The MMT-ST Supplement Timing Theory!

Learn how to change the most commonly overlooked factor that can make the difference between good and great: The timing of taking the right supplements!
If you read the last issue of Planet Muscle you were introduced to a very detailed explanation by both Eric Serrano, M.D., and Jeff Stout, Ph.D., of the critical importance of supplementation to build muscle and strip off fat, especially what should be eaten before and after training.

I would like to add my opinions, strong opinions at that, on what I consider to be substantive details to their suggestions.

If you are training your tail off in the gym, eating 4-6 high quality meals daily, getting rest and sleep and taking supplements, and you find that many others are smoking you in results, you'd better be asking what's up!

While it's critical that you pay careful attention to the 4 pillars of a bodybuilding lifestyle - hard training, high quality whole food nutrition, sufficient rest, and a good overall lifestyle (no smoking, excessive alcohol, etc.), there is one commonly overlooked factor that can make the difference between good and great. That specifically is - the Timing of Taking the Right Supplements!

Consider This Simple Formula

While there is a huge number of choices in respect to potential supplements to use, there is a core group of supplements that have shown solid results in the science labs and gym.

Likewise, while there are many excellent supplement companies to consider, a specially selected group of them has stood the test of time by utilizing a science-based approach without succumbing to the trap of ridiculous marketing hype in order to make themselves and their products appear to be something they're not. There are several supplements that all bodybuilding and strength athletes must consider.

1. Protein / APS - Learn More
(Augmented Protein System)

This is a category, of course, that has warranted many entire articles. The last few issues of Planet Muscle have featured some extremely comprehensive articles on choosing the right protein. I would highly recommend you get a copy and spend some time reading through it to help you sift fact from fiction. I believe a next generation of protein supplements. Augmented Protein System or APS is at the top of anyone's list.

The foundation of an APS is a blend of proteins, often combining as many as six different high-quality sources. The goal being to incorporate both quick absorbing anabolic proteins, such as whey with more moderate or slow-releasing anticatabolic protein, such as egg and casein, to create a "sustained timed-release" effect.

But, it doesn't stop there. An APS should incorporate Aminogen to further maximize the benefits of the protein blend. It might also be fortified with additional Glutamine, Glutamine Peptides (some recognize that the peptide form is 50% more bio-available), and BCAAs for their synergistic roles with protein. Beyond that, look for a full-spectrum blend of vitamins and essential minerals that are added because of their vital roles in human metabolism.

2. BCAAs - Learn More
(Branched Chain Amino Acids)

Metabolized directly by muscle tissue, BCAAs (Leucine, Isoleucine, and Valine) may provide as much as 15%-30% of your total energy during extended workouts (the higher figure exists when one is under constrained metabolic conditions such as low calorie and carb intakes).

Several human studies have shown that the BCAAs, particularly Leucine, act as regulators of protein metabolism by decreasing protein degradation (breakdown) and increasing protein synthesis (the process in which amino acids are linked together by peptide chains forming longer polypeptide chains).

Consuming sufficient quantities of BCAAs before and after training (3-5 grams) helps to increase anabolism1 (growth), delay fatigue, guard against training-induced muscle breakdown (catabolism), and shorten recovery periods.

3. Creatine - Learn More

In the human body, creatine's primary role is to act as a phosphate donor to the adenosine phosphate to make Adenosine Tri-phosphate and ATP is the body's primary energy currency during very short term, explosive activity. Study after study continues to show that creatine allows athletes to train longer, harder, and recover faster.

Consuming 3-5 grams of creatine pre-workout helps to increase the available phosphate pool potentially allowing for increased energy levels during workouts and faster recovery between sets.

The data suggests this enables you to increase your overall workload by handling heavier weights and at the same time extending time to exhaustion. Consuming an additional 3-5 grams of creatine post workout will effectively replace lost or diminished phosphate levels, helping to ensure that your body has sufficient explosive energy stores for your next workout. All of that means bigger muscles.

4. Glutamine - Learn More

Glutamine is a conditionally essential amino acid (CEE) comprising approximately 60% of the free amino acids in skeletal muscle. It is well recognized throughout the athletic community for its positive effects on growth hormone, testosterone, cell volumization, immunity, and protein synthesis in muscle.

