Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Hypertrophy and Obesity the same thing?

I have noticed some similarities in how muscle cells and fat cells behave. Perhaps they can both be viewed as adaptive responses whereby morphological changes take place in cumlative fashion with the goal of leading to an enchanced ability to maintain homeostasis when being exposed to a certain stimulus.

With muscles, the stimulus is exercise and muscle fibres increase in size and number in order to reduce the overall level of fatigue that that particular exercise induced.

With obesity, that stimulus is hyperglycemia, hyperinsulinemia. With fat cells, they multiply in number ( Hyperplasia ) in order to increase the total surface area of insulin receptors that are
exposed to the bloodstream.

Everyone knows that post obese people have an extreme tendency for weight re-gain. This is attributed to the increased number of fat cells that were produced during obesity. I have seen a study on PubMed that showed that a fat cell's insulin sensivity was inversely related to its size. I.E., large full fat cells have low insulin sensitivity. And empty small fat cells have high insulin sensitivity.

When you loose weight, you dont change the number of fat cells you have, you change thier size only.

Likewise, this could predict that in muscle, after loosing strength and mass during a period of inactivity, you retain the number of new muscle fibres you made during hypertrophy, but what happened is that the number of myofibrials in each muscle fibre decreased.

As with the post obese, there is alot of anecdotal evidence floating around that it is easier to re-gain muscle mass once youve 'been' there before. This also fits in with the threshold theory of cellular behaviour, in that hypertrophy comes before hyperplasia.

That is, muscle fibres increase in myofibrials ( cross-sectional area ) before increasing in number. Indeed this is what happens with fat cells, they increase in size and reach a critical mass before new ones are made.

In the opposite direction, how does one loose weight? Well the way one looses muscle mass is by inactivity. They stop exposing thier muscles to the stimulus that made them become the size they did. This can be done by either reducing intensity of the exercise, reducing the frequency, or both.

With regards to obesity, low-carb diets can be seen as reducing the intensity of the stimulus ( reducing insulin spikes ), while intermittant fasting can be seen as reducing the frequency.

We know that its very easy to gain body fat by eating very often and if each of those meals spikes insulin high with lots of carbs. This happens even in the face of potentially low calories, I.E. low-fat.

This may suggest that in order to rapidly gain muscle mass we must apply the stimulus frequently with a certain minimum intensity, and that the calories of the exercise ( I.E. the number of sets we perform ) can thus be a secondary consideration. I intend to experiment with exercising once every 48 hours with 1 drop-set. As opposed to performing 4 sets of reps every 72-96 hours.

With fat mass, like muscle mass, if we want to loose it, we need to stop sending it the stimulus that made it that way. Ketogenic diet combined with intermittant fasting. However I think that carb re-feeds will still be helpful because they help boost leptin and change the critera for homeostasis adapation on a ketogenic diet will incude, I.E. the famous weight loss plateau.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Carb Re-feeds - What to Re-feed on?


Well this study would suggest that refeed's should be done with carbs but still keeping fat low. Fat over-feeding only caused a 18% rise in fat oxidation, meanwhile Carb over-feeding caused a 74% rise in carb oxidation.

Over-feeding with things like Icecream and chocolate may then be quite counter-productive.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Postwork out Feeding again, Myostatin look


This study shows how mTOR and P70s6K are highly elevated post workout with a protein drink. We know that the effects of BCAA and resistence exercise are additive, however if you note the 48hour mark, there is virtually no difference for P70s6K, although mTOR is still up a bit.

What these results dont show that I think is important is area under curve. Although the cross-sectional area of the protein group was higher when measured.

Interesting to see how protein stopped the myostatin decrease, but it also totally blunted the testosterone response. And we have seen how Testoserone can negatively regulate Myostatin, perhaps this is where the connection is.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Post Workout Feeding - Overhyped?

Another workout today, although I didnt do it fasted (had a protein shake earlier in morning because I had already fasted 16 hours ), I did not consume any BCAA or any type of food/calories until 2 hours after.

This just works so much better for me, I dont feel hungry upon just finishing exercising, and consuming post workout nutrition just made me stiff, bloated, and clunky.

