During the s, the use of anabolic steroids was openly discussed, partly due to the fact they were legal. McMahon wanted to bring WWF -style showmanship and bigger prize money to the sport of bodybuilding. A number of IFBB stars were recruited but the roster was never very large and featured the same athletes competing; the most notable winner and first WBF champion was Gary Strydom. Reasons for this reportedly included lack of income from the pay-per-view broadcasts of the contests, slow sales of the WBF's magazine Bodybuilding Lifestyles later WBF Magazine , and the expense of paying multiple six-figure contracts while producing two TV shows and a monthly magazine.
Olympia contest. In the early 21st century, patterns of consumption and recreation similar to those of the United States became more widespread in Europe and especially in Eastern Europe following the collapse of the Soviet Union. This resulted in the emergence of whole new populations of bodybuilders from former Eastern Bloc states. It obtained full IOC membership in and was attempting to get approved as a demonstration event at the Olympics, which would hopefully lead to it being added as a full contest. This did not happen and Olympic recognition for bodybuilding remains controversial since many argue that bodybuilding is not a sport.
In the modern bodybuilding industry, the term " professional " generally means a bodybuilder who has won qualifying competitions as an amateur and has earned a "pro card" from their respective organization. Professionals earn the right to compete in competitions that include monetary prizes. A pro card also prohibits the athlete from competing in federations other than the one from which they have received the pro card.
Due to the growing concerns of the high cost, health consequences, and illegal nature of some steroids, many organizations have formed in response and have deemed themselves "natural" bodybuilding competitions. In addition to the concerns noted, many promoters of bodybuilding have sought to shed the "freakish" perception that the general public has of bodybuilding and have successfully introduced a more mainstream audience to the sport of bodybuilding by including competitors whose physiques appear much more attainable and realistic.
In natural contests, the testing protocol ranges among organizations from lie detectors to urinalysis. Penalties also range from organization to organization from suspensions to strict bans from competition. It is also important to note that natural organizations also have their own list of banned substances and it is important to refer to each organization's website for more information about which substances are banned from competition. These organizations either have an American or worldwide presence and are not limited to the country in which they are headquartered.
The first U. Women's National Physique Championship, promoted by Henry McGhee and held in Canton, Ohio in , is generally regarded as the first true female bodybuilding contest—that is, the first contest where the entrants were judged solely on muscularity. Olympia initially known as the "Miss" Olympia , the most prestigious contest for professionals, was held. The contest was a major turning point for female bodybuilding.
McLish inspired many future competitors to start training and competing. At the time, Francis was actually a powerlifter , though she soon made a successful transition to bodybuilding, becoming one of the leading competitors of the late s and early s. In recent years, the related areas of fitness and figure competition have increased in popularity, surpassing that of female bodybuilding, and have provided an alternative for women who choose not to develop the level of muscularity necessary for bodybuilding.
McLish would closely resemble what is thought of today as a fitness and figure competitor, instead of what is now considered a female bodybuilder. Fitness competitions also have a gymnastic element to them. A study by the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine found that female bodybuilders who are taking anabolic steroids are more likely to have qualified for substance dependence disorder , to have been diagnosed with a psychiatric illness , or to have a history of sexual abuse.
In competitive bodybuilding, bodybuilders aspire to develop and maintain an aesthetically pleasing body and balanced physique. Each competitor also performs a personal choreographed routine to display their physique. A posedown is usually held at the end of a posing round, while judges are finishing their scoring. Bodybuilders usually spend a lot of time practising their posing in front of mirrors or under the guidance of their coach.
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In contrast to strongman or powerlifting competitions, where physical strength is paramount, or to Olympic weightlifting , where the main point is equally split between strength and technique, bodybuilding competitions typically emphasize condition, size, and symmetry. Different organizations emphasize particular aspects of competition, and sometimes have different categories in which to compete. The general strategy adopted by most present-day competitive bodybuilders is to make muscle gains for most of the year known as the "off-season" and, approximately 12—14 weeks from competition, lose a maximum of body fat referred to as "cutting" while preserving as much muscular mass as possible.
The bulking phase entails remaining in a net positive energy balance calorie surplus. The amount of a surplus in which a person remains is based on the person's goals, as a bigger surplus and longer bulking phase will create more fat tissue. The surplus of calories relative to one's energy balance will ensure that muscles remain in a state of anabolism. The cutting phase entails remaining in a net negative energy balance calorie deficit. The main goal of cutting is to oxidize fat while preserving as much muscle as possible. The larger the calorie deficit, the faster one will lose weight.
However, a large calorie deficit will also create the risk of losing muscle tissue. The bulking and cutting strategy is effective because there is a well-established link between muscle hypertrophy and being in a state of positive energy balance. Some gain in fat mass is expected, which athletes seek to oxidize in a cutting period while maintaining as much lean mass as possible.
Many non-competitive bodybuilders choose not to adopt this conventional strategy, as it often results in significant unwanted fat gain during the "bulking" phase. The attempt to increase muscle mass in one's body without any gain in fat is called clean bulking. Competitive bodybuilders focus their efforts to achieve a peak appearance during a brief "competition season". A common tactic for keeping fat low and muscle mass high would be to have higher calorie and lower calorie days to maintain a balance between gain and loss. Many clean bulk diets start off with a moderate amount of carbs, moderate amount of protein, and a decently low amount of fats.
Macronutrient goals will be different for each person, but, it is ideal to get as close as possible. Weightlifters who are attempting to gain mass quickly with no aesthetic concerns often choose to use the "dirty bulk" method. In the last week leading up to a contest, bodybuilders usually decrease their consumption of water , sodium , and carbohydrates , the former two to alter how water is retained by the body and the latter to reduce glycogen in the muscle.
The day before the show, water is removed from the diet, and diuretics may be introduced, while carbohydrate loading is undertaken to increase the size of the muscles through replenishment of their glycogen. The goal is to maximize leanness and increase the visibility of veins, or " vascularity ".
