Adding High Glycemic Carbs post workout

  • Hi, a couple of contributors have referred to Hussman Fitness's page on Body For Life ( which is a great page and gave me more and clearer focus than I had before. My question is about the following extract:

    "What if I want more muscle growth? Emphasize higher weight/lower rep sets (mostly in the 6-10 range, occasionally in the 2-4 range, but never without a warmup set of about 12 reps first). Be sure to include multi-joint foundation exercises such as barbell bench press, squats/leg press, and cable pulldowns. Be sure to go relatively slow on the eccentric movement, and to vary your tempo and recovery periods from time to time. Have a supplement shake adding high-glycemic carbs (e.g. Phosphagen HP) about an hour after your weight session. "

    With regards to the addition of high glycemic carbs to my post workout protein shake, can anyone expand on the biology of why it's useful to add them after a workout (any simple fruit juice like apple or grape juice, right?!) and how much we should add?


  • Hussman contains a lot of good info, but some of it is out of context and can work against your goals.

    It's a lot to explain as to the hows and whys - simply if you are wanting to lose bodyfat it isn't a necessary concern. Most important post workout is appropriate proteins (BCAA) to be to be available to the body. Post weight training really a plain ol' protein shake is wonderful.

    If building muscle is the primary concern, say if you are a hard gainer or are at a body fat level you are ok with then that is where the discussion becomes relevant and in context.

    The general wisdom has been a 3:1 glucose to protein ratio, whereas research has shown that for natural bodybuilding protocols 2:1 is better. Most of the information floating around on these topics is mis-applied information.

    Easiest way to look at it is the carb will act upon the catabolic hormones that rise as a result of the workout. As catabolic hormones rise so does growth hormone to counter the rise in catabolic hormones So definitely want that process and from a timing perspective once the growth hormone levels reach their peak you ingest the carb to cut off the catabolic hormones so you can leverage the remaining growth hormone in the blood stream and why you'd add a protein to it to the carb.

    For further reading:

    Nutrient Timing by Dr. John Ivy (easy to read)

    Anabolic Edge 2nd Ed by Dr. Mauro DiPasquale (pretty technical)

    You can also find information online from both of these researchers. I think Di Pasquale is the best info from a bodybuilding perspective, but there is no denial Ivy is a leading authority on nutrient timing and does a great job making the information accessible and understandable.

  • Thanks for book suggestions, Jim.

    Courage isn't lack of fear. It's our ability to carry on despite our fear

  • You may want to check into cytocarb to add to post workout shake.

    "The only person you should try to be better than, is the person you were yesterday!"

  • Jim,

    Thanks for the recommendation, I read through Nutrient Timing and started implementing it. More specifically, I've been adding the Anabolic, Energy and Growth phase supplements (ie. before, during and after workouts).

    However, I'm still focussed on losing body fat so I'm not overdoing it on carbs nor am I consuming the 3000+ calories he recommends for 180lb males. On the whole I've got a 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% fat balance and I'm consuming less calories than my basal metabolic rate, so sub 2000 (I think/hope).

    Prior to both weight and cardio workouts, I have most of a gatorade. I finish the rest during my workout mixed in with water. After a weight workout I have my protein shake (20g protein) and apple juice (high glycemic) and creatine.

    My question is regarding getting it right after a cardio workout. I want to take advantage of the fat burn effect, as per BFL, but not sure whether to consumer the high glycemic carbs + protein as per nutrient timing.

    Any advice?

  • A long answer and hopefully it doesn't confuse matters.

    In context of BFL I would forgo the high glycemic carb post-workout all together. The reason is you need the competing catabolic and anabolic processes to work in your favor to maximize fat burning. The high-glycemic carb will act as an near instanaeous switch to basically switch-off the catabolic hormones, but in turn they also stymie the rise of anabolic hormones as well. Now for athletic performance and training this is extremely important, even for serious bodybuilding it is important but in the context of BFL it is often over stated and not desired. It is common to talk of catabolic hormones as bad, but you need them as much as the anabolic hormones.

    BFL is all about metabolic efficiency keyed to fat-loss via what is really a bodybuilders competition diet protocol made friendly. Natural bodybuilders preparing for stage will avoid most high-glycemic carbs all together for getting ripped as they work for ridiculously low body-fat. Post workout will usually consist of nothing more than a whey protein shake allowing for the immediate needs of protein synthesis while maximizing the fat-burning effect. It is sufficient to bring the hormones back into balance while providing for muscle repair granted it is not optimal for building the most muscle possible but the getting ripped phase isn't a monster growth phase.

    The benefit of Nutrient Timing is understanding the various windows and how long they are open to feed the body optimally - Ivy and Portman do a brilliant job with describing what they are.

    I said all of that to come to the answer to your question - post HIIT cardio I would not leverage high glycemic carbs and would opt for a meal an hour post session. The high protein aspect of BFL keeps the amino acid pool in the body full so any muscle catabolization is dealt with quickly and you shouldn't be exhausting glycogen stores. HIIT is all about breaking down fat stores, getting the fatty-acids into the blood to burn the newly freed fatty-acids as to fuel the metabolic furnace for the next hour or so.

    In regards to post weight training it is a simple trade-off . Consumption of high-glycemic carbs plus protein is to maximize muscle hypertrophy at the expense of maximized fat-loss.

    Calorie consumption: Basil runs about 8-9 cals p/lb of scale weight if you are falling below that and are not obese that could work against you. 10-11 cals p/lb of Scale Weight not exceeding 2000 cals p/day is good unless your job is physically demanding or you play recreational sports.

  • I am pretty wiped out after a long, long day so if it's incoherent or you'd like clarification on any point please feel free to ask.

    Maybe someone else will have a different take or something to add.

  • Jim, that's crystal clear, thanks a lot for the answer. I would have been dissappointed had you been any less thorough!!

  • Hi Jim, can i ask you another question?

    I'd like to know your thoughts on how to take creatine and glutamine.

    I understand that glutamine prevents muscle waste and recovery, so it works very well for the fat loss method of BFL and that it's best taken before workout and with the bed time shake.

    With Creatine, i understand that it is good for gaining muscle mass by increasing ATP so that you can increase reps (or whatever).

    However, i've also read that glutamine shouldn't be taken at the same time as creatine because they compete for receptors to be absorbed.

    What do you recommend?