The massive meal below shows the amount of food I ingested roughly an hour after lifting heavy.
This meal consisted of 1kg of white potatoes, 500 g of Brussel sprouts (which are in season now), and a juicy piece of lamb tenderloin. I topped this meal with my favourite treat after a workout: 500 ml of organic Vanilla ice cream.
Now, this may seem like a lot of food. But with my goal of bulking up to 85kg, a sufficient calorie intake matters immensely. Mind you, I don’t use any kind of protein powders or other useless products promoted by the fitness industry. In my opinion, building a spectacularly muscular body is possible by eating real foods only. No need for artificial substances whose names most people cannot even pronounce.
Insulin – Anabolic?
After a hard training session, your empty glycogen stores need to be replenished. You do that by ingesting a pretty big amount of fast-acting carbs (~300 g) to spike your insulin level. Most people know insulin as the hormone that regulates blood sugar level. But more importantly, insulin is probably the most ANABOLIC hormone the body produces.
The mechanism behind insulin’s anabolic effect goes like that:
Insulin will travel for so long as it reaches receptor sites on cells. At these sites insulin facilitates the transport of glucose and amino acids across the cell membrane to be used inside the cell for energy and protein synthesis. This mechanism is exactly insulin’s anabolic effect by increasing the volume of the cell.
Based on insulin’s powerful anabolic effect, I strategically overfeed myself with carbs to achieve the potential growth potential caused by the spike of insulin in the time frame following my workout.
However, during the day and on days I don’t work out, I stay pretty low-carb (below 50g) to be able to enjoy the many benefits of a process called KETOGENESIS.
Ketogenesis occurs when your body doesn’t have enough carbohydrates to meet its energy demands. In that case, your body will turn to your fat tissue and start breaking it down into ketone bodies. These ketone bodies can then be used to fuel your body.
2 Energy Systems of the Body
This means, your body has the ability to actually run on two energy systems: one that is dependent on glucose (=carbohydrates) and the other that is dependent on ketone bodies.
When you restrict your carb consumption for roughly three days (this period varies for most people), your body transitions into a state called KETOSIS. Basically, your body is no longer dependent on glucose as an energy supply and is able to run on ketone bodies exclusively. If you want to shed some body fat very quickly, you want to be in KETOSIS for an extended period of time. By being in ketosis, you are sending out a signal to your body that you are in a state of starvation and that your fat deposits need to be utilised for this ’emergency‘. However, the moment you ingest too many carbs, your body will be out of ketosis and back to running on glucose again. You can test whether you are in ketosis by running a simple urin test on so-called KETOSTIX.
To sum it up in a paragraph:
I go pretty low-carb (<100g) during the day with my nutrition coming mainly from fat and protein. This allows me to stay in ketosis and keep burning body fat. On days of resistance training, I will strategically overfeed by ingesting high amounts of insulin-spiking carbs to benefit from insulin’s anabolic effect. That way I can constantly keep building lean muscle mass without adding too much body fat.