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Post Workout Force Feeding
by Ron J. Clark President , NFPT - www.nfpt.com
Much attention has been given to the topic of carbohydrate
replacement following exhaustive resistance exercise. Rest assured there
is no controversy here-or at least not anymore. I may be giving away my
age, but do you remember when post-workout food selection was questionable?
Arnold himself has often spoke of eating huge steaks immediately after
his workouts early on in his bodybuilding career, which has since been
found to be physiologically incorrect. Back then, on the surface, the need
for immediate protein ingestion after a heavy training bout probably seemed
to make a lot of sense. In Arnold's defense, bodybuilding was then in its
infancy, and because of the economic principle of supply and demand, there
was no real money invested in the performance of research in the area of
bodybuilding nutrition. This has since changed. Due to the steadily increased
popularity of the iron game, there are now millions of dollars being spent
in researching bodybuilding nutrition & supplements!
In these earlier days, however, before nutritional research
was in full swing, the iron game was, for the most part, a guessing game!
Do you believe, as I do, that some of the world's greatest discoveries
were stumbled upon completely by accident? Back then, whatever the winner
did must have been right, and what the loser did must have been wrong.
Plain and simple.
For a time, this hit-or-miss principle applied to other
areas of athletics as well. For example, cyclists and other endurance athletes
have been ingesting carbohydrate based drinks during the performance of
their respective events for years successfully, probably because someone
in the past accidentally did it, and it worked. Ask one of these cyclists
exactly why the timely intake of these carbohydrates is beneficial, and
of the many quite logical responses you will get, the true answer will
escape them every time. The very answer that escapes them, is the topic
of this chapter! You may be asking yourself, "So what? What if they
don't know exactly how it works? As long as it works, the reasons shouldn't
matter?!" This way of thinking, has in the past, slowed the advancement
of athletic performance in all sports. The truth of the matter is, that
the more timely research into the exact reasons why this "carbohydrate
ingestion during activity" worked for the endurance athlete, could
have led to the earlier discovery of its positive effect on ALL athletes
and resistance trainees. The practice of carb ingestion during post-resistance
workout activity offers an extremely functional method of minimizing the
duration of catabolism by "forcing" post-workout carb replacement
on the muscles! But more on that later.
The primary reason why the ingestion of carbohydrates
during activity by endurance athletes can productively be applied to those
performing resistance exercises, is because all athletes share a common
denominator...the basic human anatomy. While various forms of exercise
have distinct differences in the demands they impose upon the body, the
energy pathways during recovery from exercise remain the same.
Getting back to the resistance trainee. To my best recollection,
it was Mike Mentzer who first ushered in the practice of eating post-workout
carbohydrates. ICE CREAM, as I recall, contained the carbohydrates of his
choice. In discussing the use of objectivity in the area of bodybuilding
nutrition, Mike Mentzer comes to mind as one of the first to take a more
learned approach. Mentzer's post-workout "carbohydrate loading"
sermons were at first met with indifference in the bodybuilding community.
It wasn't long, however, before this "methodology" was upheld
time and time again through various studies. Mentzer's once controversial
carbohydrate replacement theory, has today evolved into a cornerstone of
the very foundation of productive resistance training & nutrition.
The "force-feeding" principle effectively enhances
the value of post-workout carb loading by including the performance of
activity simultaneous to "simple carbohydrate" ingestion. The
performance of this activity discourages Insulin from taking glucose to
fat cells. Since we know fat cells generally mobilize fat during activity,
and they cannot store Insulin-carried glucose & release fat at the
same time, the Insulin has nowhere else to take the majority of this new
glucose during the performance of this exercise, but to the energy depleted
muscle tissues. Hence, "force-feeding". The application of "force-feeding"
has appeared quite successful among resistance athletes in every instance
to the best of my knowledge and research. The following is a brief summary
of the concept of "force-feeding".
An abundant amount of Insulin releasing simple sugar
should be ingested immediately following a muscle glycogen depleting resistance
training session. Simultaneously perform post-workout low intensity aerobic
activity. This will accelerate the insulin-carried glucose uptake in the
badly depleted muscles (recovery), with minimal insulin-carried glucose
being deposited in adipose tissues (fat cells). A minimal uptake and storage
of this abundant insulin-carried blood glucose into adipose tissue during
force-feeding is assured as a direct result of the catabolic effect of
the applied exercise on adipose tissues (adipose tissue is predisposed
to release usable energy substrates, fatty acids & glycerol during
exercise in the presence of catabolic hormones & enzymes). This leaves
Insulin only one place to take its glucose... directly to glycogen depleted
muscle tissues! This carb-loading will even be more rapid than normal since
Insulin must remove overabundant blood glucose quickly.