The muscular definition and vascularity are further enhanced immediately before appearing on stage by darkening the skin through tanning products and applying oils to the skin to increase shine. Some competitors will eat sugar-rich foods to increase the visibility of their veins. A final step, called "pumping", consists in performing exercises with light weights or other kinds of low resistance for instance two athletes can "pump" each other by holding a towel and pulling in turn , just before the contest, to fill the muscles with blood and further increase their size and density.
Bodybuilders use three main strategies to maximize muscle hypertrophy :. Bodybuilders often shorten these three steps into the well-known motto "eat clean, train hard, sleep well". Intensive weight training causes micro-tears to the muscles being trained; this is generally known as microtrauma. These micro-tears in the muscle contribute to the soreness felt after exercise, called delayed onset muscle soreness DOMS.
It is the repair of these micro-traumas that results in muscle growth. Normally, this soreness becomes most apparent a day or two after a workout. However, as muscles become adapted to the exercises, soreness tends to decrease. Weight training aims to build muscle by prompting two different types of hypertrophy : sarcoplasmic and myofibrillar. Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy leads to larger muscles and so is favored by bodybuilders more than myofibrillar hypertrophy, which builds athletic strength.
Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy is triggered by increasing repetitions, whereas myofibrillar hypertrophy is triggered by lifting heavier weight. Many trainees like to cycle between the two methods in order to prevent the body from adapting maintaining a progressive overload , possibly emphasizing whichever method more suits their goals; typically, a bodybuilder will aim at sarcoplasmic hypertrophy most of the time but may change to a myofibrillar hypertrophy kind of training temporarily in order to move past a plateau. However, no real evidence has been provided to show that trainees ever reach this plateau, and rather was more of a hype created from "muscular confusion".
The high levels of muscle growth and repair achieved by bodybuilders require a specialized diet. Generally speaking, bodybuilders require more calories than the average person of the same weight to provide the protein and energy requirements needed to support their training and increase muscle mass. In preparation of a contest, a sub-maintenance level of food energy is combined with cardiovascular exercise to lose body fat. Proteins, carbohydrates and fats are the three major macronutrients that the human body needs in order to build muscle. Carbohydrates play an important role for bodybuilders.
They give the body energy to deal with the rigors of training and recovery. Carbohydrates also promote secretion of insulin , a hormone enabling cells to get the glucose they need. Insulin also carries amino acids into cells and promotes protein synthesis. This is important as high-glycemic carbohydrates cause a sharp insulin response, which places the body in a state where it is likely to store additional food energy as fat.
This may help to replenish glycogen stored within the muscle, and to stimulate muscle protein synthesis. The motor proteins actin and myosin generate the forces exerted by contracting muscles. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, eggs and dairy foods are high in protein, as are some nuts, seeds, beans, and lentils. Casein or whey are often used to supplement the diet with additional protein. Whey protein is the type of protein contained in many popular brands of protein supplements and is preferred by many bodybuilders because of its high Biological Value BV and quick absorption rates.
Whey protein also has a bigger effect than casein on insulin levels, triggering about double the amount of insulin release. Bodybuilders are usually thought to require protein with a higher BV than that of soy , which is additionally avoided due to its claimed estrogenic properties. Still, some nutrition experts believe that soy, flax seeds and many other plants that contain the weak estrogen-like compounds or phytoestrogens , can be used beneficially, as phytoestrogens compete with estrogens for receptor sites in the male body and can block its actions.
This can also include some inhibition of pituitary functions while stimulating the P system the system that eliminates hormones, drugs and metabolic waste product from the body in the liver to more actively process and excrete excess estrogen. Contrary to certain rumors that animal-based protein is more suitable to trigger muscle growth than plant-based protein, a study by Mangano et al. In contrast, if combined properly, plant-based protein can even have a higher biological quality.
A combination of one part wheat protein e. Some bodybuilders, such as Patrik Baboumian and Robert Cheeke , follow a strict vegan diet. Some Bodybuilders often split their food intake into 5 to 7 meals of equal nutritional content and eat at regular intervals e. This approach serves two purposes: to limit overindulging in the cutting phase, and to allow for the consumption of large volumes of food during the bulking phase.
Eating more frequently does not increase basal metabolic rate when compared to 3 meals a day. Well-controlled studies using whole-body calorimetry and doubly labeled water have demonstrated that there is no metabolic advantage to eating more frequently. The important role of nutrition in building muscle and losing fat means bodybuilders may consume a wide variety of dietary supplements.
This study showed that measuring muscle protein synthesis for 6 hours does not predict muscle mass gains. That is totally different from the conclusion that muscle protein synthesis regardless of measurement time does not predict muscle mass gains. This was followed up by a study which used the deuterium oxide method to measure muscle protein synthesis rates during all the weeks of training not just a few hours after one session , and found that muscle protein synthesis did correlate with muscle mass gains during the training program Brooks, More recently, a study found that muscle protein synthesis measured over 48 hours after an exercise bout did not correlate with muscle mass gains in untrained subjects at the beginning of an exercise training program, but it did at three weeks of training and onwards Damas, While untrained subjects have a large increase in muscle protein synthesis after their initial exercise sessions, they also have a lot of muscle damage.
So muscle protein synthesis is mainly used to repair damaged muscle protein, not to grow. After just 3 weeks of training, muscle damage is diminished, and the increase in muscle protein synthesis is actually used to hypertrophy muscles. So do these studies show that muscle protein synthesis predicts muscle mass gains, but only in the right context. A huge benefit of muscle protein synthesis studies is that they are more sensitive than studies that measure actual muscle mass gains.
This means that muscle protein synthesis studies can detect an anabolic effect easier than long term studies which simply miss it long term studies might draw the wrong conclusion that something does not benefit muscle growth when it actually does. Muscle mass gain is simply a very slow process. You need to do a huge study, with a huge amount of subjects, who consume additional protein for many months, before you will actually see a measurable effect of protein supplementation.
