Insulin is secreted by the beta cells of the pancreases and is a growth hormone. It plays an important role in the metabolism of fat and carbohydrates and is has an essential role immediately following a workout. Insulin also enhances the uptake of glucose into skeletal muscle, liver and fat cells. When it comes to bodybuilding insulin hormone too plays a crucial role in building better physique as it is an anabolic hormone. Furthermore, is not only thought to be a fat storage or anabolic hormone but it also has an vital role in suppressing your appetite. However, insulin has a bad side too. It contributes to an increase in unwanted fat in the body. Insulin plays a role in burning of body fat as a fuel source but when insulin levels are high it prevents the use of fat as body fuel. On the other hand a low level of insulin is related with enhanced fat burning capacity.
Additionally, Insulin is also essential to regulate a lot of the processes inside our body and without insulin many of the body processes will go unregulated. Such as, muscle protein breakdown will accelerate through a process called as proteolysis. The extra circulating protein in the blood will be converted to glucose through a process known as gluconeogenesis, and the end result is increase levels of blood glucose (hyperglycemia). Break down of fat (lypolysis) will also be elevated resulting in excess of ketones bodies circulating in the blood resulting in ketoacidosis, which if left unchecked can be fatal.
Hence, insulin’s chief role is that of a regulator and not of a fat storage or anabolic hormone. Besides this, insulin enhances the uptake of glucose into the cells and is not really essential to transport glucose to tissues. Glucose is transported into the cell through the transporter GLUT4. Hence, glucose can get to tissues, even without insulin.
We all know the importance of glycogen/glucose (complex/simple carbs) of our overall health and gym performance. After exercise, insulin sensitivity is high but for glucose transportation in to the cells GLUT4 is the major transporter responsible. And exercise is the most powerful stimulus to turn on the GLUT4 expression.
This has a role after exercise in insulin action and muscle glycogen storage. Still, the more you go after exercise, further this effect decreases. Therefore it’s a good idea to drink carb rich beverage immediately after the workout as it will play an important role in stimulating the action of insulin and storage of muscle glycogen after exercise. It’s very beneficial as most of the calories consumed soon after the workout get favourably into skeletal muscle, which in turn aids in better adaptation from training. Nevertheless, it does not indicate that you will lose your muscle mass if you don’t. In the end, the amount of total calories which are consumed takes the priority over timing of nutrients.