Insulin Sensitivity And Your Physique

Hey! Thought I would drop a note about fat loss and muscle gain…so, it’s time to deal you a hand of tips and tricks to improve the way you look or how you feel. 



Insulin sensitivity is crucial to body composition. Being insulin sensitive – as opposed to insulin resistant – will help you pack on the muscle and drop the fat. 

How’s that possible? 

Pretty simple. 

Without going too much into the boring physiology, the insulin sensitivity of a structure or tissue refers to how it responds to insulin. If a tissue has a high degree of insulin sensitivity, it’ll respond easily to insulin so that only a small amount is needed to do the job. It also means that if one tissue is more sensitive to insulin than another, it’ll respond to a greater degree. 

Basically, if your muscles have a higher level of insulin sensitivity than your fat cells, the nutrients you eat will be preferentially shuttled to your muscles. 

This is because insulin is the hormone that tells the body’s storing facilities to open up. The three main facilities are the muscles, adipocytes (fat cells), and liver. If one of these facilities responds more effectively to insulin, then it’ll accept more of the incoming nutrients. 

Insulin is like a flow of keys running through your body looking for locks to unlock. The main storing facilities all have locks, and when insulin comes into contact with these locks, it opens up the door to the facility, allowing the nutrients to flow in. Now, if a facility has more doors, then insulin will unlock more doors, and as a result more nutrients will come in. 

If your muscles have more locks than your fat cells, that’s a damn good thing. When insulin is released, you’ll shuttle more of the ingested nutrients into your muscles, and less will be left to be stored in fat cells. The end result? You’re one big, ripped sumbitch. 

In the opposite situation, where your fat cells have more locks, you’ll have an easier time storing fat and building muscle will be that much harder. A bodybuilder’s worst nightmare!  

Muscle insulin sensitivity depends on several factors. Genetics do play a role, but so does your current physical condition, activity level, and nutritional approach. 

For example, the leaner you are, the more your muscles will be sensitive to insulin (fatter individuals have, you guessed it, more sensitive fat cells). Someone with more muscle mass will also be more insulin sensitive simply because there’s more tissue to put locks on. 

So, right off the bat, if you’re adding muscle, you’re bettering your insulin situation. Similarly, if you lean down to under 10% body fat, you’ll also increase your muscle’s sensitivity. 

Physical activity also plays a role in insulin sensitivity of various tissues. When you’re inactive, which is most of the day, your fat cells increase their insulin sensitivity (not good) and your muscles reduce theirs (not good either). Right after a bout of intense physical activity, especially strength training, the situation is the opposite: Your muscles become sensitive (which is the reason why post-workout nutrition is so important) and fat cells become less. 


See, your body is thrifty and adjusts itself depending on the current demands. If you’re inactive, your muscles aren’t tired, and they don’t need to be repaired or refuelled. So, in the name of survival, the body puts priority on storing energy for the long-term (fat). On the other hand, right after hard physical work, the priority switches to restoring the expended energy and repairing the damaged muscle. These things require energy and nutrients. So, the body increases muscle insulin sensitivity to divert more of the energy flow to the muscles, where it’s needed the most. 

With all of that accounted for, it’s easy to see that a muscular, lean, and active individual handles insulin better than a skinny-fat sedentary clerk! 

Okay, so what’s the trick? Is it simply to “get muscular, lean, and train hard?” 

Not really. 

Being more insulin sensitive after a workout is a given. What we want to do to improve body composition is to make your muscles more insulin sensitive throughout the day. 

Obviously, this means limiting carb intake when inactive, especially cutting out “bad carbs” like sugar. But,here are four simple and cheap steps you can take to switch the daily balance toward a better body: 

  1. Use one or two tablespoon(s) of ground cinnamon prior to every meal (and mix it in your shakes). Cinnamon, on top of having a myriad of other health benefits, improves insulin sensitivity, insulin management, and glucose disposal. It doesn’t contain any calories, has a high level of several minerals, as well as fiber, and tastes great! But, don’t go twisting that. I’m talking about adding cinnamon to your meals, not cinnamon buns! 
  2. Use one teaspoon of apple cider vinegar with every meal. (Don’t mix it into your shakes, though; the stuff tastes horrible!) Just like cinnamon, apple cider vinegar is a great natural and cheap way to improve the insulin sensitivity of your muscles. 
  3. Use a fish oil supplement. I can’t believe that with all the data supporting fish oil’s health and body composition benefits, there are still people not using it. It boggles my mind. For body composition purposes, a good dose is one gram of fish oil per percent of body fat. If you’re 15% body fat, then 15 grams of fish oil per day would fit the bill. This refers to a normal fish oil, which usually has around 300 to 400 mg of combined EPA/DHA per gram.  
  4. Increase your fiber intake. Fiber slows down gastric emptying and thus the rate at which nutrients enter the bloodstream. In turn, this leads to a reduced insulin spike, which will help prevent storing nutrients into the fat cells. I recommend ingesting a lot of green veggies with every main meal and putting a fiber supplement in non-post-workout shakes (if you have any). You also can’t go wrong with an apple in the morning. 



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