We performed a meta-analysis combining the results of individual studies on the effect of protein supplementation on muscle mass gains. We demonstrated that only 5 studies concluded that protein supplementation had a benefit, while 17 did not! However, most of the studies that showed no significant benefit, did show a small non-significant benefit.
When you combine all those results, you increase the statistical power and you can conclude that protein supplementation actually does improve muscle mass. So in this case, most long-term studies gave the wrong impression, and muscle protein synthesis studies are actually preferred. There are a lot of long-term studies that have a relative small number of subjects and a small study duration and conclude that an intervention did not work for example, protein supplementation, or X versus Y set of exercise for example. However, the studies were doomed to begin with.
They needed to be 3 times as big and 2 times as long to have a chance to find a positive effect. Now if the effect of giving additional protein is already extremely hard to detect in long-term studies, how realistic is it to find smaller effects? For example, optimizing protein intake distribution throughout the day has been shown to optimize muscle protein synthesis rates Mamerow, Areta, However, this effect is smaller than adding another protein meal.
So the effect of protein distribution is almost impossible to find in a long-term study. For such a research question, acute muscle protein synthesis studies are simply much better suited. The second big benefit of muscle protein synthesis studies is that they give a lot more mechanistic insight. They help you understand WHY a certain protein is good or not that good at stimulating muscle protein synthesis for example, its digestion properties, amino acid composition etc. These kinds of insights help to better understand what triggers muscle growth and come up with new research questions.
These kind of insights are very hard to obtain in long-term studies, which typically only show the end result of the mechanisms. The benefits of measuring muscle protein synthesis include the sensitivity, controlled environment, and they allow you to investigate questions that are almost impossible to answer in long-term studies.
Again, we do both and each has its purpose and build on each other. Usually, muscle protein synthesis studies are performed to see if something work as they are very sensitive and why it works. Only when you have both, you have pretty convincing evidence that your intervention does what you claim it to do.
Multiple sets increase muscle protein synthesis more than a single set Burd, A higher weekly training volume number of sets to muscle results in a greater muscle mass gains Schoenfeld, It is often recommended that a rep range of reps per set is optimal for muscle growth. For novice untrained individuals with no RT experience or who have not trained for several years training, it is recommended that loads correspond to a repetition range of an repetition maximum RM.
For intermediate individuals with approximately 6 months of consistent RT experience to advanced individuals with years of RT experience training, it is recommended that individuals use a wider loading range from 1 to 12 RM in a periodized fashion with eventual emphasis on heavy loading RM using 3- to 5-min rest periods between sets.
However, these recommendations lack evidence. The main takeaway here is that there are no magic rep ranges that are superior for muscle growth. It is unclear whether each set should be taken to failure. Muscular failure decreases performance on subsequent sets, thereby reducing training volume. Perhaps performing a set with reps left in the tank will still give a near-maximal stimulus to the muscle, without much of the associated fatigue. If sets are not taken close to failure, the muscle protein synthetic response will be small Burd, A longer rest period between sets increases the larger post-exercise muscle protein synthetic response compared to a short rest period 5 vs 1 min McKendry, In agreement, a longer interset rest period improves muscle mass gains compared to a shorter rest period 3 vs 1 min Schoenfeld, A single bout of resistance exercise can stimulate muscle protein synthesis for longer than 72 hour, but peaks at 24 h Miller, Indeed, training each muscle group at least twice a week results in larger muscle mass gains Schoenfeld, The total muscle protein synthetic MPS response determined by the increase in MPS rates and the duration of these increased rates is decreased in trained subjects compared to untrained subjects Damas, However, the pattern of this decreased response is differs between mixed muscle protein synthesis the synthesis of all types of muscle proteins and myofibrillar protein synthesis the synthesis of contractile proteins: the relevant measurement for muscle mass.
The increase in mixed muscle protein synthesis is shorter lived in trained subjects. In contrast, myofibrillar protein synthesis rates do not increase as much in trained subjects, but the duration of the increase does not appear impacted. The larger increase in the total muscle protein synthetic response seems like a logical explanation why untrained people can make faster much gains than experienced lifters.
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However, this is not necessarily true. In untrained subjects, there is not only a large increase myofibrillar protein synthesis, but also in muscle damage following resistance exercise. A large portion of the myofibrillar protein synthesis is used to simply repair damaged muscle proteins, rather than growing muscle proteins.
In more trained subjects, here is a smaller increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis, but there is also much less or even minimal muscle damage following resistance exercise just weeks of training is enough to see these effects. This means that in a trained state, the increase in myofibrillar protein synthesis can actually be used to actually increase muscle mass. When you correct for muscle damage, myofibrillar protein synthesis rates measured over 48 hour post-exercise recovery are similair in untrained subjects and after 10 weeks of training Damas, Of course, most athletes would hardly consider someone trained after just 10 weeks.
Unfortunately, little is know about how years of serious training impacts the muscle protein synthetic response to resistance exercise. Twenty gram of protein gives a near-maximal increase in MPS after lower body resistance. When data of several studies was combined and the amount of protein was expressed per bodyweight, it was found that on average 0. However, the authors suggest a safety margin of 2 standard deviations to account for inter-intervidual variability, resulting in a dose of protein that would optimally stimulate MPS at an intake of 0. More recently, it has been shown that the amount of lean body mass does not impact the response to protein ingestion Macnaughton, The authors speculated that this was related to the fact that this was following a session of whole-body resistance exercise compared to the lower-body exercise used in previous studies.
Protein sources differ in their capacity to stimulate MPS. This is best illustrated by study which compared the muscle protein synthetic response to casein, casein hydrolysate and whey protein. Casein is a slowly digesting protein. When intact casein is hydrolysed chemically cut into smaller smaller pieces , it resembles the digestion of a fast digesting protein.
