The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

It’s no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    Insulin, Glycogen, Glucose, Oh My?

    I was recently referred to this great thread from bradley: http://www.wannabebigforums.com/show...I&pagenumber=1

    After reading it, I still have some concerns. Now, I may have missed it or became confused in the process of reading it, but it seems to me that there is still something missing. Please help me understand if I have overlooked something.

    Okay. Try to follow me here….. I understand the concept of eating high GI carbs about 45 minutes before a workout to get an insulin spike at the beginning of the workout, while it then tapers of at the end to leave you in a decreased catabolic state post training, so your body will have a more stabilized insulin level to start repairing muscle right away. What I don’t really understand is if, just like it was mentioned in the thread, the role of insulin is to remove glucose from the bloodstream to store in the muscle cells, and (from what I understand) glucose in your blood only serves to feed you nervous system, and since your body is in energy burning mode and not in a energy storing mode during exercise, wouldn’t the excess glucose not get stored during a workout and interfere with glucagon, which is necessary for energy utilization, thus going against what is wanted the most; getting as much glucagon stored in the muscle cells as possible during the workout?

    Then there is the issue of moving the pre-workout meal directly before the workout and even having some during. This sounds like it would help with the timing of the insulin spike, but I thought that (and please correct me if I am wrong):

    - even during the workout, the body utilizes liver glycogen to maintain blood glucose, so if muscles could use it, it would always be there, correct?
    - muscles rely primarily on glycogen stored within the cells, not blood glucose, right?
    - consuming carbohydrates, even in liquid form, would cause blood to be redirected to the gut (and away from muscle) for digestion/absorption?
    - elevated blood glucose levels caused by carb ingestion result in insulin release, which may be anabolic, but might interfere with breakdown of glycogen and fat for energy?

    So, if a carb drink was consumed while working out, glucose shouldn’t get transferred into the muscle cells, right? How well can muscle cells utilize this glucose for energy especially when your body is in a energy burning state; how effective is insulin? I would imagine it’s not very effective. What about if muscles could use blood glucose, whose levels are maintained by the liver, would a carb drink even be needed? Shouldn’t we already have around 80-100g worth of carbs in the liver waiting to replenish blood glucose?

    Sorry for the amount of questions, but a lot of the info in that thread seems to conflict to what I was told and have read from multiple sources over the years.

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  3. #2
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    What I don’t really understand is if, just like it was mentioned in the thread, the role of insulin is to remove glucose from the bloodstream to store in the muscle cells, and (from what I understand) glucose in your blood only serves to feed you nervous system, and since your body is in energy burning mode and not in a energy storing mode during exercise, wouldn’t the excess glucose not get stored during a workout and interfere with glucagon, which is necessary for energy utilization, thus going against what is wanted the most; getting as much glucagon stored in the muscle cells as possible during the workout?
    Glucagon is just the opposite of insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone where glucagon can be thought of as just the opposite. Since insulin is present then yes glucagon levels will be at a minimum . Although I really don't see why this would matter seeing as how insulin will be shuttling sugar out of the blood and into the muscles, and for that reason there would be no need for glucagon since blood sugar levels are already elevated. Seeing as how the whole point of glucagon is to increase blood sugar levels.

  4. #3
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    Re: Insulin, Glycogen, Glucose, Oh My?

    Originally posted by BobbyRS
    - even during the workout, the body utilizes liver glycogen to maintain blood glucose, so if muscles could use it, it would always be there, correct?

    Glucagon would be necessary to mobilize liver glycogen.

    - muscles rely primarily on glycogen stored within the cells, not blood glucose, right?
    Yes, as far as anaerobic activity is concerned.

    - elevated blood glucose levels caused by carb ingestion result in insulin release, which may be anabolic, but might interfere with breakdown of glycogen and fat for energy?
    Yes it could interfere with the breakdown of fat for energy since insulin is an anti-lipolytic hormone. I would not think that it would have any affect on the breakdown of glycogen for energy since it is already in the muscle cell.

    So, if a carb drink was consumed while working out, glucose shouldn’t get transferred into the muscle cells, right?
    I don't see why not. Insulin would be present which would still shuttle glucose into the muscle cells. Just really depends on how long it took for them to be absorbed, but the glucose would eventually get to the muscle cells.