Recently, researchers have shown a potential link between the size of the Glutamine "pool" and the rate of protein synthesis in muscle. In other words, more Glutamine equals more potential growth. Shoot for 3-10 grams before and again immediately after training.

5. Carbohydrates - Learn More

For some very erroneous reasons, over the last couple of years carbs have become the bane of bodybuilding and yet good carbs are the key source of energy (fuel) in the human body.

They are of primary importance to bodybuilders and other athletes seeking to maximize lean muscle mass for two reasons. First, they are "protein sparing" which simply means that if the body does not have sufficient carbohydrates present, protein may be used for fuel instead of being used for growth and repair of muscle tissue.

Second, carbs are anti-catabolic. Recent studies have shown that carbs consumed shortly before exercise and again within 0-3 hours post-exercise will strongly help to prevent the breakdown of muscle that occurs with intense exercise and may positively impact overall performance levels. These results are enhanced when carbs are combined with protein too.

For maximum post-workout recovery, all athletes should strive to consume 1 gram of carbohydrates per kilogram (2.2 lbs) of bodyweight within 1-hour after workouts.

6. Aminogen

While some more enlightened doctors may state: "You are what you eat." Perhaps an even more accurate statement is: "You are what you absorb." This is why I add Aminogen to this list.

Aminogen is a patented enzyme system that assists the liberation of free form amino acids from nitrogen in foods and supplements. Controlled laboratory studies using Aminogen have shown this compound to release up to 42% more free form amino acids from intact proteins. This effect should assist your body to effectively build and repair muscle tissue, fight fatigue, and increase energy levels.

Aminogen may also increase the anti-catabolic properties of more rapidly absorbed proteins such as whey, by increasing the circulation time of amino acids inside the body. Look for supplements containing 100 - 250 mg per serving. For products containing Aminogen, click here!

7. Carbogen

This proprietary enzyme system has been clinically proven to provide significantly more useable fuel from long chain polysaccharides (complex carbs) and insoluble fiber than the body would normally be able to access. Consuming Carbogen with complex carbs prior to exercise theoretically will allow you to train longer and more intensely due to increased fuel stores.

Consuming Carbogen with both simple and complex carbs post-workout will speed recovery due to more rapid glycogen replenishment. In addition, individuals seeking to minimize carbohydrate intake -- particularly during dieting - will benefit significantly from Carbogen due to its ability to make available more useable fuel from a limited source. Like its cousin Aminogen, look for supplements containing 50-200 mg per serving.

8. HMB - Learn More
(ß-hydroxy ß-methlybutyrate)

HMB is produced from Leucine (one of the 3 Branched Chain Amino Acids) and its metabolite a-ketoisocaproate (KIC). To date, a number of studies have shown that HMB improves strength, increases lean muscle mass, and reduces muscle damage incurred due to intense exercise.

Anecdotally, many athletes have reported a direct correlation between training intensity and HMB results. In other words, the more intense your training is, the better your results with HMB should be. Human studies have shown that the ideal intake is a minimum of 3 grams daily. Split this in two, half pre-workout and the other half post-workout (especially when combined with creatine) and you might be amazed at what you experience.

9. Methoxy - Learn More
(5-Methyl 7-Methoxy Isoflavone)

This isoflavone (a derivative of soy) has been shown in some preliminary studies to produce a powerful anabolic effect while encouraging body fat reduction. Try 200-600 mg. daily, preferably with protein-rich meals or supplements.

10. ZMAâ„¢ - Learn More
(Zinc Monomethione, Magnesium Aspartate, Vitamin B6)

In a controlled study using well-trained athletes given a nightly dose of this novel formula for an eight-week period, the ZMA group reported strength gains at a rate of 2.5 times greater than the control group. For some unknown reason, the ZMA group showed a 30% increase in testosterone levels versus a 10% decrease in the placebo group.

A very important note is that ZMA is a trademarked material and the only one clinically proven. Using non-ZMA material may or may not produce similar results. A full serving provides 30 mg of zinc, 450 mg of magnesium, and 10 mg of B6.

