- New research has uncovered a powerful intracellular protein called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) that holds the key to rapid muscle building and muscle health.
- If you live a lifestyle that stimulates mTOR to stay high, than your stimulating your body to age prematurely and support the development of disease.
- Normalizing insulin levels also normalize mTOR pathways that will help to maximize your ability to build muscle.
- The best way to normalize insulin and mTOR pathways is through consuming an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan and intermittent fasting.
- Short, high intensity exercises are the best way to activate your muscle gene through this pathway.
- Nutritionally, the amino acid leucine consumed through whole food sources at 8-16g’s per day is ideal for maximal anabolic muscle building pathways to be stimulated in your body.
- An unhealthy lifestyle that includes consuming simple carbs and long workouts is antagonist to the stimulation of the mTOR muscle building pathway.
The information that you’re about to read won’t be found in any men’s health magazine or muscle magazine.
New research shows that we carry genes that can drive you to become lean, and to build muscle. But you need to live a certain healthy lifestyle design to activate these pathways that I will uncover within this article.
You may have heard that you need to eat copious amounts of carbohydrates in order to build muscle. Other people think you need to eat high glycemic foods with protein after a work out for maximum gains.You may be aware that certain amino acids are beneficial in helping you build muscle.
New research has uncovered a powerful intracellular protein called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) that holds the key to rapid muscle building and muscle health. mTOR modulates protein synthesis, cell proliferation and motility.
If you live a lifestyle that stimulates mTOR to stay high, than your stimulating your body to age prematurely and support the development of disease.
How Living This Healthy Muscle Building Lifestyle Actually Prevents Disease
Cancer, diabetes and other diseases of the new millennium are linked to deregulation of mTOR. When mTOR is chronically high it also leads to accelerated aging.
Normalizing your mTOR pathway, not only increases your ability to build muscle and decrease the aging process, but you help to prevent disease as well. Specific natural strategies can be implemented into your lifestyle to optimize the health of your powerful mTOR pathway. When you adopt these healthy lifestyle strategies, you get the best of both worlds. You help to prevent disease, while giving yourself a leaner, more muscular frame. How good is that?
So how does it trigger your body to build muscle? When mTOR is activated in a non-chronic fashion it increases protein synthesis within the muscle. This leads to muscular hypertrophy.
When you work out, your muscles use up energy and nutrients within the cell. Your muscle fibers are also being torn down (micro-inflammation). mTOR communicates to the outside of the cell what the internal micronutrient, energy and inflammatory status is inside the cell. When intracellular energy is high and the muscle cells are stressed, it activates the cell to repair and restore a stronger muscular structure. Again, you enter into an anabolic, muscle building state.
Okay, So What Activates Your Muscle Building Pathway?
Workouts mechanically overload the muscle tearing down muscle fibers which activate mTOR assuming you have proper intracellular energy status. Beyond working out there are other things that activate mTOR.
Factors such as insulin, IGF-1 & IGF-2, oxidative stress and certain amino acids all activate mTOR. Increased insulin circulation causes a spike in mTOR.
However, insulin resistant individuals (affecting 1 in 5 Americans), or people that are loosing the ability to hear insulin, lose the ability to utilize mTOR. Many diseases characterized by underlying levels of inflammation including diabetes and cancers have dysregulated mTOR pathways. When insulin levels and intracellular inflammatory levels are high, the mTOR pathway becomes out of balance leading to abnormal protein synthesis within the muscle.
This is why it’s essential to live a healthy lifestyle design! Learning the strategies on how to eat and live to decrease inflammation, prevent disease, and maximize your health is vital. When mTOR pathways are dysregulated cancer cells replicate more rapidly and grow larger. In extreme cases rhabdomyloysis or muscle wasting takes place in those who have cancer or insulin resistant diabetes (Type 2 Diabetes).
Solutions To Create An Optimal Muscle Building Environment
The first goal is to properly regulate insulin levels so mTOR can be normalized, which will maximize muscle building capacity. The second goal is to break down muscle fibers through high intensity exercises. The third goal is to consume a specific amount of mTOR stimulating factors. There are four effective ways to increase mTOR activity to build muscle:
- The first is through intermittent fasting
- The second is through high intensity exercises
- The third is through the intake of healthy branch chain amino acids at specific quantities (the building blocks of proteins)
- And the fourth is through following an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan and recipes (the nutrition plans we teach in detail within Phase 2a of ReNew)
If you properly regulate insulin, workout effectively and consume the right amounts of amino acids that stimulate mTOR activity, you will maximize muscle building capacity.