  5. #4
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    Glucagon is just the opposite of insulin. Insulin is a storage hormone where glucagon can be thought of as just the opposite. Since insulin is present then yes glucagon levels will be at a minimum . Although I really don't see why this would matter seeing as how insulin will be shuttling sugar out of the blood and into the muscles, and for that reason there would be no need for glucagon since blood sugar levels are already elevated. Seeing as how the whole point of glucagon is to increase blood sugar levels.
    I'm sorry bradley, I understand that. I meant to say glycogen instead of glucagon.

    To make sure we are on the same page:

    When food is eaten, the glucose resulting from the breakdown of carbohydrates enters the bloodstream. Insulin is then secreted by the pancreas in response to this detected increase in blood sugar. If a large amount of glucose was to remain in the blood, the balance between the blood and the cell fluids would be disrupted and the cells would be damaged. However this does not occur, since the glucose does not remain in the bloodstream, but is instead transferred by insulin to the liver and skeletal muscles and then converted to glycogen (glycogenesis). Now, the average adult has 5-6 grams of glucose in the blood (about 1 teaspoon), which will supply the body's energy needs for only about 15 minutes, thereafter the levels must be replenished from compounds stored in the liver and skeletal muscles. Later, when the level of glucose in the blood decreases as it’s used to fuel cell activities, glucagon is secreted to activate the enzymes that depolymerize glycogen (glycogenolysis) and release glucose which re-enter the blood to replace what has been lost.

    Factoring in working out: So, if your insulin spike began at the beginning of your work out and was leveling off or even dipping towards the end, then glucagon will be released to help stabilize the blood sugar level as a result in insulin and glucose, correct? My question here is that if your body is in energy burning mode and not energy storing mode as a result of working out, how efficient is the insulin removing the glucose in the bloodstream and storing it into the liver and muscles for glycogenesis? Is the 45 min. of an insulin spike factor in working out?

    Yes it could interfere with the breakdown of fat for energy since insulin is an anti-lipolytic hormone. I would not think that it would have any affect on the breakdown of glycogen for energy since it is already in the muscle cell.
    Right, so if blood sugar levels are high, then there wouldn’t be a need to breakdown glycogen or fat for energy.

    I don't see why not. Insulin would be present which would still shuttle glucose into the muscle cells. Just really depends on how long it took for them to be absorbed, but the glucose would eventually get to the muscle cells.
    Well, if muscles rely primarily on glycogen stored within the cells, not blood glucose, then we shouldn’t need to, correct? At least not until after we used the glycogen stores in the muscles by working out. When do the muscles begin to convert the glucose into glycogen to replenish the muscle cells? Most likely when the glycogen stores are low, correct? Again, how well is the body capable of doing this in a energy burning mode instead of an energy storing mode? Do you think that the insulin spike would vary depending on how fast we worked out and not work out to fit within the time of the insulin spike? So, if there was an excess amount of glucose in the blood, does it wait until the glycogen cells in the muscles are low before it tries convert the glucose into glycogen to help restore the glycogen levels in the muscles? How is it all regulated if you eat something to spike your insulin levels right before or even during working out?

    Damn, I hope that makes sense

  6. #5
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BobbyRS
    My question here is that if your body is in energy burning mode and not energy storing mode as a result of working out, how efficient is the insulin removing the glucose in the bloodstream and storing it into the liver and muscles for glycogenesis? Is the 45 min. of an insulin spike factor in working out?
    I am not really following what you are asking, but I will give it a shot. Your muscles are using primarily stored glycogen for energy, anaerobic exercise. This has nothing to do with insulin, as I have already said insulin is a storage hormone and it is also anabolic because it can prevent muscle catabolism and is also responsible for shuttling in nutrients to the muscles. The whole idea behind Powerman's theory is to be one step ahead and already have nutrients available for "delivery" to the muscles right when they need the nutrients, as opposed to postworkout where the muscles would have to wait a bit for the nutrients to be absorbed/digested. So to answer your question, yes insulin is very effecient at removing glucose from the bloodstream. I don't understand why you would think otherwise. If insulin is present then blood glucose levels will fall, in a helthy individual that is.


    Right, so if blood sugar levels are high, then there wouldn’t be a need to breakdown glycogen or fat for energy.
    Like I said I don't think it would have any effect on the breakdown of glycogen since it is already in the muscle cell, but yes it would have an affect on the breakdown of fat for energy. Hence the anti-lipolytic effects of insulin.

