T Nation

Thibaudeau's Amino Pulsing Protocol


I've been following CT's posts regarding hperaminoacidemia, i.e. achieving a positive nitrogen balance via amino acid pulsing.
This is an interesting development for me personally since I'm currently on Berardi's GSD, where some meals are replaced with BCAAs.
CT appears to advocate whey and leucine as optimum tools for achieving this. I've pasted the collected posts by CT below, which includes sample formulas: -


The approach that DH talked about is pretty effective. In fact it's something I presented a few years ago when I talked about the strategy of consuming 5-10g of BCAAs 5 times a day between meals.

However from the current research it is not the optimal approach.

YES pulsing essential amino acids or BCAAs (heck, you could pulse only leucine and it would work) is effective at initiating the protein synthesis mechanism.

HOWEVER since the EAA or BCAAs are not complete protein, protein synthesis (the actual act of building muscle) will be sub-optimal because you will not have a large amount of all the amino acids present in the blood when the protein synthesis mechanism is activated.

YES there is likely a small amount of each of the amino acids still present in the blood from the previous solid meal (which can actually be problematic... for maximum results you want to go from almost no amino acids in the blood to a ton of it real quickly) but not at levels high enough to maximize anabolism.

But the real problem is a lack of insulin release. You can stimulate the protein synthesis processes as much as you want, if you cannot transport the amino acids into the muscle, you will not be able to optimally build muscle tissue.

A better approach is to pulse a complete protein. But one that is fast-absorbed enough to cause a state of hyperaminoacidemia AND release insulin. CASEIN HYDROLYSATE is the fastest absorbed protein, because it is broken into peptides, di-peptides and tri-peptides. Some info even suggest that CH is absorbed faster than free-form amino acids.

Furthermore, CH is insulinogenic, meaning that it stimulates the release of insulin. Because of these two reasons, pulsing with CH would be much more anabolic than using EAA.

Whey hydrolysate can also do the job as it is fast enough to cause a state of hyperaminoacidemia, but the faster the better... so CH will be superior to basically anything you can find.

....contrary to what is generally believed, to maximize growth WE DO NOT WANT A CONSTANT TRICKLE OF AMINO ACIDS. This actually lead to protein oxydation and a DECREASE in protein synthesis! YES, you breakdown less muscle tissue, BUT you elevate the enzymes responsible for oxydizing (wasting) amino acids. So although you are breaking down less tissuem you are also building less tissue.

In some situations you WANT that to happen (before bedtime to avoid catabolism during the night's fast) but if you want to build as much muscle as possible you actually want periods where there is roughly no amino acids in the blood followed by quick surges in amino acids. For maximum results both need to happen. And the more often you go from super low to super high, the more muscle you'll build.

If you have too many solid protein, especially of the kind that is slowly digested and absorbed, you will reduce you potential muscle growth.

HOWEVER solid protein sources have the upper hand when dieting down because it will prevent muscle breakdown/loss. As a reminder, constant blood aminos = less muscle being built and less muscle being broken down... amino acid peaks and valleys = more muscle being built and potentially more muscle being broken down (this is why we also need periods where solid food is ingested).

The approach I recommend is:

  1. PARA-WORKOUT (this is KEY): we want a peak right before and right after training. So super fast absorbed protein like casein or whey hydrolysate is needed. If you are not dieting down, some fast-absorbed carbs will enhance the effect by stimulating the release of insulin.

  2. 1 hour after your workout: you want a second amino peak/surge to maximize the anabolic response to training. So again, casein or whey hydrolysate.

  3. Immediately upon waking up: you want an amino peak/surge to quickly reverse the body's state from catabolism to anabolism. You should actually take you casein or whey hydrolysate alone (no solid food) when you wake up, or with some carbs (if you are not dieting down). If you are on a low-carbs diet, wait 20-30minutes after your shake to have your breakfast.

These are your main pulse/surge times. Depending on when you train you might have time for another surge during the day.

  1. Before bed you want solid protein that is slowly absorbed to have a constant trickle of aminos during the night. YES casein MICELLAR might be slow enough, but solid food is the number one choice here.

  2. You can have another solid protein meal for lunch PROVIDED THAT YOUR TRAINING SESSION IS AT LEAST 3-4 HOURS AWAY.

NOTE that solid meals being constituted of rapidly absorbed protein sources like pork tenderloins and egg whites will have a lesser negative impact; they are not as likely to cause protein oxydation.


My protocol is as follows:

60 minutes before workout = 0.2g of BCAAs per pound

30 minutes before workout = 1 (or 2 if the volume is very high) scoop Workout fuel

During the workout = Anaconda (hopefully available soon) which does contain casein hydrolysate among other ingredients, 2-3 scoops depending on volume

Post-workout: Surge recovery 2 scoops if during a mass gaining phase, 1 scoop if during a fat loss phase

60 minutes post-workout: Anaconda 1 scoop or 20g casein hydrolysate... poor man's version would be 1 scoop of Surge Recovery, but only if you are on a mass gaining phase... poor poor man't version would be whey protein at 1 or 2 scoops.