Intermittent Fasting Is Not As Intense As It Sounds
Intermittent fasting, also known as semi fasting sounds way more intimidating than it is. Look at it this way, you already fast every night that you go to bed. That’s why they call “breakfast” Break-Fast, because your breaking your fast (I’m sure you got that the fist time ). So essentially, you already do this every day.
Fasting slightly longer periods of time will help to prevent muscle wasting if you are insulin resistant. It’s counter-intuitive right? Remember, that intermittent fasting helps to decrease insulin sensitivity so you can normalize chronic mTOR pathways in order for you to build the muscular figure you want to.
Furthermore, fasting periods between the 3 meals of the day reduces the body’s need for insulin signaling. A reduction in insulin activity will not just maximize mTOR effectiveness, but allows the cellular membrane to heal and can restore proper cellular membrane sensitivity.
Intermittent fasting also effectively allows the body to detoxify of cellular waste, rest and repose.
This is something that our ancestors did between meals for thousands of years.
You may ask, but isn’t this unhealthy? Our blood sugar levels will drop without food and we’ll feel tired and fatigued? This isn’t the case. The people that live this healthy lifestyle maximize their energy. Your liver converts amino acids to glucose through the glucose-alanine cycle. It’s one of the most effective and primitive cycle within the body that keeps energy and glucose levels normal so you can maximize energy and growth hormone levels within the body.
One of many good strategies to follow is to eat your 3 meals and snacks within an 8-hour time frame (example: 10am-6pm, or 9am-5pm), allowing your body to fast for roughly 16 hours every day. Within the 8 hours that you eat, you will eat enough food to maximize muscle gain and over all health.
Intermittent fasting not only up regulates mTOR, but it also increases Growth Hormone, which increases the fat burning and anti-aging pathways of the body. I would like to thank Dan Go, one of the worlds leading experts in intermittent fasting for introducing this powerful strategy to me. Dan is a personal trainer working with hundreds of women and men to help them get into their ideal shape.
NOTE: Consult your physician before adopting any new lifestyle strategy especially if you already have a condition.
The Types of High Intensity Exercises That Won’t Be Counter-Effective
The research shows that high intensity exercise after fasting, creates a natural anabolic effect, increasing mTOR while improving insulin signaling. The time you would exercise is in the morning before you have breakfast. When you exercise like this, you also spike human growth hormone (HGH), which also indirectly stimulates the mTOR pathway while increasing your fat burning capacity and anti-aging effects.
High intensity exercise should be short (10-30 minutes) in order to minimize inflammation and stress levels. Long workouts that go beyond 45 minutes or to the point of over exhaustion, can secrete high levels of your stress hormone cortisol, which increases insulin in the blood. This type of exercising also drops testosterone levels like a rock, shunts muscle-building capacity.
Brian M., a Health Participant of mine had never been consistent with working out. He is a busy businessman that runs an international corporation. He liked the idea of exercising like this because it was short and sweet, and he could get on with his day. He would warm up for 3-5 minutes by going for a jog. Then he would sprint all out for 20-30 seconds until he was winded. He would catch his breath and slow jog for 1 ½ to 2 minutes and then go all out again for 20-30 seconds. He would repeat this six to ten times and then cool down for 3-5 minutes. He was normally done within 15 minutes, which accounted for a total of 1% of his day.
Burst Training Strategy Review:
- Warm up for 3-5 minutes
- Sprint all out for 20-30 seconds (biking, swimming, and rowing also work)
- Rest by slow jogging for 1-2 minutes
- Repeat the sprint and rest between 6-10 times (6 if you’re a beginner, 10 if you’re more advanced)
Top 3 Types of Workouts That Stimulate mTOR:
- High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) – an anaerobic exercise (anything under 30 seconds) that stimulates “super fast twitch muscle fibers” which stimulates Growth Hormone secretion and what was explained above.
- Resistance Training – Classic weights at a gym where you’re really pushing yourself to the point of “feeling the burn”, getting sweaty and by the end of a set, “sucking wind”.
- Plyometric or Ballistic Training – Where you integrate fast, powerful and explosive movements that improve proprioception and nervous system function.
There are more specifics that I will get into in future article entries, but in general the goal for each type of workout is push yourself over a short period of time (10-30 minutes). If you’re not getting sweaty, and sucking wind through the time that your working out, then you’re not working out, and you won’t optimally stimulate mTOR pathways to build muscle.
If you aren’t self motivated, I would recommend joining a “bootcamp” in your area or hire a personal trainer. Working out isn’t all. What you eat after you workout and on days you aren’t working out is essential in order to stimulate maximum muscle gains.