Consequently, hydrolyzed whey results higher MPS rates than intact casein. However, the muscle protein synthetic response to hydrolyzed is lower than that of whey protein. While both proteins are fast digesting, whey protein has a higher essential amino acid content including leucine Pennings, Animal based protein sources are typically have a high essential amino acid content and appears more potent than plant protein to stimulate MPS Van Vliet, However, there this can potentially compensated by ingesting a greater amount of plant protein Gorissen, Leucine is the amino acid that is thought to be most potent at stimulating MPS.
Peak plasma leucine concentrations following protein ingestion typically correlate with muscle protein synthesis rates Pennings, This supports the notion that protein digestion rate and protein leucine content are important predictors for anabolic effect of a protein source. This is best illustrated by study which compared the muscle protein synthetic response to five different supplemental protocol:. All five conditions increased muscle protein synthesis rates compared to fasting conditions. As expected from our earlier discussion on the optimal amount of protein, 25 gram of protein increased MPS rates more than just 6.
Interestingly, the addition of 2. The addition of a larger amount of leucine 4. This indicates that the addition of a relatively small amount of leucine to a low dose of protein can be as effective as a much larger total amount of protein. Isoleucine and valine use the same transporter for uptake in the gut as leucine. Therefore, it is speculated that isoleucine and valine compete for uptake with leucine, resulting in a less rapid leucine peak which is thought to be an important determinant of MPS rates.
Carbohydrates slows down protein digestion, but have no effect on MPS Gorissen, In agreement, adding large amounts of carbohydrates to protein does not improve post-exercise MPS rates Koopman, However, the addition of carbohydrates to post-exercise protein has no effect on muscle protein synthesis or breakdown rates.
The effects of insulin on muscle protein breakdown rates are described in more detail in section 2, and the effects of insulin on muscle protein synthesis are further described in section 7. Adding oil to protein does not slow down protein digestion or MPS Gorissen, It possible that oil simply floats on top of a protein shake in the stomach, and that a solid fat would delay digestion. One study has reported a greater increase in net muscle balance following full-fat milk compared to fat-free milk although this study used the 2 pool arterio-venous model which is not the most reliable measurement.
Most research has looked at isolated protein supplements in liquid form such as whey and casein shakes. This supports the protein dose-response relationship observed with protein supplements where 20 g of protein gives a near maximal increase in MPS. Minced beef is more rapidly digested than beef steak, indicating that food texture impacts protein digestion. However, there was no difference in MPS between these protein sources. Beef protein is more rapidly digested than milk protein.
However, milk protein stimulated MPS more than beef in the 2 hours. Between 2 and 5 hours, there was no significant difference between the sources. This indicates that digestion speed does not always predict the muscle protein synthetic response of a protein source. As discussed in the previous section, the addition of carbohydrate powder or oil to a liquid protein shake does not impact muscle protein synthesis.
However, it is unknown how the components of large mixed meals interact. For example, the addition whole-foods carbohydrates such rice, potatoes, or bread to whole-food protein sources such as chicken. It can be speculated that the protein in mixed meals is less rapidly digested, which is typically but not certainly not always associated with a lower increase in MPS. As described in my systematic review, insulin does not stimulate MPS Trommelen, Regardless whether insulin levels were kept low similar to fasted levels or very high, MPS rates were the same in all conditions.
In my systematic review, I describe the effect of insulin in other conditions including in the absence of amino acid infusion, but the conclusion remains that insulin does not stimulate MPS under normal conditions Trommelen, In the bodybuilding world, insulin is sometimes injected at supraphysiological doses to stimulate muscle growth. Insulin inhibits muscle protein breakdown a bit, but only a little is needed for the maximal effect this is discussed in dept in section XXX. Exercise improves the muscle protein synthetic response to protein ingestion.
Therefore, it has been suggested that protein intake immediately post-exercise is more anabolic than protein ingestion at different time points. Probably the best evidence to support the concept of protein timing is a study which showed that protein ingestion immediately after exercise was more effective than protein ingestion 3 h post-exercise though this study used the 2 pool arterio-venous method which is not a great measurement of muscle protein synthesis Levenhagen, In contrast, a different study observed no difference in MPS was found when essential amino acid were ingested 1 h or 3 h post-exercise Rasmussen, In addition, resistance exercise enhances the muscle protein synthetic response to protein ingestion for at least 24 hour Burd, It is certainly possible that the synergy between exercise and protein ingestion is the largest immediately post-exercise and then slowly declines in the next 24 h hour.
However, these data suggest that there is not a limited window of opportunity during which protein is massively beneficial immediately post-exercise, that suddenly closes within a couple of hours. Overal, no clear benefit to protein timing has been found in studies measuring muscle protein synthesis studies. As such studies are much more sensitive to detect potential anabolic effects compared to long-term studies measuring changes in muscle mass, it unlikely that long-term studies will observe benefits of protein timing.
However, this effect was largely explained by the fact that the protein supplementation increased total protein intake, rather than the specific timing of protein intake.
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An even balance of protein intake at breakfast, lunch and dinner stimulates MPS more effective than eating the majority of daily protein during the evening meal Marerow, Providing 20 g of protein every 3 hours stimulates MPS more than providing the same amount of protein in less regular doses 40 g every 6 hours , or more regular doses 10 g every 1. The muscle full effect is the observation that amino acids stimulate MPS for a short period, after which there is a refractory period where the muscle does not respond to amino acids. More specifically, after protein intake, there is an lag period of approximately min before MPS goes up and peaks between minutes, after which MPS returns rapidly to baseline even if amino acid levels are still elevated Bohe, Atherthon, The muscle full effect has given birth to a theory on how to optimize protein intake throughout the day in the online fitness community.
