Want gains? Fuel, protect, and reload muscle immediately prior to, during, and immediately after training. Here’s how.
"To gain muscle quickly you've got to slam your fist on the anabolic button and jack up protein synthesis at very specific times. You've got to pound protein and carbs and hit the weights hard."
Lonnie Lowery, PhD, uses aggressive verbs when he's psyched, and you have to resist the urge to do the same. The terms "hammer" and "throw-down" may be on the tip of your tongue, but you must keep them in. It's cool when he says it; you, however, will sound like an idiot.
Interviewing Lowery is like chasing a half-musclehead, half-genius around in a circle while he yells at you over his shoulder. You have to keep up, and make him stop to repeat whole sentences in layman's terms every time you hear something you think could be interesting.
The dude spouts off studies like I spout off names of women I want to sleep with — they're always on his mind, readily available for any conversation.
A typical Lowery sentence:
"Darryn Willoughby and his colleagues showed that pre- and post-workout amino acids showed much better results than just a carbohydrate placebo for increasing muscle protein synthesis and anabolism."
Yeah. Crazy smart.
And when you finally get him cornered and calmed down, he hits you with this:
"If guys would simply load up on carbs and protein before their training sessions, take in high-quality amino acids during their workouts, and have another solid meal post-workout, they'd take advantage of the most anabolic time of the day and build serious muscle."
We know this as the 3rd Law, the simplest and most effective way to build muscle quickly.
In fact, we'd go so far as to say that all you need to build slabs of muscle is two measly hours of laser-like focus, the willingness to kick ass in the weight room, and high-quality nutrients delivered at the right times.
The only question is, are you really committed to growing muscle?
The Beauty of the 3rd Law of Muscle
So what exactly did Lowery mean with his last sentence, "...take advantage of the most anabolic time of the day?"
Well, when it comes to protein synthesis — the necessary reaction that must happen to build muscle — the hormone insulin plays a huge role. Simply, the higher you spike insulin, the more protein synthesis will occur, and the more muscle you can build.
According to Lowery there are two things that can raise insulin sensitivity: eating and training.
"Training by itself won't maximize protein synthesis," says Lowery. "Neither will just eating. But if you combine the two, you'll build muscle as quickly as humanly possible."
Of all the anabolic hormones in your body, insulin is under such dramatic control that eating lots of carbs and protein in the peri-workout window isn't just smart, it's imperative.
"I say this at every conference and lecture I give," says Lowery. "Peri-workout nutrition is the most important advancement in sports nutrition in 15 years. That's why it's so much fun talking with Tim Patterson and Biotest — they're on the leading edge of this stuff way before anyone else."
The Three Laws of Muscle, Revisited
The 1st Law of Muscle is to design and implement the best training program for your goals. The 2nd Law is to rest and recover. Most guys have those nailed.
But it's the 3rd Law that is perhaps the most critical step:
To guarantee the greatest gains from training, consume the precise compounds required to fully fuel, protect, and reload muscle — which can only be done immediately prior to, during, and immediately after training.
And the coolest part? If you take advantage of the 3rd Law, you can pretty much kick back and relax the rest of the day.
How's that possible?
Think of it this way: if you buckle down for two hours, feed your body high-quality protein and carbs, spike insulin, train hard, and re-feed your body afterward, you're almost guaranteeing that every amino acid is getting pumped straight into your muscles. You've created the ultimate anabolic environment, and, if you're following the super-effective Plazma™.
Unless you plan on finishing the day by drinking a full bottle of Jager, running a half-marathon, and pulling an all-nighter, there's almost no way you can't grow muscle.
Compare that to the guy who eats a banana, trains, and then has a low-quality, questionable protein shake, and you can quickly tell who's going to get the body he wants faster.
But I Read That My Body Can Only Process 30 Grams of Protein Per Meal!
Lowery read that too, and he's not happy.
"I have no idea where that notion came from," says Lowery. "My guess is that they took a 180-pound guy, gave him one gram of protein per pound of bodyweight, and divided that by six meals to get 30 grams per meal. And for some reason, people seem to think that it's the 'magic' number. It's just not correct."
According to Lowery, the human body is very good at digesting proteins. "Over 90 percent of most proteins get digested," he says. "The real determinant is: What happens after your blood gets all the amino acids in there? It's not necessarily how much you can get in your bloodstream, but how much protein your muscles take in and use."
And to do that, you need a training-induced release of growth hormone and Testosterone.
"The more anabolic hormones you can spike — insulin being the one directly under your control — the more you'll stimulate protein synthesis, and the more muscle you'll gain," says Lowery.
I'm Going To Take Advantage of the 3rd Law. All I Need is Chocolate Milk and Rice Cakes, Right? Right?
Sure, if you're in kindergarten, enjoy low-quality protein, shit-loads of sugar, and cardboard. We're talking about building muscle here, pal, not packing on fat or putting sub-standard ingredients in our bodies.
"Despite what the dairy industry wants you to believe, you need more specialized types of carbs and protein to get the most benefit," says Lowery. To take full advantage of the 3rd Law, you need quality ingredients.
The Perfect Carbs
According to Lowery, the perfect blend of carbs to consume before a workout should be insulinogenic (spikes insulin), but not anything containing straight sugar or high-fructose corn syrup.
"I'm all for special dextrins [like the rice oligodextrin found in Finibar™ Competition Bar that will support high-level performance," he says. "You can't just sit down and have a giant bowl of Applejacks."
The Perfect Protein
For protein, Lowery's a fan of hydrolysates [like the casein hydrolysate found in Plazma™, which are proteins that enter the blood stream quickly and significantly increase the rate of protein synthesis.
"Remember, the faster the amino acids hit the bloodstream and more protein synthesis you create, the better off you'll be," says Lowery.
Only for the Fully Committed
If you want to gain muscle faster than ever before, you need a great training program and peri-workout protocol.
To see the full effects of the 3rd Law, we suggest following the I, Bodybuilder training program and Plazma™ Protocol.
"Rapid gains are optimized when the right workout is combined with plentiful nutrients in the peri-workout period," says Lowery. "Neither workouts alone nor eating alone can do the job."
According to Lowery, it's a very symbiotic relationship.
"Muscular contractions with heavy weight stimulate protein synthesis," he says. "Insulin and leucine also act to increase protein synthesis and reduce protein breakdown. Put the two together and good things happen. Under the right circumstances of anabolic agents and heavy bodybuilding, I've personally seen guys gain nearly a pound of (mostly lean) mass per day for short periods."
To gain muscle fast, you must take advantage of the 3rd Law of Muscle and get the right amount of quality nutrients in your body in the peri-workout window.
And, you can't drink chocolate milk and eat sugary cereal to get the same effect. That's not the 3rd Law of Muscle. That's eating crappy food. You need quality nutrients from specialized carbs like rice oligodextrin, and specialized proteins like casein hydrolysate.
The Two Most Important Hours of Your Day
Usually, two hours doesn't get you much (except maybe enough time to watch a crappy movie). But if you can buckle down for two hours, spike insulin with high-quality nutrients to create protein synthesis, and train your ass off, you can pretty much kick back the rest of the day, confident that your body is building muscle as you relax.
Now who wouldn't want that?