Staying on a diet too long tends to slow down your metabolism. Cycling your calories or having planned cheat meals are great way to kick-start your metabolism and give your body some nutrients that might be missing from the daily diet. It also gives the mind a break from the rigours of a precontest diet. But binge eating makes it very difficult to get in all the nutrients you need to support muscle retention and fat loss, because such large quantities of fat and sugar will make eating multiple meals per day very difficult.
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.
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.
Low-carbohydrate weight-loss diets increase the production of ketones formed form the incomplete breakdown of fats. Ketogenic diets cause rapid short-term weight loss but are no more effective than other low-calorie diets for long term weight loss or weight maintenance. A university study published in Endocrinology, used rats and concluded that ketogenic diets have long-lasting negative effects on blood sugar regulation. Rats that were fed low-carbohydrate diets then switched to a normal diet showed impaired insulin sensitivity and poor blood sugar control. Yo-yo dieting (bouncing between ketogenic and normal diets) may have long-term negative effects on blood sugar regulation.