A bodybuilder relying on multiple shakes per day in place of whole food will have a very different physique from one who eats more whole food. The natural digestion process is important and you can only get that with whole foods. Protein powders are broken down so much that they do not digest and get absorbed like food. It is better to add specific amino acid supplements to a meal than to replace a meal with a shake. However, we do not live in a perfect world and because of work or family obligations we may end up missing meals. In such situations, shakes can be used. But when you are dieting, would you rather have a protein shake made with water or a grilled chicken breast and sweet potato?
What Is It?
A free-form amino acid that is abundant in the body, especially in skeletal muscle, and in most protein-rich foods. The body’s glutamine level is depleted with exercise and dietary stress.
What Does It Do?
When ingested as a free-form amino acid, glutamine supports the immune system stops muscle wasting and increases protein synthesis. It also acts a potent inhibitor of myostatin hyperactivity.
When Should It Be Taken?
30 minutes to 1 hour before and immediately after weight training.
Take 5-10 grams per dose, starting with the lowest dose and working your way up according to individual tolerance.
There is a reason why it is called junk. The calories are of the lowest quality and filled with fat and sugar. High-fat foods tend to blunt your appetite for hours and you stop eating on schedule and fail to keep a steady flow of aminos heading into your muscles. In order to maximise absorption for optimal mass gain, you need to eat smaller and more frequent meals of quality calories. Five thousand calories in one sitting does not equal 5,000 calories spread throughout the day.
Never eat too much junk food when trying to add muscle mass, because extra fat will be gained. Some junk foods is allowable once a week, but remember “You are what you eat”. So eat healthy, nutritious, low-fat bodybuilding foods.
Skeletal muscle is the most abundant tissue in the human body, so the fact it serves as the primary amino acid pool supplying the body with proteins in times of need is no surprise, especially when your bodily systems are under conditions of stress, including dieting, heavy training and injury. Scientists have been very interested in the pathways that mediate muscle wastage in such conditions. Recent research indicates hyperexpression of myostatin is a key player in this response. In the most basic sense, myostatin in the body acts as the brakes for muscle growth.
Glutamine, the most abundant amino acid in skeletal muscle, is depleted during and after heavy stress. Years of research has demonstrated supplementing with glutamine before and after your training sessions leads to greater protein synthesis and decreased catabolism.
Evidence indicates the muscle-sparing and anabolic effects of glutamine supplementation are a direct outcome of its ability to inhibit myostatin, essentially taking the “brakes” off muscle growth. In a study publishes in Amino Acids, researchers showed that when muscle cells were exposed to TNFα (to induce catabolism) and supplemented with glutamine, the process completely reversed the hyperactivity of myostatin and therefore halted catabolism.
Since its genetic discovery in 1997 supplement research and development teams have been on a dedicated search to fine safe and effective compounds that inhibit myostatin. Remarkably they have discovered a well-known amino acid can effectively reverse the negative impact of myostatin hyperactivity. Although this study was completed in vitro (in a controlled environment such as a test tube or Petri dish, not in a living organism), it provides a powerful mechanism for the muscle-sparing effect of glutamine, therefore reinforcing the importance of pre and post-workout glutamine supplementation.
Grape juice contains a high level of fructose. Fructose is one of the worst carbohydrate sources for bodybuilders, especially in things like fruit juices. Specifically spiking insulin post-workout can actually be detrimental. Post-workout, starving muscles are wide open to receiving nutrients for repair and growth, and when we flood our bodies with simple carbohydrates the muscles quickly slam the door shut. Consuming BCAAs, protein and some fat is preferential immediately following a workout.