If you’re wondering whether you need to dring a shake during your workout as well as after, the answer is yes (well, if you want to bulk quickly).
Your muscles fueled through a substance called adenosine triphosphate (ATP).
The fuel has three sources – phosphocreatine, glycogen, and oxygen. And it uses them in that order.
But creatine only lasts about six seconds or so. Then glycogen takes on the job. But it’s here where it starts to hurt.
The chemical conversion from glycogen releases lactic acid – and it’s a build up of this that gives you that burning sensation.
These two energy sources are anaerobic – they don’t need you to get out of puff. But as your body calls in the third source of energy – oxygen – you get breathless, and your blood whizzes round your body to ship out the lactic acid and relieve the oxygen debt.
This rush of blood by the way, causes the muscle to swell, which is why hear about ‘muscle pump’.
Anyhow, back to why drinking a shake when you train will get you bigger, quicker.
It’s easy: the more creatine your body has available, the more likely you are to push out that last rep (you are putting creatine in your shakes, right?)
It’s the same with glycogen. The more fast and snappy fuel it’s got to convert (carbos), the more ‘damage’ you’ll do to your muscles in the lift.
And don’t forget, that’s what you want – it’s your muscles literally tearing that makes them bigger, because your body builds them back bigger to stop it happening again.
Suppose this blog also sows how important it is to get the intensity right (don’t stress your muscles and you’ll get nowhere) and how important recovery is (rip up your muscles before they’ve repaired themselves and they aren’t going to grow any).