Now let's start to apply what we've just learned in an effort to help you more effectively match supplements and their timing to your specific training goals.

A: Breakfast (first meal)

    To break the 7-9 hour fast since your last meal and prevent the pursuing catabolic cascade, take:

    • Protein (20-60 grams)
    • Carbs (50-100 grams) or
    • APS
    • Aminogen (100-250 mg)
    • Methoxy (200 mg).

    Products to consider: Optimum Nutrition's Whey MRP, Opti-Pro Meal Bar, Ultimate Nutrition Beta Methoxy Caps, or any mrp.

B: Pre-Workout

    Setup an anabolic / anti-catabolic environment and provide sufficient fuel to carry you through an intense workout. Take:

    • Protein (20-60 grams)
    • Aminogen (100-250 mg)
    • Carbs (50-100 grams)
    • Carbogen (50-200 mg)
    • Glutamine (3-10 grams)
    • BCAAs (2-5 grams)
    • Creatine (3-5 grams)
    • HMB (1.5 grams)

    Products to consider: Optimum Nutrition's GlycoLoad, Optimum Nutrition's Opti-Pro Meal, Pro Complex, CGT10.

C: Post-Workout

    Fuel an anabolic environment, accelerate recovery. Take:

    • Protein (50-60grams)
    • Carbs (50-100 grams)
    • Carbogen
    • Glutamine (3-10 grams)
    • BCAAs (2-5 grams)
    • Creatine (3-5 grams)
    • HMB (1.5 grams)

    Products to consider: Optimum Nutrition's AfterMax, CGT10, and Opti-Pro Meal.

D: Before Bed

    Prevent catabolism of your hard earned muscle. Solution: Fast release protein for quick fuel, casein as anticatabolic agent, take:

    • Protein (20-60 grams combined)
    • Methoxy (200 mg)
    • ZMA

    Products to consider: Optimum Nutrition's Pro Complex, PM Protein (this is a brand new truly nighttime anti-catabolic, casein-based protein formula), Methoxy Caps, Met-Rx APM 60.

E: Between Meals

    Maintain a positive nitrogen balance conducive to growth. Take:

    • Protein / APS
    • Aminogen

    Products to consider: Optimum Nutrition's Pro Complex, Met-Rx APM 60 or, PRD's NitroMiine.

Sample Daily Timed Supplement Program

    7:30 a.m. Whole Food Meal

    • Or Protein / APS
    • Methoxy

    9:00 a.m. Supplements: Protein / APS

    10:30 a.m. Whole Food Meal

    12:00 a.m. Supplements: Protein / APS

    1:30 a.m. Whole Food Meal

    3:00 p.m. Supplements: Protein / APS

    • Methoxy

    4:30 p.m. Whole Food Meal

    6:00 p.m. Supplements (Pre-Workout):

    • Carb / Protein Blend
    • Glutamine
    • Creatine
    • HMB
    • BCAAs

    7:00 p.m. Train

    8:30 p.m. Supplements (Post-Workout):

    • Carb / Protein Blend
    • Glutamine
    • Creatine
    • HMB
    • BCAAs

    9:30 p.m. Whole Food Meal

    11:00 p.m. Supplements:

    • ZMA
    • PM Protein
    • Methoxy

Click Here For A Printable Log Of The Sample Program!

Not everyone has unlimited time and resources to pursue a perfect lifestyle and incorporate every supplement into their program. However, if you look at this as a guideline based on your time and financial budget as well as a goal to shoot for, you will be truly amazed at your improved physique and the days of getting "smoked" will become a distant memory.

Aminogen and Carbogen are registered trademarks of Triarco Industries, Inc. ZMA is a registered trademark of SNAC System.


(1) Am J Physiology Endocrinol Metab, 281:E365-74, 2001.
(2) Am J of Clinical Nutrition, Vol. 54, 866-70, 1991.
(3) J Applied Physiology 81: 2095-2104, 1996.
(4) Brilla, LR and Conte, V. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, Vol. 31, No. 5, May 1999.