Waiting 2-3 hours makes all the difference, I feel more supple then, and notice I get full faster from the food. Like I said before, all the research "suggests" that immediate post workout is most optimal, but there is something that just feels so wrong and unnatural about it.

I will continue delaying my post workout nutrition for 2-3 hours for a few weeks and see how it goes.

Exercising Fasted - Leangains site

I spotted a somewhat old post over at Leangains.com and it was very refreshing to see a post ( and link to a clinical study ) showing not only that exercising fasted didnt result in lower anabolic responses, but actually increased anabolic signalling post workout, our old friend P70s6K!

There is a current stigma in thinking that one should not exercise fasted, especially if its high intensity, because your body will catabolise muscle for energy. It was interesting to see Martin at Leangains speculate on the theory of anabolic rebound and this is something I truely believe is real.

Basically, if your body needs to break down extra muscle protein during working out for energy, this breakdown actually creates a cellular "debt". And, that debt is repaid later with interest. Not only does the study that leangains.com links to suggest this, but this actually happens in other circumstances that were already aware of.

What happens in extreme short term fasting? You loose weight, but as soon as you go back to eating, you gain the fat back and more! Your adipocytes saw that weight loss as a short term loan, and they forced you to repay the debt with interest by manipulating the hormones that make you feel hungry and full.

Again, the same cellular behaviour is seen with regards to sleep. If you get little sleep one night, you tend to oversleep the next night.

This is why I firmly believe that muscle cells are also "educated" on the behaviour of cellular debt.


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

L-arginine gene expression



These 2 studies suggest benefits of L-Arginine dietary supplementation, with increased HSL expression.

Fed to pigs at 1%

Testosterone and Heart Attacks


This study suggests that Testosterone activates HSL in the heart, since fatty acids are a major energy source for the heart, letting your Testosterone levels drop can help lead to heart problems.

Post workout feeding - I'm not convinced

Countless studies have shown not only the benefit but perhaps the requirment to feeding immediately or atleast very shortly after working out for increased muscle protein synthesis.

From a Hunter-Gatherer perspective, it does not make sense because the kill would need to be dragged back to camp and cooked before we can ingest protein, and I expect this would take up to 3 hours.

While in the wild, animals eat almost immediately upon making a kill. Anyway, this study suggests that hormone sensitive lipase remains acutely elevated after exercise for up to 3 hours.

Remember that as soon as you eat, insulin is going to shut off HSL. There goes your fat burning. Meanwhile, there have been some studies suggesting that anabolic signalling in muscle remains elevated for 36hours, and that the eating anabolic window can remain open for 24 hours.

Therefore if ones goal is fatloss, I expect it to be beneficial to wait 3 hours after working out before eating. If you want to loose weight you need to stop sending your adipocytes the signal to get bigger, and that is insulin.


Saturday, 21 August 2010

Stuart Philips - Pubmed RE study points

This guys name brought up a selection of interesting studies from pubmed, summary points are...

Phillips Stuart[au]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20711498 - The now famous low load high volume recruits more muscle motor units study

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20581041 - 3 Sets of an exercise stimulates more muscle protein synthesis than 1 set, but we already knew that from the earlier study done on 1,3,5 sets and P70s6K.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20489032 - Exercising in a glycogen depleted state can increase the oxidation and turnover of protein during pro-longed high intensity exercise.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19056590 - 20g of protein was enough to maximally stimulate post work-out MPS. However only 1 muscle group was exercised, this number will obviously go up as multiple muscle groups are usually exercised during a workout.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Whole Milk and Whey as Workout supplements


15g why pre and post workout gave higher anabolic signalling. But worse myostatin decrease


Whole milk gave higher anabolic signialling.

P70S6k occurs mostly in Type II fibres.


This suggests that type II fibres hypertrophy to a greater extent than type I.

P70S6k may also remain elevated for up to 36 hours after resistence exercise.


P70S6k is maximally stimulated some 3-6 hours after exercise. From an evolutionary sense this is suspected, as after a hunt, they probably would not have eaten until 3-6 hours later.

Testosterone and Exercise induced muscle increases are independent?