With this understanding, it is no wonder why endurance
athletes experience increased energy levels by ingesting carbohydrates
during activity. These newly ingested carbs are being driven directly
into the muscle, along with considerable fluids as well preventing heat
injuries, dehydration, and consequent muscle cramping!
Use this "FORCE FEEDING" concept to accelerate
carbohydrate replacement before you even leave the gym! Here's how
you do it...
*NOTE - IF YOU ARE A DIABETIC, MAKE THE APPROPRIATE
After your intense and exhaustive resistance training
workout, hop on a stairmaster, exercise bike, or choose any one of a hundred
other aerobic activities. Break out some nutritious form of SIMPLE SUGAR
(fruit juices, honey, etc.). Immediately ingest anywhere from 100 to 500
calories of this simple sugar. The actual number of these calories should
be determined based on two variables. #1- How energy exhaustive your training
session was, and #2- the length of time you plan on performing the "low
to moderate intensity" post-workout aerobic activity! Keep in mind
that the circulatory system has an average capacity to maintain 80 calories
of glucose before "spilling over", and that it will take at least
5 to 7 minutes before the ingested simple sugar even reaches the bloodstream.
Take these factors into consideration when applying the FORCE-FEEDING concept.
As with the cyclist, as long as you are performing activity,
the bulk of ingested sugar will be driven into recovering and working muscle
tissues! I would suggest you experiment somewhat in determining the right
exercise duration and number of calories ingested. When properly applied,
you should experience a more "full" feeling upon completion of
this post-workout activity. The reason for this sensation, as you are probably
aware, is due to the enormous amount of water that accompanies Insulin-carried
blood glucose into recovering muscles.
It is a fact that catabolism (break down of muscle
tissue), initiated during the workout, typically continues for some time
after training until sufficient recovery energy (blood glucose) is provided
from outside the muscles. Once this "outside help" is provided,
damaged muscles will stop eating away at themselves for energy. The FORCE-FEEDING
concept directly addresses this issue, thus accelerating recovery from
Used properly, this "FORCE-FEEDING" concept
will dramatically minimize the duration of post-workout catabolism "naturally",
and more rapidly initiate anabolism (muscle tissue growth)! These principles
have been theorized and researched independently by the National Federation
of Professional Trainers and found sufficiently effective to warrant
publication. While this practice is proven quite safe and free from health
risk, I feel obligated to state that it is meant to safely be applied by
APPARENTLY HEALTHY INDIVIDUALS ONLY. As mentioned earlier, those diabetics,
insulin dependent or otherwise, are advised to take appropriate measures
in this concept's application, given their own familiarity with their specific
health concerns. As stated earlier, since the first and quite recent
publication of this "FORCE-FEEDING" concept, there have already
been reports of its effectiveness in practical application.
The questionable role of Insulin in "Force-Feeding"
Insulin cannot intelligently decide the destination
of the glucose it carries. Its function is simply to remove overabundant
glucose from the blood. For our purposes, there are two storage locations
where Insulin can deposit its glucose. The muscle cells and the fat cells.
The argument has arisen that since the presence of Insulin inhibits lypolisis
(mobilization of fatty acids & glycerol from adipose tissues), that
the exercise performed in force-feeding may not totally prevent the abundance
of Insulin from depositing at least some glucose in these fat cells since
the post-workout aerobic activity is not long in its duration and steady
state. Even if this argument is valid (while unresearched to the best of
my knowledge), the bottom line is this. The purpose of "force-feeding"
is to shorten the duration of catabolic metabolism, and to more quickly
initiate the anabolic (recovery & growth) process. Even if this incredible
achievement can only be accomplished at the cost of some insignificant
amount of temporary fat calorie storage, it will certainly be worthwhile
in accelerating the recovery process between resistance training workouts.
This "FORCE-FEEDING" principle represents yet
another contribution to resistance athletes, made on the part of the National
Federation of Professional Trainers. Good luck with its application,
and on behalf of the NFPT, we sincerely wish you greater gains!
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The information presented is intended to be used for educational purposes only. The statements made have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration (U.S.). This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any condition or disease. Please consult with your own physician or health care practitioner regarding any suggestions and recommendations made.