It suggests that after amino acids levels have been elevated, you should let them drop down back to fasting levels to sensitize the muscle to amino acids again. Subsequently, protein intake will stimulate MPS again. The suggested mechanism seems unlikely as many food patterns result in elevated amino acid levels throughout the whole day.
The traditional bodybuilding diet consists of very frequent, very high protein meals e. In fact, it was specifically designed with the goal of keeping amino acids elevated throughout the whole day so there would always be enough building blocks for form new muscle tissue. Or intermittent fasting where all daily protein is eaten in a short time period usually 8 hours. This is best illustrated in a study where the effect of protein was assessed in both rested and post-exercise conditions Churchward-Venne, Protein intake alone stimulates MPS in the h period after ingestion.
Subsequently, MPS rates fall back to basal rates. However, in post-exercise condition, protein stimulated MPS rates in both the h and the h period. It appears that the muscle full effect is not present in acute post-exercise conditions. As discussed above, an effective protein distribution optimizes MPS. Protein supplementation Only three days of dieting already reduce basal MPS Areta, This shows that an energy deficit is suboptimal for MPS, however you can grow muscle mass while losing fat Longland, It is unclear if eating above maintenance is needed to optimize MPS.
Second, I will continue to further elaborate sections based on your feedback and add additional sections in the future. Lastly, please reference specific sections from this article when you see a discussion on muscle protein synthesis. People mistaking whole-body protein synthesis for muscle protein synthesis: see section 4. Someone skeptical about a conclusion from a paper because muscle protein breakdown was not measured? Section 2 buddy. Someone claiming that protein supplementation is not effective based on a long-term study he read that found no improvement in muscle mass: section 5 got you covered.
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Feel free to ask me questions about the methods, or interpretation on protein metabolism studies in comments or on Facebook. Great overview. Especially the difference between mixed protein synth and myofibr protein synth. The mixed protein synthesis data is often used by proponents of very high frequencies Damas study as they point out MPS drops strongly after 10 hours in trained individuals. The mixed protein synthesis data is not that relevant when you also have myofibrilar protein synthesis data that suggests otherwise.
The current picture we now have on myoPS does not support an increased frequency, at least not higher than in untrained subjects where the duration of myoPS appears the same. It could be speculated that in a more trained status, you need a higher volume number of sets close to failure to get a robust increase in myoPS again, but that is pure speculation. You mentioned in your summary how you just need to eat at maintenance to build muscle. In your opinion, is body recomposition possible then? But we know very little on how energy intake influences muscle protein synthesis.
In practice, people report that bulking helps to gain muscle. If bulking helps to gain muscle, how big should be caloric surplus be to optimize muscle mass gains without disproportional large increases in fat mass? Personally, I would go for a very small caloric deficits when cutting and a very small caloric surplus during bulking. What a briljant article once again. I believe, that this is one of the few sites that literally, contains the key of an better progress….. Somewhere, and im not sure if it was you,, but perhaps on another site there was a article about optimal training for MPS..
It seems that a FB routine is optimal for MPS as it is elevated for certain time and you train again when the mps is down to base-lines again. But what about a FB while cutting? Would it still be optimal you think? There is a lot of people speculating on optimal training frequencies based on MPS data. I like keeping your training the same as much as possible while cutting.
Article is amazing. So much info that needs to be unpacked with so many questions. I just read an article from Eric Bach, regarding Norwegian study of two groups performing same volume. Both groups recently competed in powerlifting event within 6 months. The groups tested the same volume of work and one group trained 3 days a week, but did twice the volume while the other group trained 6 days a week. Now they did the same workouts on the same reoutine days. The group who worked out 6 days a week had an increase in muscle growth and strength.
Not by much, as they are seasoned trainers, but gains are gains. Thanks for diligent research for pleasure. What I find disturbing of the Areta et al. I would love to see a similar design with a higher protein intake. In the work by Areta et al, there were 2 muscle biopsies: time point 0 h, and time point 12 h. Both time points are used to get 1 value: the FSR measured over 12 hour.
I understand your other concerns. In short, this was the first study to investigate if protein distribution can impact post-exercise MPS and was designed in such a way that it would be most likely a positive effect would detected if it exists. Indeed it found that protein distribution could impact MPS. As it was the first study to ever investigate and show this, it has a very high scientific value.
In contrast, in has much less value in practitioners eyes, because you can question if the results from this study would extend to more real life situations. Being the first to show evidence of a concept protein distribution can impact MPS is a big deal in science. Of course this concept now needs to be studied under different, more real life conditions. Practitioners are going to say that these studies are designed better, but such follow up studies will be less impactful in the science community. Simply 2 different worlds with different interests.
It appears you need a slightly longer energy deficit period before energy intake starts limiting MPS 3 days of dieting, see Areta What I think you should take away from this study from a practical point of view: 1 get at least 20 g of protein at each meal 2 eating every 6 hour is too infrequent. Muscle biopsies were taken at -0 pre-exercise, and 1, 4, 6, 7 and 12 h post-exercise.
But more importantly, the dose of 10 gr in the spread group is simply sub-optimal, regardless of distribution. The exact same experiment could be conducted with more protein and that would take away a lot of the doubt concerning the sub-optimal dose issue with the pulse group imo. Do you mean this study with Areta et al. And what objections are there to carrying out an experiment like this in the non-fasted state? The main outcome of that study is the FSR measured between h, The FSR assessed during specific intervals is interesting to provide some additional insight in how protein distribution patterns modulate the MPS time course.
However, the aggregate response is what actually matters. But in the end, the medal goes to the one with the highest average speed over the entire race in this case: the h response. There is not really such a threshold, there is a linear increase in MPS following protein intake.
Furthermore, if you look at the plasma data, the pulse group actually reaches a higher peak leucine than the 20 g group, and is higher at more time points than the leucine group. With higher protein intakes, it is likely there would be no difference between the 3 groups. All 3 would likely maximally stimulate MPS. This study simply tried to demonstrate for the that protein distribution can impact MPS. It was the first study to demonstrate this, and therefore it is a big deal in our field.
