Those wanting fat loss call insulin the “bad” hormone which is making us chubby by inhibiting fat burning and increasing fat storage. Those wanting muscle growth call insulin the “anabolic and anti catabolic phenomenon.” The truth is that insulin is a like a weapon that can hurt you or help you.
So what does it mean? It is considered to be the most anabolic (promotes growth) hormone and it doesn’t care whether it helps with the building of muscle or accumulation of fat.
Upon rising, our fat cells are also “Sensitive to insulin” which means they are more likely to grab up blood sugar and store it as fat. This is why carbs in the morning are not the most beneficial for optimal body composition. We haven’t stimulated muscle tissue overnight and used up muscle glycogen, so there’s no need for carbs otherwise it’s likely to be stored as fat instead of in the muscle.
Insulin’s role is to maintain blood glucose between levels between 80-100mg/dl (normal). Upon ingestion of anything that will raise blood sugar (Protein, fats, carbs, supplements) insulin is secreted by the pancreas to pick up glucose and will circulate the body to find “storage”. Insulin can be stored in 3 different areas.
- Into the muscle as glycogen
Into the liver as glycogen
Adipose tissue (body fats)
- Stimulates muscle protein synthesis – it’s a necessary component to build new tissue
- Anti catabolic, protects hard earned muscle!
- Transports amino-acids into the muscle cells
- Insulin increases the activity of glycogen synthase (in other words it helps storage of glucose in muscle cells, in turn improving performance, recovery, and size of your muscles.)
- Muscle glycogen formation results in a much fuller, denser looking muscle
- Inhibits an enzyme, hormone-sensitive lipase, which is responsible for breaking down body fat. If you can’t break down stored body fat into FFA’s (Free Fatty Acids) you will not get leaner.
- Decreases utilization of fat for energy and makes the body burn carbs for energy.
- Increases the synthesis of fatty acids in the liver, which is the first step in the process of gaining body fat
- Insulin increases the movement of glucose across fat cell membranes and into the fat cells. The breakdown and burning of fat for energy is increased in insulin’s absence.
People have abused carbohydrates for far too long, as well as other macro nutrients, but the problem with abusing carbohydrates is that now the majority of the overweight and obese populations have down regulated:
The body’s ability to use insulin properly; referred to as insulin resistance
Our bodies GSIS (glucose stimulated insulin secretion) which causes our body to push out more insulin to try and drive excess blood sugar into cells
- Beta cell dysfunction is labeled stages 1-5
- Stage one is normal beta cell function (10% of population)
- Stage four is type two diabetic
- Stage five is type one diabetic
The metabolic damage caused by insulin resistance is apparent. To reach body composition goals, this damage needs to be reversed, ultimately leading to restored insulin sensitivity.
Restoring Insulin Sensitivity
- Resistance based weight training – dash higher frequency/higher volume/short recovery. Anaerobic based training
- HIIT – High intensity interval training
- Aerobic-based training
- Periods of low carb dieting(Initial start points)
- 3+ weeks if above 20% body fat, 30% female
- 2+ weeks of between 15-20%, 25% female
- 10 days if 12-15% bf for males, 20-25%
- If under 12% Carb Cycling 2-4x wk
- Supplementation – there’s a lot of supplementation out there to improve insulin sensitivity here are a few of the major ones
- Essentials: zinc, magnesium, d3, omega 3,
- Chromium picolinate
- R-ala, ALA
- Fenugreek seed
- CinnamonGreen tea
- L- carnitine
If you’re interested in learning more about how to eat carbs and use them as a tool, I first recommend getting your Body fat checked so we can have a rough estimate of how many you should be eating.
Secondly I would suggest scheduling a complimentary one on one meeting with one of our Boom Fitness trainers to make a plan.
Learning how to eat carbohydrates at the right times and in the right doses can be a great tool to aid you in favorable body compositional changes. Improving insulin sensitivity is a sure fire way to help you get the lean body you want.