    Well, if muscles rely primarily on glycogen stored within the cells, not blood glucose, then we shouldn’t need to, correct? At least not until after we used the glycogen stores in the muscles by working out. When do the muscles begin to convert the glucose into glycogen to replenish the muscle cells? Most likely when the glycogen stores are low, correct?
    Like I said above the whole point is to be one step ahead and have nutrients ready to be shuttled into the muscles. You know that some glycogen is going to be needed because you are going to use some of it during the course of you workout.

    Again, how well is the body capable of doing this in a energy burning mode instead of an energy storing mode?
    I think it would help if you thought of the body being in a sugar burning mode/storage mode. Instead of enery burning/energy storing mode.

    Do you think that the insulin spike would vary depending on how fast we worked out and not work out to fit within the time of the insulin spike?
    Well if you worked out too long and your insulin levels spiked and then fell you could become lethargic during the middle of your workout. I believe this was pointed out in the thread.

    How is it all regulated if you eat something to spike your insulin levels right before or even during working out?
    Well it is not really regulated but more or less timed. You would have to experiment with different times and food combinations to see what works best for you. Some foods would take longer to digest than others so it would require a little experimentation I would think.

    So, if there was an excess amount of glucose in the blood, does it wait until the glycogen cells in the muscles are low before it tries convert the glucose into glycogen to help restore the glycogen levels in the muscles? How is it all regulated if you eat something to spike your insulin levels right before or even during working out?
    Well once insulin is present blood sugar levels will drop because the insulin is going to move the sugar somewhere whether it be to the muscles (hopefully) or to fat. The spillover to fat would be relatively small if any, unless you were ingesting a tremendous amount of carbs. If you were to consume carbs during you workout you could help keep insulin levels up and avoid the lethargic feeling when insulin levels drop.


    This is mostly coming from what little knowledge that I have. I believe it to be correct, but then again I am wrong sometimes. Hope this helps

  7. #6
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    bradley, thanks for taking time out to discuss this with me. Even though it seems like we are dancing in circles

    So to answer your question, yes insulin is very effecient at removing glucose from the bloodstream. I don't understand why you would think otherwise.
    Yeah I know insulin is efficient at removing glucose from the bloodstream, but are there times when it is not? Like when working out for example. I was always under the impression that when working out, you body is more interested in burning energy, not replacing it or burning glycogen, not producing it.

    Well if you worked out too long and your insulin levels spiked and then fell you could become lethargic during the middle of your workout. I believe this was pointed out in the thread.
    Yeah, my question to that is, was the spike reached without working out a factor or with? I am curious if working out would have an effect of the timing of the insulin spike because of the changes in your body (digestion, etc.)?

    Well it is not really regulated but more or less timed. You would have to experiment with different times and food combinations to see what works best for you. Some foods would take longer to digest than others so it would require a little experimentation I would think.
    Great advice! But my questions above would impact my experiments

    This is mostly coming from what little knowledge that I have. I believe it to be correct, but then again I am wrong sometimes. Hope this helps
    Again, thanks for the time....

  8. #7
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BobbyRS

    Yeah I know insulin is efficient at removing glucose from the bloodstream, but are there times when it is not? Like when working out for example. I was always under the impression that when working out, you body is more interested in burning energy, not replacing it or burning glycogen, not producing it.
    Well when working out your body is interested in getting energy to the cells that need it. If there is sufficient energy available then the body is not going to tap into fat stores to get more energy, hence when insulin is present there is/was blood sugar so no reason to tap into energy stores (i.e. bodyfat). The body can do more than one thing at a time. Muscle glycogen could be being depleted while at the same time insulin is present which would be shuttling more nutrients into the muscle cells.

    Yeah, my question to that is, was the spike reached without working out a factor or with? I am curious if working out would have an effect of the timing of the insulin spike because of the changes in your body (digestion, etc.)?
    No because you are aiming to time the insulin spike to occur right when you begin training. Hence the reason TCD recommended ingesting maltodextrin which usually is digested and absorbed in about 45 minutes, so if you drank a carb drink containing maltodextrin about 45 minutes before working out the spike would be happening about the same time you started working out.


    Yeah I know insulin is efficient at removing glucose from the bloodstream, but are there times when it is not?
    Also wanted to mention that exercise increases insulin sensitivity so it becomes more effecient in response to the training stimulus.
    Last edited by bradley; 05-16-2003 at 08:51 AM.