It did not try to demonstrate that that a pulse pattern or eating every 1. Obviously, that depends on the total amount of protein ingested. Note that the 80 g protein ingested in 12 h translates to g protein in 16 waking hours, or a protein intake of 1. That is exactly the amount athletes typically eat.
If total protein intake was much higher, likely all 3 groups would have had maximal MPS rates with no difference between groups. From a scientific point of view, that finding would not not really be valuable. I can come up with another couple of thousand study ideas that do not modulate MPS. Finding new things that actually can modulate MPS is much more valuable. Having said that, now it is established that protein distribution can modulate MPS, a follow up study that shows that protein distribution has little impact on MPS when total protein intake is high, would be valuable.
With regards to energy intake: on the short term e. That was after eating nothing except the protein with or without the carbs in the last 18 h. An objection to doing the study in a non-fasted state would be that other food intake would delay protein digestion. As a result, it would be less likely that the bolus group would differ from the intermediate group, and less likely that the intermediate group from the pulse group. Another design consideration is the protein source. It is likely that you would see much less of an effect of protein distribution when you have a slowly digesting protein source.
Again, it is much more valuable to first establish that a concept that have influence, and then do follow up work to see if that concept also works in different concepts.
Like I mentioned in my previous post, that is the difference between scientific relevance, and relevance to practitioners. They simply have other priorities. Yes, 4 four meals of 60 g spaced by hour should be very to close to maximizing your gains. Do you mean actual protein researchers? Because none of the top muscle metabolism labs use nitrogen balance anymore as measurement tool to evaluate the anabolic effect on muscles. I am confused because Dr. And get this, they have science to support their recommendations.
This is based on research showing that if you consume a protein meal or essential amino acids , it boosts muscle protein synthesis for only about two hours without another boost in protein synthesis coming for at least another six hours even when adequate amino acids are present. If you then consume more protein say, another protein shake two hours later, there would be no additional boost in muscle protein synthesis. However, if you wait about six hours or longer to consume that second protein shake, you would get another big increase in muscle protein synthesis. So it makes sense that to maximize muscle growth, you should wait a good six hours between meals so that every meal you eat boosts muscle protein synthesis.
Sounds solid, right? Granted, protein synthesis is very important. However, just because you have a boost in muscle protein synthesis does NOT mean you get an increase in muscle growth. Muscle growth is a balance between muscle protein synthesis the build up of muscle protein and muscle protein breakdown the breaking down of muscle protein.
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To get an increase in muscle growth means that muscle protein synthesis must be greater than muscle protein breakdown. And guess what? Muscle protein breakdown is happening all the time. What the aforementioned experts are missing by suggesting that you should wait up to six hours between meals is that, while protein synthesis may be maximized, so is muscle protein breakdown, which minimizes any gains you would get in muscle growth.
The best way to maximize muscle growth is to eat a high protein meal at least grams of protein, depending on the protein source every hours. How do I know this? The first year of life is the most critical for rapidly gaining mass. And to ensure that this happens, we have evolved to eat every hours. As soon as they step up their meal frequency they also step up their muscle mass and strength gains. The Aussie researchers had subjects perform a leg workout and then fed them a total of 80 grams of whey protein over the next 12 hours in three different methods: 1 eight gram doses of whey protein every 1.
Greater protein net balance essentially means more muscle growth. Latency and duration of stimulation of human muscle protein synthesis during continuous infusion of amino acids. J Physiol. Moore, D. Daytime pattern of post-exercise protein intake affects whole-body protein turnover in resistance-trained males.
Nutr Metab Lond. You wrote that Jim says that a positive nitrogen balance is more important than MPS, but from his article I think you ment he says a positive protein balance is more important? Protein balance is not the same as nitrogen balance see section 3. In section 2, I explain that muscle protein balance almost entirely depends on MPS muscle protein breakdown has little influence. See section 4. So the measurements in that study are not relevant for muscle. And the funny thing is, is that even if the measurements were relevant to building muscle, the WHOLE-BODY protein breakdown was the same for the group that ate every 3 hours and the group that ate every 6.
Although I got the PhD, I am much more of a practitioner, and need to dispel a lot of misinformation my patients received from online communities. Having someone else with a PhD saying it makes it even harder. In regards to the nitrogen balance issue, most exercise physiologists I took classes under flatly denounced any benefit to eating beyond neutral nitrogen balance. Not sure if this was just an old school mentality, or the fact that they did no research in the realm of resistance training or muscle synthesis, but it was surprisingly pervasive.
It was especially alarming as a nutrition grad student, where it was basically common knowledge that nitrogen balance was not all that useful in relation to increased muscle protein. Great article — I will definitely add your website to my list of evidence-based fitness and nutrition. If I go to the gym early in the morning with an empty stomach is that a bad strategy for maximize gains??? In the same situation how can u spread the meals throughout the day?? Fasting is not going to be optimal for muscle mass gains.
For optimal muscle mass gains, you should try to never be fasted and always have some protein in your system probably meals spread out throughout the day. However, the befit of optimally distributing protein over the day compared to intermittent fasting is relatively small. So if you love intermittent fasting and it allows you to not obsess over food, helps with diet adherence, makes you more productive etc, it can be a very effective approach for you.
But for the absolute the best effect on muscle mass gains, a higher meal frequency would be a little bit better. Jorn it might be worth mentioning in the sections on protein intake that the bolus needed does go up with age. Just in case some old guy like me reads your piece, which they will if I have anything to do with it! In older adults, 40 g protein clearly outperforms smaller amounts of protein.
Higher doses of protein have not been tested. So ideally, you want at least 40 g protein at each meal as an older adult. Leucine supplementation might be an effective strategy to enhance the MPS response to meals that contain less than 40 g of protein. Can you comment on this belief? A friend advised me that a very effective way to lose weight was to cycle to exhaustion and then not eat for several hours after completion.
