Insulin is one of many hormones that helps the body turn the food we eat into energy. Also, insulin helps us store energy that we can use later. After we eat, insulin works by causing sugar (glucose) to go from the blood into our body's cells to make fat, sugar, and protein. When we need more energy between meals, insulin will help us use the fat, sugar, and protein that we have stored. This occurs whether we make our own insulin in the pancreas gland or take it by injection.
8 Years ago when I first made the decision to try insulin, information was limited, the internet was not full of help like it is now and I relied on correspondance from Rich Gaspari and Tim Belknap who were extremely helpful. I started my first insulin use off season, during bulking when it's use is easiest to control. I used Humulin R, regular resonse time insulin for my first cycle. It has a release time of up to 8 hours, so blood sugar monitoring is mandatory. It has an onset of about 1/2 hour, reaching its peak in 2-5 hours and tapering off by hour 8. I used 2iu post workout with 20 grams of sugar per iu, immediately following a workout, increasing 2 iu per week until I reached a maximum of 12iu. Since it will remain active in the body for up to 8 hours, morning workouts were a must. Because I was off season, I was able to take in enough carbs every three hours to keep from going hypo.
My second cycle of insulin was Humulin type L, which is a very long acting insuling; since I was bulking, I decided to try a long acting insulin to stay anabolic all day. It will remain active in the body for 16-20 hours, is active 1/2 hour after injection, reaching its peak in 3-5 hours, will re-peak at 10-12 hours and slowly taper down. You must use a glucometer for any insulin use, but especially with long term insulin. I had to consume minimum 100 grams of carbs every 3 hours during the day, I got nothing but fat off of insulin type L and do not ever recommend anyone use it. It is too hard to control.
I did many cycles of Humulin R for years, progressing from 2iu up to 20iu post workout. After many post workout only cycles of insulin, I started to experiment with insulin use on non-workout days. I again started slowly and increased dosages with monitoring by glucometer. I used only with breakfast at first and then added in an afternoon injection as well. I never went above 10iu at each meal, always checking my blood sugar every 1/2 hour. Yes your fingers will hurt like hell, but I would rather have sore fingers than live in a casket.
Finally Humalog was introduced and I first tried it in 1999. This is what bodybuilders had been waiting for, a fast acting insulin that had a quick onset, short duration and was better controlled through sugar intake. My first cycle of Humalog started with the again customary 2iu postworkout, slowly increasing to 10iu post workout. Humalog has an onset of 15-20 minutes, reaches a peak in 1 hour and will remain active up to 5 hours.
I only recommend Humalog use for anyone considering insulin. It is the easiest to control and work with. Here are my recommendations and guidelines for use:
Start with 2iu postworkout only, drinking 10 grams glucose or dextrose per unit injected. You may slowly increase the dose up to 10iu total but never exceed 10iu, even if you are experienced. You must, I repeat, must use a glucometer, don't even think of using insulin without it. Going by feel for symptoms of hypo is stupid and reckless. You want to make sure your blood sugar levels stay above 80mg/dl ideally, but never let them drop below 40.
Since humalog is active for up to 5 hours, you must make sure not to take it after evening workouts, unless you will be awake for those 5 hours. Insulin levels can crash rapidly and there are no warning signs when you are sleeping. Low levels will make you sleepy, so you just won't wake up - ever!
Your postworkout meal should consist of minimum 10 grams sugar per iu injected plus minimum 50 grams whey protein. Your follow up meal, 1 hour after injection, when it reaches its peak, should consist of easily digested proteins and carbs. No red meat; fish, chicken or turkey are more easily digested. Carbs should be high glycemic, such as potatoes, white rice or pasta.
Your final meal during the 5 hour window can be anything you desire as long as it has a minimum of 75 grams carbs. Oatmeal, red meat etc are all acceptable, and your carbs should ideally be low glycemic to sustain your stabilizing insulin levels.
Insulin should be refridgerated at all times; though it is safe to leave at room temperature for up to 30 days, I don't recommend it.
Your injections should always be sub-q, IM injections do not allow for the regular onset times and delay onset which makes controlling carbs and monitoring sugar levels harder to do.
Ideally injections should be in the lower abdominal area, sub-q. Pinch 1 inch of skin, roll in between your fingers to remove fatty deposits and inject at a 90 degree angle crossing through the skin. This will insure an optimal sub-q injection and less chance of IM or fat injections. Both will slow absorbtion time which we are trying to eliminate.
Take a glucometer reading 1/2 hour after injection to check levels. If they are below 80mg/dl than take in more carbs immediately, take another glucometer reading after the one hour mark to check full onset and reaction. Again, if below 80mg than take in a fast acting carb with your one hour meal.
Signs of hypo include, dizziness, slow slurred speech, light-headedness, sleepiness, lethargy, numbness in the outer limbs, and blurred vision. Never take insulin unsupervised, alway let someone you know that you are injecting so they can help monitor warning signs and symptoms. Remember, the glucometer is your best friend, but someone else may notice symptoms before you do and can assist in raising blood sugar levels immediately.
You may progress to taking Humalog on non-workout days, but only after breakfast, and no more than 10iu. You must work up to the dosage and again follow the above guidelines. Your meals should consist of a mix of fast and slow acting carbs, and always include protein. Milk has fast acting carbs, oatmeal is low glycemic, etc. always use the glycemic index for carbs.
These are the general rules of taking insulin safely and sanely. Again, I do not recommend the casual lifter take insulin ever, it is better left to those who compete and have reached a superior level of development. It is best used to break plateaus, such as with GH or IGF. It is not for newbies, nor for those without minimum 5 years lifting experience with steroid use.