  9. #8
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    Well when working out your body is interested in getting energy to the cells that need it. If there is sufficient energy available then the body is not going to tap into fat stores to get more energy, hence when insulin is present there is/was blood sugar so no reason to tap into energy stores (i.e. bodyfat). The body can do more than one thing at a time. Muscle glycogen could be being depleted while at the same time insulin is present which would be shuttling more nutrients into the muscle cells.
    Ok. Enough said. Makes sense. Would be nice to hear from people who have experienced with this.

    No because you are aiming to time the insulin spike to occur right when you begin training. Hence the reason TCD recommended ingesting maltodextrin which usually is digested and absorbed in about 45 minutes, so if you drank a carb drink containing maltodextrin about 45 minutes before working out the spike would be happening about the same time you started working out.
    Ok. What kind of carb drinks would be ideal for this? Does Gatorade have maltodextrin in it?

    Also, referring to ST's comments:

    Try moving your meal right before you workout and adding the Gatorade during the workout. This makes a huge difference in recovery and I find it reduces DOM the next day.

    This small change can have a dramatic effect on bulking since your body is hardly going to store fat during a bout of intense weight training so I used to move about 1/6 my daily caloric intake around my workout. Cutting is trickier but like any diet in general a few simple tricks can have a profound effect.
    What is with the talk towards the end of this thread about moving meals closer to the workout? Doesn't that go against what was originally posted in the beginning with the timing of the insulin spike?

    Also wanted to mention that exercise increases insulin sensitivity so it becomes more efficient in response to the training stimulus.
    Great. Exactly what I wanted to know! That is what I was wondering with that question.

  10. #9
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by BobbyRS

    Ok. What kind of carb drinks would be ideal for this? Does Gatorade have maltodextrin in it?
    I believe the powdered Gatorade contains malto but I am not positive and you might want to check out smarties candy as they are made of primarily maltodextrin. You could just purchase pure maltodextrin which would be the easiest and least expensive.

    What is with the talk towards the end of this thread about moving meals closer to the workout? Doesn't that go against what was originally posted in the beginning with the timing of the insulin spike?
    I think they are just trying to get the timing of the insulin spike down, and then consume the gatorade during the workout which will further increase the carbs available for the muscles to use to replenish glycogen stores. He goes on to further state that carbs are rarely stored as fat when consumed around training, hence the reason he says that he consumes 1/6 of his daily calories around training. Would have to ask ST to be sure though.

    I still believe the concept is no different than what was originally posted.
    Last edited by bradley; 05-19-2003 at 04:30 PM.

  11. #10
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    ...you might want to check out smarties candy as they are made of primarily maltodextrin.
    Smarties Candy? Wow, I would of never guessed

    I still believe the concept is no different than what was originally posted.
    Hey, thanks again bradley.

    Oh, if you haven't already, here is a good article I just recently read about pre/post workout nutrition:

    http://www.hypertrophy-specific.com/...postnutri.html

    Check out these parts:

    "Consuming simple sugars right before training can reduce the amount of glycogen used during exercise. This can prolong performance. More importantly, higher blood sugar and insulin levels appear to create a hormonal milieu favorable to anabolism (growth)."

    "Another pre-workout strategy involves taking advantage of increased blood flow to working muscles. Because the availability of amino acids is often the limiting factor for protein synthesis, a pre-workout protein meal will enhance the delivery of amino acids to muscle tissue. Research has demonstrated the effectiveness of a pre-workout protein drink.

    Delivery of amino acids has been shown to be significantly greater during the exercise bout when consumed pre-workout than after exercise (Tipton, 2001). There is also a significant difference in amino acid delivery in the 1st hour after exercise, with the pre-exercise protein drink providing a significant advantage. Net amino acid uptake across the muscle is twice as high with a pre-workout protein drink as compared to consuming it after. Phenylalanine disappearance rate, an indicator of muscle protein synthesis from blood amino acids, was significantly higher when amino acids were taken pre-workout. These results indicate that the response of net muscle protein synthesis to consumption of a protein solution immediately before resistance exercise is greater than that when the solution is consumed after exercise, primarily because of an increase in muscle protein synthesis as a result of increased delivery of amino acids to the leg."

