Perhaps it's just the competitive nature of the people who pursue weight lifting as a hobby or a lifestyle, but it seems that those who engage in resistance training on a regular basis are constantly looking for the edge. Whether it's a new workout regimen, a secret "power food", or an unheard-of, highly effective exercise, hardcore weight training enthusiasts are willing to try something new if it means better results in less time. That's why you'll often see people working out as often as possible, for as long as possible. In fact, if some people had their way, they'd probably hit the gym in their sleep if it was going to help (note: it won't).
Speaking of sleep, though - that is a very important factor in building muscle and losing fat. Numerous studies have shown that getting proper rest can help you build muscle by enhancing recovery and giving your metabolism a bit of a break. And sleep is beneficial for fat loss too, as several hormones are released during slumber that regulate metabolism. And let's face it - if you're sleeping at night, you're not out getting "fourth meal" at Taco Bell. So how can you access all of the wonders sleep has to offer? If you have trouble getting to sleep, you may want to check out a GABA supplement. Recent research has shown that GABA can aid your muscle-building efforts by increasing your hormonal response to exercise.
GABA is a shorter name for gamma-aminobutyric acid, an amino acid classified as a nuerotransmitter. The supplement works via the same pathways as many sleeping pills, but has an added bonus - enhancing release of growth hormone. Because of this tendency, researchers from Shenandoah University investigated what happens when weight training athletes take GABA in conjunction with workouts, rather than at bedtime.
The scientists had participants engage in a workout session that targeted all major muscle groups but lasted just 15 minutes. In order to tell which effects were from the GABA and which were from training alone, the scientists had the participants engage in the workout once without supplementing the GABA, and administered GABA without a workout to serve as a control. After taking measurements and comparing the conditions, the researchers found impressive results - the GABA supplementation amplified the exercise-induce growth hormone increase nearly five times. Such an increase could mean a significant increase in lean muscle mass if the combination is a regular occurrence. One wonders what a combination of GABA at bed time and at workout time could mean for muscle gain.
ME Powers et al. Growth hormone isoform responses to GABA ingestion at rest and after exercise. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise; 40(1):104-110