The Exact Foods You Need To Consume To Maximally Stimulate mTOR
People think that you have to eat copious amounts of carbohydrates spike insuline in order to build muscle. This is completely wrong. There is more evidence now that shows that it’s not that simple. Every time you eat a carb meal you shut off both the Growth Hormone and mTOR pathways.
If you lived 1000’s of years ago, you didn’t have the breads and pastas we have today. You would live on meat, dairy, sprouts, greens, nuts and seeds.
Remember, nuts and seeds also have healthy carbohydrates within them. Certain amino acids trigger genes in the muscle to grow and develop through the mTOR pathway. High carb diets are failing. By following the anti-inflammatory nutrition plan (what I call the Advanced Nutrition Plan aka Advanced Fatloss Plan) with a focus on eating a high amount of healthy protein and low carbohydrates will help you burn fat while sparing your muscle tissue.
The branch chain amino acids (BCAA’s) of leucine, isoleucine, and valine are powerful amino acids to increase HGH and mTOR within the muscles. The more you can increase mTOR, the more anabolic your muscles become, the healthier the muscles grow as well as recover. The best whole-food based BCAA is through the consumption of non-denatured grass-fed whey protein. There are also other nutritional components that increase mTOR levels naturally:
- This includes epigallocatechin gallate (ECGC),
- caffeine (use in moderation),
- and resveratrol
ECGC and caffeine can be found in Green Tea. Raw cacao or minimally processed dark chocolate contain ECGC, theobromine and resveratrol. The Indian spice cumin or turmeric is filled with curcumin, which helps reduce cellular inflammation post workout that can cause mTOR to increase. Resveratrol is found in the skin of grapes, but because of the insulin effect grapes have on your body and the inhibiting effects that would have on mTOR, it’s recommended to supplement.
The Most Powerful Amino Acid That Stimulates mTOR And Where To Get It
The most notable of all the amino acids that stimulate mTOR protein kinase activity is Leucine. However, you need a massive amount of this amino acid in order to stimulate growth. You can’t just get this from supplements either. It should really be from whole food sources, and like mentioned above, the highest source of Leucine found naturally is in grass fed whey protein.
The requirement for leucine to maintain body protein is 1-3 grams per day. To maximize muscle building potential the estimated amount of leucine that should be consumed is 8-16 grams per day. Here’s a list of foods with the highest level of Lucien within them:
Leucine Content per 100g of Whole Food
So to prevent yourself from eating a pound and a half of chicken and raw eggs (roughly 16 eggs), over a pound of almonds and a half a pound of raw cheddar, I would recommend sticking with the grass fed whey. You would only have to consume 3oz of grass fed whey protein to turn on anabolic muscle building pathways within your body. This will prevent you from over eating and consuming too much food, which is extremely toxic for the body.
What if you’re vegetarian? The reality is, it will be hard to maximize muscle gains if you are a strict vegetarian. Lactovegetarians, which are vegetarians that don’t eat animal meat for ethical reasons but still consume healthy forms of cheese and whey can activate their genetic muscle building potential just fine as you can clearly see.
Ideal mTOR Activity For Maximum Muscle Building Potential
Chronically high levels of mTOR due to cellular inflammation, high stress levels, increased sugar consumption and insulin resistance is associated with the disease and disorders of the 21stcentury. Low levels of mTOR have been associated with an increase in lifespan.
So where would the ideal level of mTOR be? If you’re looking to strike a balance between living an anti-aging lifestyle while maximizing your ability to gain muscle, you want your mTOR to move in spikes. It should spike around the time you workout and afterwards to initiate the process of muscular repair and building. It can also be increased by the factors stated above. So to live the mTOR muscle building heathy lifestyle design you should:
- Normalize insulin levels through intermittent fasting and adopting an anti-inflammatory nutrition plan (to learn more watch this video)
- Workout using high intensity exercises that is done over a short period of time (10-30 minutes). Interval training, weights and ballistic exercises can all stimulate this pathway if done right
- Consume 8-16g’s of Leucine per day ideally through whole food sources with the gold standard being a pure form of grass fed whey protein.
Healthy mTOR levels that move in spikes and aren’t constantly dysregulated by a processed diet filled with sugar, is a natural and fast way to build a healthy level of muscle mass.
Beevers C, Li F, Liu L, Huang S (2006). “Curcumin inhibits the mammalian target of rapamycin-mediated signaling pathways in cancer cells”. Int J Cancer 119 (4): 757–64
Hofmekler, Ori. Unlock Your Muscle Gene. North Atlantic Books. 2011
Garlick, P. J. The Role of Leucine in the Regulation of Protein Metabolism. J. Nutr. 135:1553S-1556S, 2005
Data source: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 19 (2006).