Insulin Spikes

Why are post-workout insulin spikes viewed upon as “unnecessary” on this board. Isn’t insulin a very important hormone that can speed up recovery if used properly? I don’t see why everyone doesn’t take advantage of spiking insulin levels during/post-workout. From my own experience, I feel alot better and more recovered after having a high glycemic drink. I’ve been using about 50g of dextrose on tempo days, 100g(50 during, 50 after) on speed days.

"Spiking Insulin Levels

Spiking insulin levels after a workout - can block the catabolic effects of the hormone cortisol and enable key nutrients to replenish muscle cells. It can also enhance protein breakdown synthesis and lower the breakdown of protein secondary to weight training."

References: Jalai, R. (2002, October). The Power of Insulin.

It depends on the type of sprinter you’re talking about the distances covered and the type of work involved. For a typical short distance sprinter there’s not a lot of metabolic “damage” to recover from in a track session…300-500 meters total…not a lot of carbohydrates burned. Even a typical bodbuilding session of 20 sets of 8-12 reps will only deplete about 50 grams of carbs.

Insulin mainly impacts glycogen recovery from depleting activity. If there’s not much depletion there’s little reason to spike insulin.

I disagree with this. After any speed session I feel a hell of a lot better after an insulin spike. I doubt that insulin only plays a role with muscle glycogen. I’m willing to bet money that nervous system fatigue is related aswell.


“Touche” -Ben Stiller

After alot of trial and error, I believe insulin post-workout is a plus.

I have read that six sets of 10 reps of squats can deplete 40% from glycogen stores?

Even if glycogen stores are only depleted minimally, wouldn’t it be of value to have them replenished as rapidly as possible?

It could, i mean it makes perfect sense to me. But what would happen to u if u are putting to much into your body? or is that not a factor?

Eat too many carbs and you get fat…that’s really the only reason you wouldn’t want to spike insulin. If you’re only depleting a small amoutn of glycogen and eating a semi-normal diet it’s not difficult to replenish that glycogen within 12-24 hours or whatever.

I have read that six sets of 10 reps of squats can deplete 40% from glycogen stores?

That sounds about right for quadriceps depletion. It’ll take 12-15 sets with each set 45-60 seconds in duration to deplete glycogen from a given muscle group. The problem is you’re talking 12-15 sets of 45-60 seconds work here not 12-15 sets of 5-10 seconds work such as occurs in a speed workout.

Now go out and run 12-15 400 meter sprints and there’d be much more of a need for glycogen replenishment.


even if you need to be glycogen loaded for the next session which you dont necasserily why is it better to have stores replenished 2 hours post workout as opposed to 6 or 8 or 10 or 12?

Glycogen/carbohydrate is only completely oxidised during intense AEROBIC activity. Therefore, spiking insulin post ANAEROBIC work is not really necessary. Also, big fluctuations in blood glucose levels over a long period (years) may eventually cause health problems (type 2 diabetes).

If you’re training like a sprinter, it’s pretty much impossible to get fat, so why not replenish glycogen stores asap. It enhances recovery and decreases cortisol levels.

I’ll consider the type II diabetes argument when I see 1 study that takes athletes into account.

"Replenish Glycogen Stores Rapidly

The role carbohydrate plays as a fuel source during exercise has shaped modern sports nutrition. Early studies primarily focused on replenishment of glycogen stores by consumption of a carbohydrate supplement both during and after exercise. Carbohydrate supplementation stimulates insulin, a key element in the glycogen replenishment process. Insulin has two major roles: (1) Facilitates the transport of glucose into the muscle cell; (2) Stimulates enzymes responsible for the synthesis of glycogen from glucose.

Recent studies have extended our understanding of how glycogen is replenished. A post exercise carbohydrate supplement composed of high Glycemic Index Carbohydrates (such as simple sugar) is more rapidly transported into the muscle cell in the critical post recovery period. Enzymes responsible for manufacture of muscle glycogen are maximally stimulated 0-2 hours after exercise. Therefore it is essential that a carbohydrate supplement be taken in this time frame to optimize recovery.

Even more significant are research findings showing that protein and the amino acid, arginine, when combined with a carbohydrate supplement can strongly stimulate insulin levels in a synergistic fashion. The ratio of carbohydrate to protein is extremely important to obtain this synergy. The Optimum Recovery Ratio (OR2) should be 4:1 (four grams of carbohydrate to one gram of protein.) By further stimulating insulin with protein and arginine, muscle glycogen is restored quicker. The result - improved performance and a faster recovery.

Insulin, the “Master Recovery Hormone”

Investigators have shown the importance of carbohydrate supplementation in improving performance. The regulator of glycogen replenishment is the hormone insulin which increases the transport of glucose from the blood into the muscle and stimulates the enzyme responsible for the conversion of glucose into glycogen. Recent research has shown that insulin is so important in recovery from exercise that it should be termed the “master recovery hormone”. In addition to its vital role in glycogen replenishment insulin helps rebuild and maintain muscle protein. These studies demonstrate that insulin:

stimulates the transport of amino acids into the muscle. By increasing the cell’s amino acid levels insulin speeds the protein rebuilding process following exercise.
blunts the rise in cortisol following exercise. Cortisol is the hormone responsible for protein breakdown. By decreasing cortisol levels, insulin helps maintain muscle protein. "

You will find that protein also causes an insulin spike. For example whey protein is easily digested and could be considered as a ‘simple’ protein. I have personally found that whey post workout (anaerobic) is just as good as carb/protein. Repairing the damage to muscle post workout as quickly as possible is perhaps more important than restoring glycogen levels (which will replenish adequately through normal dietary intake).

Insulin Spikes depend on the type activity and the volume of work done but not necessarily the intensity of work.

This is why higher volume hypertrophy training and aerobic training can deplete carb stores faster than low volume speed work

And yes protein can replenish glycogen stores too.

I disagree though with the comment that if you train like a sprinter you can’t get fat - not true. Too high a volume of carbs and I’d wager anyone will increase adipose tissue stores.

I disagree though with the comment that if you train like a sprinter you can’t get fat - not true. Too high a volume of carbs and I’d wager anyone will increase adipose tissue stores.[/QUOTE]

Couldn’t agree more.

i would say ur right. I have been training hard and im gaining weight, but not in a good way, im still riped and im getting faster but at the same time im eating alot more than i ever use to(i dont know why i’ve just been hungry lately) and im getting fat on the small of my back. So mabe my motabalizim slowed down and i’m hitting a growth spurt at the same time…dont know. But ne ways i think that you do have to watch your carb intake.

I don’t know what kind of diets you guys are on, but a good diet + sprint training = a damn good physique. I eat an insane amount of carbs and couldn’t gain an ounze of fat to save my life.

and… I don’t want to here any arguments about genetics and different body types contributing to fat gain.

O im on that diet you on when your a broke ass college student and the only food you can eat is in the caff. and no i dont eat junk food i dont drink soda’s I eat what they provide for us and thats all i can do. But your parobably 100% right man so im not gonna argue that. But there is such things as genettics and they do effect the way a person adds or gains weight or they way they put on muscle, i mean there just as big a factor in that sort of stuff as they are in determining how tall your gonna be.

I’m sorry but genetics and body type have got quite alot to do with it. I work with alot of people that respond completely differently to the same diet - it has to be individual. There are many factors involved and each 1 has to be taken into account.