  12. #11
    Senior Member GhettoSmurf's Avatar
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    Originally posted by bradley


    I believe the powdered Gatorade contains malto but I am not positive and you might want to check out smarties candy as they are made of primarily maltodextrin.
    i think gatorade powder is actually mainly dextrose i believe. i also thought smarties were dextrose? o well it doesnt make a big difference anyway. like bradley said, it would probably be the best/cheapest to just buy pure malto or dextrose.

  13. #12
    the stone cold stunner Ironman8's Avatar
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    Ya, it's the bottled Gatorade that has high fructose corn syrup.
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  14. #13
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    Originally posted by GhettoSmurf


    i think gatorade powder is actually mainly dextrose i believe. i also thought smarties were dextrose? o well it doesnt make a big difference anyway. like bradley said, it would probably be the best/cheapest to just buy pure malto or dextrose.
    Yeah you are right about the smarties GS. Just looked it up at www.smarties.com Thanks

    Still not for sure about the Gatorade as I couldn't find the ingredients on their site anywhere.
    Last edited by bradley; 05-20-2003 at 08:08 AM.

  15. #14
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    Here is some I found in their FAQ:

    "18. Are any of these ingredients in Gatorade? What is their function?

    All GATORADE flavors are: wheat-, oat-, rye-and barley-gluten free, lactose free, caffeine free and MSG free.

    Natural flavors
    Gatorade contains natural flavors, which means the flavors are from natural not synthetic sources. NO FRUIT JUICE/NATURAL FLAVORS: Flavor chemists have developed methods to extract flavorings from natural sources. While the fruit flavor is present the actual fruit juice is not an ingredient.

    Ester
    Ester gum is used as a weighting agent, which adjusts the density of the product and helps ensure complete dispersion of the flavor. This weighting agent gives Gatorade its cloudy appearance, which is done for consumer appeal. The amount in Gatorade is extremely small totaling only 1/100 of 1 % of the overall volume. The watermelon flavor of Gatorade has no cloud because no ester gum is present in this flavor.

    Corn
    All Gatorade flavors contain corn products in that they contain corn syrup.

    Sodium citrate
    Sodium citrate is used to regulate tartness. The amount in Gatorade is very small, totaling 1/10 of 1% of the overall volume.

    Monopotassium phosphate
    An isotonic beverage like Gatorade must provide potassium and sodium in a manner compatible with electrolytes in the body. This is a source of potassium."

    http://www.gatorade.com/footer/faq.html#20

  16. #15
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    Here we go:

    http://www.gssiweb.com/pdf/gatorade_bev_chart.pdf

    Just, Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose. It does show other sport drinks that do have malto in them. Ultima is pure malto.

    Also:

    http://www.gssiweb.com/pdf/perfseries.pdf

    They are quoted here saying that:

    "Maltodextrin has no proven performance benefits over other carbohydrates found in a sports drink."

    All taken from here:

    http://www.gssiweb.com/gatoradeproducts/
    Last edited by BobbyRS; 05-20-2003 at 08:26 AM.

  17. #16
    confused by simplicity bradley's Avatar
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    Is that the ingredients for the powdered version? I believe the powdered version has slightly different ingredients than the kind that is in the bottle. I am not really for sure seeing as how I do not drink Gatorade.

  18. #17
    Wannabebig Member BobbyRS's Avatar
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    All the references to it are "Gatorade Thirst Quencher. Whether it is the liquid or powder. It looks as though it appears to be both, but there doesn't appear to be any information regarding the powder except for that they sell it on their online store. My guess is that it is both.

  19. #18
    Senior Member GhettoSmurf's Avatar
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    o well, i know i've taken a gander at the powdered gatorade at the supermarket before. and im pretty sure (almost positive) the first ingredient was dextrose.

    For the liquid gatorade i know the main ingredients are the Sucrose, Glucose, and Fructose.
    "Eat until it hurts dammit! Then eat more. Youll get used to it. I think its like sex for a chick. Sure it hurts the first time, but after a couple rides it just goes in like a glove." -clvmike19

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  20. #19
    Senior Member Fenbay's Avatar
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    The powder is dextrose or maltodextrose. I've got a tub that I use with my pwo whey shake.

  21. #20
    the stone cold stunner Ironman8's Avatar
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    I think the ingrediants in the bottle gatorade was high fructose corn syrup, water, sodium, and some other stuff.
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