Anabolic environment: harnessing hyperemia and supplementation

Anabolic environment: harnessing hyperemia and supplementation

Training can be used more effectively in terms of muscle volume gain if we reduce its catabolic nature by taking advantage of hyperemia

As you know, training “per se” is a catabolic process (muscle breakdown); growth occurs during rest and with proper nutrition (anabolic process).

What is hyperemia?

By definition, hyperemia (“hyper-” excess; “-emia” blood) is the “increased intravascular blood content of an organ, part of an organ or vascularised tissue”.

Blood flow to tissues is distributed according to their metabolic activity. At rest, the 5 litres of blood available to the average man are distributed in such a way that the kidneys and liver receive most of it, while the muscle tissue receives only 15-20% of the total.

Blood flow

This trend is reversed during physical activity, as can be seen in the figure.

During the exercise, blood flow is redistributed according to the intensity and size of the muscle mass involved

Types of hyperaemia

In our case, we’re always going to be talking about active hyperaemia (arterial), which occurs when the arterial blood supply in a certain area is increased.

This is what usually happens when organs increase their activity and require more oxygen and nutrients.

Increase Muscle Mass

There is another type of hyperemia, called passive or venous hyperemia, which is due to insufficient drainage of venous blood, although this article isn’t going to look at that.

Active muscle hyperaemia appears to be biphasic:
  • PHASE I: immediate and substantial increase in muscle blood flow that stabilizes at 5-7 seconds.
  • PHASE II: Immediately after phase I, a slower adaptation occurs until stabilising at 15-20 seconds.

Leveraging training: intra-training supplementation

In addition to hyperemia due to increased blood flow, training is a scenario that favours muscle catabolism, as there is a negative net protein balance due to the degradation of muscle fibres.

The Intra-Training Supplementation Protocol is highly recommended because:

  • Active muscle hyperemia can be leveraged to bring more nutrients to the muscle at a time when you really need it (catabolism).
  • It reduces the previous catabolic effect, by means of specific compounds that activate anabolic processes.
  • It delays muscle fatigue and reduces metabolic changes that limit performance (waste accumulation).

The best intra-training supplements (based on scientific evidence)

A study by Tipton et al. showed that a carbohydrate shake with essential amino acids consumed immediately before training was more effective than the same shake consumed after training.Increased blood flow to the muscle was also observed when this mixture was consumed before training.

Likewise, supplementation with BCAAs at the rate of 77mg/kg body weight before exercise has been shown to increase arterial and intracellular levels of BCAA during exercise, decreasing catabolism.

Strength training

This same effect, albeit with some delay in time, has been shown if taken during training

It’s important to note that the effects of leucine are enhanced when combined with essential amino acids (EAAs) as leucine alone decreases the concentration of plasma EAAs.

It has also been shown that other supplements such as creatine and beta-alanine promote anabolic signals during training

Intra-training example

Aspects to be taken into account:

  • Time
  • Your body state (fasting or post-prandial)
  • Objectives, training intensity, duration, etc…

Broadly speaking, an example could be:

  • Dextrose: 0.75g/kg body weight.
  • BCAAs: 77mg/kg body weight.
  • EAAs: 77-85 mg/kg body weight.
  • Creatine: 80 mg/kg body weight.
  • Beta-alanine: 45-60 mg/kg body weight.


  1. Calderón Montero, FJ. Fisiología del deporte(2ª edición). Ed. TÉBAR, S.L., Madrid, año 2007.
  2. Chicharro JL, Fernandez Vaquero A. Fisiología del Ejercicio (3ª ed). Ed. Panamericana, Madrid, 2006
  3. Coombes JS, McNaughton LR. Effects of branched-chain amino acid supplementation on serum creatine kinase and lactate dehydrogenase after prolonged exercise. J Sports Med Phys Fitness. 2000;40:240–6.
  4. Jacob M. Wilson. Leucine’s General Effects on Muscle Growth and Protein Balance. Journal of HYPERPLASIA Research 6(3): Published August 3, 2006
  5. Kevin D. Tipton et al. Timing of amino acid-carbohydrate ingestion alters anabolic response of muscle to resistance exercise. Am J Physiol Endocrinol Metab 281:197-206, 2001.
  6. Michael E. Tschakovsky and Don D. Sheriff.  Immediate exercise hyperemia: contributions of the muscle pump vs. rapid vasodilation J Appl Physiol 97:739-747, 2004
  7. Shimomura, Y., Y. Yamamoto, G. Bajotto, et al. Nutraceutical effects of branched-chain amino acids on skeletal muscle. J. Nutr. 136:529S-532S, 2006.

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Review for this Post

Knowledge about Hyperemia - 100%

Tips on intra-training supplementation - 100%

Intra-Train Supplements - 100%

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About Mario Muñoz
Mario Muñoz
Mario Muñoz is an enthusiast in the field of research, as reflected in each of his articles published with excellent scientific rigour.
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