decreased delayed onset muscle soreness. Take 5-10 g of BCAAs with your first breakfast (protein shake), your pre-workout and your post-workout shakes and dinner.
- Creatine: Research confirms that one of the most effective supplements you can use is creatine. Plain and simple, taking creatine can help you gain upward of 10 pounds of lean muscle and boost your strength in the gym by at least 10%. Go with 3-5 g of creatine with your pre- and post-workout shakes.
- Beta-alanine: In the body, the amino acid beta-alanine is combined with the amino acid histidine to form carnosine. Research confirms that when muscles have higher levels of carnosine, they have more strength and endurance, and that athletes taking beta-alanine increase muscle strength significantly, allowing for heavier lifting and, thus, more muscle growth. New research indicates that when trained subjects take beta-alanine in addition to creatine, they gain more muscle (and simultaneously lose some bodyfat, as well) as compared to those taking just creatine alone. Take 1-2 g of beta-alanine or carnosine with your pre- and post-workout shakes.
- Carnitine: Once considered just a fat-loss supplement, carnitine is now known as an anabolic supplement, as well. That’s because it helps to enhance muscle growth through a number of mechanisms. For one, carnitine increases testosterone levels after workouts, as well as the number of testosterone receptors inside muscle cells, which allows more testosterone to stimulate more muscle growth. In addition, carnitine supplements have been found to increase the ability of insulin-like growth factor-I to stimulate muscle growth. If that’s not enough, it can also increase blood flow, which means it provides similar benefits to NO boosters. Take 1-3 g of carnitine with your first breakfast (protein shake), pre-workout shake, post-workout shake and dinner. – FLEX