20g of casein hydrolysate
5g leucine

BREAKFAST (20-30 minutes later)
8-10 egg whites
200g berries

SNACK (3 hours after breakfast)
20g of casein hydrolysate OR 30g of whey hydrolysate
5g leucine

LUNCH (90-120 minutes after snack)
200g pork tenderloin or 10 egg whites
1 cup rice or 1 potatoe

SNACK (3 hours after snack)
20g of casein hydrolysate OR 30g of whey hydrolysate
5g leucine

OPTION 1 (if dinner is at least 2 hours after your workout)
300g red meat
Big salad with olive oil

OPTION 2 (if dinner is prior to your workout... but in that case it has to be at least 2 hours prior)
200g pork tenderloin or 10 egg whites
1 cup rice or 1 potatoe

2 whole eggs
100g cottage cheese or 1 scoop low-carbs Metabolic Drive
Green veggies

To that you tack on the para-workout strategy explained in my prior post.

*NOTE: someone who is LEAN (under 10%), is in a mass-gaining phase, and can't afford or find casein hydrolysate, can use 1 scoop of SURGE RECOVERY instead of the casein hydrolysate (since SR is whey hydrolysate and some BCAAs plus some carbs).

*NOTE 2: I recommend one low-protein day per week (non-training day) where you only protein (in a signficant amount) during the last two meals of the day (solid food)."


Yes. I agree with that.

I was doing something similar by accident. Used a product with likes of CH pre and then post-workout. I have been gaining strength while on a very low calorie diet where I have been losing fat.

It works!


ok, this has caught my interest.

casein hydrolysate is ridiculously expensive, something like $28/lb. makes me shudder at how expensive Anaconda is gonna be.

The whey hydrolysate is more affordable I think, but still not a cheap protocol by any means.

I might give this a shot with BCAAs/Leucine and whey isolate, gotta do some more reading first though.


lookin over preliminary numbers, isnt protein incredibly high on a protocol like this? 4 meals + peri WO nutrition + several "pulses" throughout the day seems like really high protein. Also, what would total calories for a day like this look like? Is that 10% hypothetical case 10% 180 lbs or 10% 220 lbs?


Calories don't need to be too high, and apparently if you're using something like BCAAs or Casein Hydrolysate, you don't need but maybe 12-20 grams for an effective "pulse."


At ~$15/lb for whey hydrolysate, a 30g serving is only $1, which is about what a normal serving of food protein would cost.


Thanks for this 007. Anyone know how much faster CH is absorbed compared to whey isolate? Also, why have we gone from having the majority of BCAA's peri-workout to 60 mins before. My understanding is that they are extremely quickly absorbed bypassing the liver and small intestine?


I can't pretend to explain the science, but when I posted the question to CT he was adamant that CH, or even some form of impact whey, was a better option than powder essential aminos, BCAAs, etc.
I can't source CH where I am but have sourced a very reasonable pre-digested whey powder and plan to experiment with that.


Have you smelled the Leucine yet?? LOL



Interesting. Thanks for posting that man.



So you're on the 'leucine better than bcaa' bandwagon as well (at least peri-workout). Any reason?


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


Ok so you're not too concerned about side-tracking from the 4:1:1 ratio that we've been brainwashed into


Yeah, Thib's said if you're not on a low carb diet you can pulse with SURGE Recovery since it is whey hydrolysate. This info made my taste buds happy.


This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.


What's the reasoning behind the low-protein day he talks about?


Hi mate,

I've been trying to apply this amino pulsing protocol to my daily routine and would love some advice on it if you or anyone else could offer some.

My normal routine during the week is get up around 6.45/7am leave my flat by 7.25am, I have about a 1hr commute to work on the train, get to work around 8.30am and have breafast which I take in with me.

My normal breakfast is a shake with 40g of a whey iso/egg white/micellar casein blend and 50g of Organic Museli/Porridge.

My question is should I have 5-7g L-Leucine before I leave my flat and then have my breakfast 1 hour later when I get to work or should I wait until I get to work then have the 5-7g of L-Leucine wait 20mins then have my breakfast? I guess neither is optimal but which is more optimal?

Also if I have access to Surge Recovery, BCAAs, L-Leucine and Casein Hydro which would be best for Pulsing and how much should I be looking to use?

Thanks for your time


007, just wondering if it would be even worth it to use hydrolized whey instead of CH, knowing that it's a slower protein but also cheaper. 37$ for 30 servings 3 times per day not including 20g during workout = less than 10 servings. Which will really hurt the wallet, should I suck it up and go with the CH? WH will be less effective but if timed right I should still see results right?




I'd like to see the scientific reports that it is slower by any appreciable amount. Then, even before that, I'd like to see the scientific reports that conclude that a protocol such as amino acid pulsing is more effective at building muscle.