My fear is that this would promote muscle loss, like doing a resistant work-out and not eating afterwards. Can you comment on this? Much appreciated! Protein can be converted to glucose. Your liver glycogen sustains you plasma glucose levels. There are dozens of studies done where subjects get protein without carbs after not eating in the last 10 hours. In addition, adding carbs to protein does not help to build more muscle.
There is absolutely nothing magical about cycling to exhaustion other that it burns some calories. There is absolutely nothing magical about not eating for several hours after exercise, other than that is helps with lowering your caloric intake. Not eating directly after exercise is not necessarily a big deal with regards to muscle loss, as total protein intake during the day is the most important variable for muscle mass.
However, there is no logical reason to wait hours. Ideally, you eat meals high in protein a protein shake can already count as one of those meals to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis rates throughout the day. If I am reading your reply right, you are saying that with regards to protein synthesis, protein is the only macro-nutrient that affects it, the amount of carbohydrates and fats consumed is of little significance.
Am I understanding you right? If this is true then one should be able to achieve maximum muscle gain while simultaneously achieving maximum fat loss by being on a high protein low calorie diet. In other words, you just need some protein to maximize MPS regardless of what you eat along with it or have eaten in the previous 12 h. However, that only works short-term. In general, you do need to be in energy balance or MPS will go down. You can be in a large energy deficit for 12 hours, without negative effects on MPS.
However, being in an energy deficit for 3 days reduces MPS see section 7. Jon thank-you for your great kindness in taking the time to answer my questions and sharing your vast knowledge with me and others! Would an effective strategy for maximum muscle gains be: to eat protein at hour intervals and carbs at 12 hour intervals? Or simply eating meals consisting of only protein inter-spaced with meals consisting of only carbohydrate? Eating protein by itself should raise the MPS rate, since it will be absorbed into the blood stream faster, since there is no carbohydrate to slow down absorption.
Are there any micro-nutrients that are necessary for MPS? For example: iron or vitamin C or a B vitamin or certain minerals? If the answer is yes then should one take multi-vitamins several times a day to maximize MPS? I have read that during long endurance exercise events that the body utilizes protein for energy along with fat and carbohydrate, a. Is this phenomenon mostly the result of cortisol being released into the blood stream and so a mechanism that is unique to endurance exercise?.
Jon thanks for the re-education! So many myths that I believed have now been dispelled and I understand things much better now. There is no research to show that eating carbs with protein will actually lower MPS though it might a bit. Because when there is a micro-nutrient deficicy, many body processes may be suboptimal, such as protein digestion, blood flow to the muscle, hormone levels etc. Micro-nutrient status does not change from hour to hour.
Just make sure you get enough micro-nutrients on a weekly basis. Yes, protein is broken down during long endurance events and indeed this is worse when glycogen levels are depleted. It seems likely cortisol plays a role in this. Though cortisol also goes up with dieting for example. First of all thank you for this great sum-up.
I really appreciate it. What is your opinion on the usage of metformin in the case of type two diabetes mg tree times a day , would it have an detrimental effect on muscle gain? Jorn is there any benefit to lifting heavy weights while on a severe calorie restricting diet? Will it help to preserve muscle mass? If on a normal diet and taking insulin for a diabetic condition when should the insulin be taken in relation to a heavy resistance work-out to achieve the most muscle gains? Lifting is absolutely beneficial to preserve muscle mass during caloric restriction. For example, whether taking insulin close to exercise is beneficial for muscle gain?
Thank you for the answer. Can I eat protein every 3 hours in the form of whey protein shakes: whey shake 9am, noon, 3pm, 6pm pwo shake then during the evenings meet my macros which will mostly be fats and carbs and a few proteins due to the handful of shakes ive already had. Sort of like IF but with shakes every 3 hours.
Is that optimal? Egg protein powder has been used and appears to be a very good source. Whole eggs have not been used, but I would expect them to be pretty good. Most whole-food will be digesting a bit slower, which would theoretically be slightly worse. The chest might also fall into this category, as it has a distinct upper and lower part, each with different insertion points.
For a variety of reasons, people, even those with an equal amount of muscle mass, vary in strength enormously. But it is still a relative term. To get bigger muscles, you have to lift heavier weight, and you, not the guy next door, have to become stronger -- stronger than you were. Increasing muscle strength in the natural athlete, except in a very few, rare instances, requires that the tension applied to muscle fibers be high.
If the tension applied to muscle fibers are light, maximal growth will not occur Lieber, You see it happen every day in gyms across the country. Some bodybuilding neophyte will walk up to a guy who looks like he's an escaped attraction from Jurassic Park and ask him how he trains. Follow a horse home and you'll find horse parents. The guy in your gym who is best bodybuilder is the guy who has made the most progress and done the most to his physique using natural techniques. He may still be a pencil neck, but he may have put on 40 pounds [19kg] of lean body mass to get where he is, and that, in all probability, took some know-how.
That person probably doesn't overtrain, keeps his sets down to a minimum, and uses great form and concentration on the eccentric negative portion of each exercise repetition. Many pros spend hours and hours doing innumerable sets--so many it would far surpass the average person's recuperative abilities. If average people followed the routines of average pro bodybuilders, they would, in effect, start to whittle down what muscle mass they did have or, at best, make only a tiny bit of progress after a couple of years.
It may be a little harder, and it may require a little bit more know-how and a little bit more conscientious effort, but it can be done. The fact is, the obese state in humans and animals is not universally correlated with absolute levels of caloric intake and neither is the accrual of lean body mass. Other drugs, including growth hormone, certain oestrogens, cortisol, ephedrine, and IGF-1 are all examples of re-partitioning agents. All increase oxygen consumption at the expense of fat storage--independent of energy intake.