Well that is what this study seems to suggest,

Androgen Anabolic Muscle Growth


These results suggest that androgen responsiveness of skeletal muscles is determined by the level of androgen receptor protein in a particular muscle and that androgen receptor protein content is regulated by translational or post-translational mechanisms


Altogether, androgens seem to have strong negative impact on myostatin expression, which might be a key factor in the weight regulation of LA muscle

Muscle growth and Testes


Points of note from this study are...

- Testosterone is known to act differentially on skeletal muscle from different regions, Sexual dimorphism in muscle growth relates to the protein anabolic effect of testicular hormones.

- Testosterone through the androgen receptor can stimulate local IGF-1 which increases muscle mass independent of myostatin.

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The number of reptitions perfomed at a given % of 1RM is a constant

It made sense to me intuitively, but here is a study that even shows it!


Myostatin and muscle force


Perhaps messing with myostatin may not be such a good idea afterall. Decreased muscle force and less muscle oxidative capacity.

Androgens, Testosterone, and Receptors

Every man wants high Testosterone. The problem is serum levels are usually tightly regulated to stay in a certain range by the body.

Increasing your serum levels via drugs/injections/supplements is doomed to fail in the long run becuase your body will down regulate its own production of T.

The key is actually to increase the androgen receptor's on your cells. They will suck Androgens out of the serum and by the bodies self regulatory system, it will sense low T and therefore increase its own production.

Afterall, theres no point having the T levels of a horny bull if your cells aint expressing any androgen receptors.


Anyway, it was interesting to see this study suggests a link between androgen receptor expression and P70S6k.

More investigation to follow.

P70S6k and exercising Fasted

Im a big fan of exercising fasted, it feels more natural, I feel I have more energy and can my mind is more clear.

However this study seems to suggest that P70S6k is even more elevated after exercise with a pre-workout feeding. Sigh.


Carb feeding after exercise may alter muscle metabolic adaption


This study seems to suggest that carb feeding after exercise may influence the oxidative capacity of skeletal muscle.

When attempting to loose fat, it may therefore be beneficial to not consume carbs post work out, as free fatty acids can only undergo oxidative respiration

The other question is, does carb feeding after a work out therefore effect gains in Type I vs Type II fibre? Since Type I fibre is highly oxidative.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Stretch induced Hypertrophy and Muscle Contraction Speed


Birds with Chronic Stretch induced muscle hypertrophy exhibited greater force and strength but perhaps alarmingly had slower maximal velocity muscle contractions.

Im optimistic that big muscles doesnt give slow reflexes however since this hypertrophy was purely stretch induced. And we have the anecdote that sprinters are extremely muscular.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

HIIT increases fat oxidation


Note there was also a decrease in glycogenolysis, probably becuase fat oxidation increased.

Training to Failure not Good


This study suggests how training to failure results in less serum resting Testosterone and less IGF-1.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Speed of movement in RE


performing eccentric movement at 180deg per second gave the most hypertrophy.


This study also shows that once again, muscle gets stronger for how you train it.

P70s6 is associated with hypertrophy


This study shows show muscle hypertrophy is strongly associated with an the expression of an enzyme called P70s6.


This study shows how P70s6 varies strongly with training volume.

5 sets of 6 reps was 100% more effective than 3 sets of 6 reps, even though the volume increased by 66%.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

BCAA enchances muscle building


Saturday, 7 August 2010

A new design for Maximal Strength Gains


This study suggests that lifting 85% of 1RM and doing 8 sets per week was most optimal.

Together with the moderate volume data, I will experiment with 7 reptitions per set.

Moderate volume better than high or low for gains



Again, muscle adapts to however you train it


A strength increase for the CON group but not the ECC group.

Eccentric training overrated?


Given it was performed in women, but the Eccentric group got last fast twitch fibre.

Muscle gets better at whatever you train it to do


Just like fat loss, perhaps there is no magic bullet for building muscle. ( aside from myostatin manipulation )

Low-rep high weight produced the best strength gains.

Upper Body Strength is harder to build


Not surprising given how big your legs are compared to other muscles on your body.

Stretching helps build muscle


30 mins stretching 2 times per week can significantly help muscle hypertrophy from lifting.