We often hear the terminology “nutrient timing” or “anabolic window.” This describes the time period following intense training where the consumption of key nutrients will enhance, dramatically, the muscle recovery and regeneration (growth) process.

Let’s take a look at this window and the importance of getting crucial nutrients into your body during this period.

Why You Absolutely Should Consume Protein, Carbs,
and Creatine After Intense Exercise

We know from research that both protein synthesis and protein breakdown are elevated after exercise and results in a net negative protein balance. This catabolic state will prevail for many hours unless specific actions are taken to shift the body into a predominantly anabolic (muscle-building) state (1).

Nutrient intervention is required to make this metabolic shift happen. This is why consuming carbohydrates and protein soon after exercise is essential for muscle growth to occur. Glucose and amino acids derived from these macronutrients initiate a shift from catabolism (muscle breakdown) to anabolism (muscle growth) by raising blood insulin levels, lowering cortisol and other catabolic hormones, and increasing substrate availability for protein synthesis (2). Another very important factor is creatine uptake into the muscle cell, with this timing strategy, is dramatically increased (5).

The reason behind this is that muscle is highly insulin sensitive after exercise, and there are increased concentrations of glucose, creatine, and amino acid transporters on the sarcolemma surrounding the muscle.

This metabolic significance ensures rapid uptake of blood glucose, creatine, and amino acids, increasing muscle glycogen storage, muscle cell volume, and protein synthesis. Also, increasing insulin is crucial for limiting protein breakdown – catabolism.

Because insulin sensitivity declines with time after exercise as well as the number of glucose and amino acid transporters associated with the sarcolemma, the effectiveness of this nutrient intervention decreases (3) as time passes after your workout. This is why it’s a priority to make these critical nutrients available very soon after your workout. This will increase the rate of protein synthesis and reduce protein degradation, thereby increasing protein accretion and muscle growth (4).

Research is clear that the magnitude of these muscle growth responses will be significantly reduced if supplementation is delayed for several hours. To maximize the results from your training you must address this nutritional opportunity and you must do it correctly and immediately after training.

See Also:
How does calcium affect fat loss and how much calcium would I need to take to enhance fat loss?

What to Supplement and Why

VP2 DGC Micronized CreatineAST Sports Science offers some very unique supplements that have been proven to work in controlled research studies. Studies that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. VP2 Whey Isolate is ideal for feeding your hungry muscles after a Max-OT session. VP2 is research-proven to get into your muscle cells quickly and kickstart the repair and growth process.

DGC is the perfect supplement for driving glucose into your muscles quickly and starting the recovery process. This is ideal to get glucose and restore your glycogen levels in your muscles fast!

Micronized Creatine at this time, combined with VP2 and DGC, takes advantage of this optimized metabolic environment and insulin sensitivity for hyper-transport into the muscle cell. This increases cell volume and triggers protein synthesis at a higher rate. More muscle growth.

The Supplement Strategy . . . 

Immediately after training take a serving of VP2 Whey Isolate, a serving of DGC, and 5-grams of Micronized Creatine. Approximately 90 minutes later take another serving of VP2, DGC, and 5 more grams of Micronized Creatine.

This research-proven supplement strategy will capitalize on the post-workout primed metabolic environment to dramatically speed recovery, eliminate muscle breakdown, and accelerate lean muscle growth.

Take advantage of this window of opportunity following your intense exercise training and take advantage of the science behind AST’s supplements. They are engineered to provide these key benefits for dramatic results.


1. Bird SP, Tarpenning KM, and Marino FE. Effects of liquid carbohydrate/essential amino acid ingestion on acute hormonal response during a single bout of resistance exercise in untrained men. Nutrition 22:367–375
2. Chandler RM, Byrne HK, Patterson JG, and Ivy JL. Dietary supplements affect the anabolic hormones after high resistance exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985) 76: 839–845
3. Ivy JL, Katz AL, Sherman WM, Cutler CL, and Coyle EF. Time of carbohydrate ingestion: Effect on rate of glycogen synthesis after exercise. J Appl Physiol (1985) 64: 1480–1485
4. Levenhagen DK, Gresham JD, Carlson MG, Maron DJ, Borel MJ, and Flakoll PJ. Postexercise nutrient intake timing in humans is critical to recovery of leg glucose and protein homeostasis. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 280:E982–E993
5. Protein- and carbohydrate-induced augmentation of whole body creatine retention in humans. J Appl Physiol: 1165-71

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How to Use Protein, Carbohydrate, and Creatine Timing For Maximum Gains

by Paul C. Henning, Ph.D. CSCS time to read: 4 min