Drugs are not the only way to do this, however. MET-Rx is one such nutrient re-partitioning agent, and several companies are trying to duplicate its successes. If you work out -- work out intensely-- then it can take days for the muscles to heal. Although the following should be taken with a grain of salt when determining your own exercise frequency, a study in the May issue of the Journal of Physiology revealed it can take weeks for muscles to recuperate from an intense workout. The study involved a group of men and women who had worked their forearms to the max.
All of the subjects said they were sore two days after exercising, and the soreness was gone by the seventh day, and the swelling was gone by the ninth day. After six weeks, the subjects had only gained back half the strength they had before the original exercise! By no means are we advocating that you wait two months between workouts, but we are trying to prove the point that it takes muscles longer to heal than what you might have previously thought.
For some people, especially natural bodybuilders, waiting a week between body part workouts might be just what the doctor ordered for size and strength gains! Although you probably couldn't find a single steroid-assisted athlete who trains only three days a week, there's absolutely no reason why a three-day-a-week routine couldn't work for many natural athletes. As long as your routine attacked the whole body and you worked to failure on each set, you could easily experience great gains on this sort of routine. However, you need to pay even more attention to your diet if you only train three days a week, especially if your job involves little or no physical activity, and you like to spend your idle time eating.
Ignore those who say three-day-a-week bodybuilders are only 'recreational lifters'. Think quality and not quantity. That's true if you're trying to improve cardiovascular health or lose some bodyfat. But in order to build muscle, you need to allow enough time for the muscle to recuperate fully i. In order to make muscles grow, you have to lift the heaviest weight possible, thereby allowing the maximum number of muscle fibers to be recruited. If the amount of weight you lift is being limited by the amount of lactic acid left over from the previous set, you're only testing your ability to battle the effects of lactic acid.
In other words, you're trying to swim across a pool while wearing concrete overshoes. When training heavy, take [at least! Notice I said, "when training heavy. Periodization calls for cycling heavy workouts with less intense training sessions in an effort to keep the body from becoming overtrained. Futuristic-looking, complex machinery designed to give your muscles the 'ultimate workout' is typically less effective than good-old barbells and dumbbells.
Using simple free weights barbells and dumbbells on basic multi-joint exercises, like the squat, bench press, shoulder press, and deadlift, is still the most effective means of resistance exercise ever invented. Scientific research has shown that many exercise machines lack the proper eccentric component of an exercise that's necessary to stimulate muscle tissue to remodel grow. Manipulations in your nutrient intake are the main factor in getting cut up, and how you do it doesn't matter.
If your daily caloric expenditure exceeds your daily caloric intake on a consistent basis, you will lose fat and get more cut. Aerobic exercise is generally meant to improve cardiovascular efficiency, but if you do it long enough, you will burn up calories and in the long run drop the fat. However, weightlifting can do the same thing, only better. Studies have shown that the body burns far more efficiently if exercise is performed at a moderate pace for periods longer than 20 minutes.
It generally takes that long for the glucose in the bloodstream to be 'burned up', causing the body to dip into glycogen reserves for its energy Once the glycogen reserves are used up, the body must metabolize fatty acids for energy. That equate to lost bodyfat. In the long run, bodybuilding is more efficient than aerobics for burning up calories. Let me explain--if researchers were to undertake a study of twins whereby one twin performed daily aerobics and the other practiced a bodybuilding program where the end result was increased lean body mass, the bodybuilding twin would ultimately be a more efficient fat burner than his aerobic twin.
Well, by adding lean body mass, that person's metabolic requirements are higher--muscle uses energy even while it is not being used. The aerobic twin might use more calories during the time period of exercise itself, but the weight-lifting twin would use a higher amount during rest time, leading to a higher net hour expenditure. The weight lifter burns fat just sitting there.
You can't limit growth to only one area of a muscle. Larry Scott, for whom the 'biceps peaking' Scott curl was named, had tremendous biceps, but he didn't have much of a peak. The shape of your biceps, or for that matter, any muscle, is determined by your genetic makeup. When you work a muscle, any muscle, it works on the all-or-nothing principle, meaning that each muscle fiber recruited to do a lift -- along the entire length of that muscle -- is contracted fully. Why would a certain number of them, like the ones in the middle of the biceps, suddenly start to grow differently or at a faster rate than its partners?
If anything, the muscles that are closest to the insertion points are the most prone to mechanical stress, and you don't see them get any bigger than the rest of the muscle. If they did, everyone would have proportions like Popeye. This is true of any muscle, but you're probably thinking, what about quads? I know that when I do hack squats with my feet together, it tends to give me more sweep in my legs. Sure it does, but the quadriceps are made up of four different main muscles, and doing hacks with your feet together forces the vastus lateralis muscles on the outside of the leg to work harder; consequently, they grow proportionately along their entire length and give the outer quads more sweep.
As further evidence, take a look at a picture of any young professional bodybuilder before he was developed enough to become a pro. He will have virtually the same structural lines as he does today. All that has changed is that his muscles are now bigger. A pump, despite what Arnold Schwarzenegger said about it "feeling better than cuming", is nothing more than the muscle becoming engorged with blood from capillary action. It can be achieved easily by curling a soup can fifty times.
It by no means equates to the muscular intensity needed to promote growth. The same is true of the coveted 'burn' that Hollywood muscleheads advise the public to 'go for'. A burn is simply an accumulation of lactic acid, a by-product of chemical respiration. You can get a burn by peddling a bicycle or simply extending your arm straight out and moving it in tiny circles [or sitting in a burning fireplace! It does not necessarily mean you are promoting muscle growth.
For hypertrophy to occur, you have to subject the muscles to high levels of tension, and high tension levels are best induced by heavy weights. There is no such thing as spot-reduction. Doing thousands and thousands of sit-ups will give you tight abdominal muscles, but they will do nothing to rid your midsection of fat.
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