Iveth Carreon - Bikini - 2017 Olympia
The off-season is a time to pack on mass and consume more calories. Research published in the Journal of Amino Acids that drinking a combined carbohydrate drink with essential amino acids (EAA) after high-intensity exercise increased IGF-1 levels. The researchers had subjects perform high-intensity exercise, and subjects were assigned to receive either a carbohydrate drink (dosage of .85 g/kg of lean body mass) or a carb-EAA supplement (dosage of .5g/ kg of lean body mass for carbs and .35g/kg of lean body mass for EAAs). At the end of the study, there were increases in GH across the entire group after high-intensity exercise but free IGF-I in the carb/EAA group only. These results indicate that slamming a high-quality carb/EAA drink immediately after exercise can increase IGF. If that’s not enough, it seems that consuming carbs with EAA can also reduce muscle damage so you can recuperate faster. Thirty-four male subjects completed three sets of eight reps at their 8RM in the following exercises: high pull, leg curl, standing overhead press, leg extension, lat pulldown, leg press, and bench press. Subjects consumed either a carb-EAA sports drink or placebo 30 minutes prior to exercise, immediately before exercise, halfway through the workout, and immediately afterward. At the end of the study, cortisol responses were significantly elevated in the placebo group compared to the carb-EAA group at 24 hours post-exercise. And myoglobin and creatine kinase were significantly elevated in the placebo group compared to the carb-EAA group. There was no difference in exercise performance, but the carb and protein group had better markers for muscle recuperation, suggesting the use of a carb-EAA supplement during training reduces muscle damage and soreness.

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Previous studies have found L-carnitine to increase anabolic pathways—such as IGF-1, p-AKT, and mTOR muscle- building pathways—and inhibit the anti-catabolic pathways atrogin, MuRF, and FoxO. Carnitine is a naturally occurring amino acid, which plays a vital role in the metabolism of fat. Carnitine acts as a transporter of fatty acids into the mitochondria, the metabolic furnace of the cell. Researchers from the University of Nottingham in the U.K. investigated the effects and the influence of L-carnitine and carbohydrate feeding on energy metabolism, body fat mass, and muscle expression of fuel metabolism genes. The researchers had 12 males exercise at 50% VO2 max for 30 min once before and once after 12 weeks of twice daily feeding of 80 g carbohydrate or 1.36g L-carnitine + 80g carbohydrate (Vitargo). At the end of the study, the group consuming the carbs twice a day gained weight and fat mass while the carnitine group did not experience weight gain. The “fatty acid shuttle” better known as CPT1 remained similar in both groups over the course of the 12-week study period, however, genes for fat metabolism were up-regulated. The group consuming carnitine had 73 out of 187 genes relating to fuel metabolism to be unregulated. Upon examination of gene analysis, the carnitine group’s upregulated genes were responsible for insulin signaling, PPAR signaling and fatty acid metabolism. The group consuming carnitine increased muscle carnitine stores by 20%, increased the activity of long- chain acyl-CoA, an enzyme that is crucially involved in the mitochondrial oxidation of long-chain fatty acids by +200% and increased whole body energy expenditure by 6%. In conclusion, increasing muscle carnitine in healthy humans can modulate muscle metabolism, energy expenditure, and body composition over a prolonged period.