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mccoy

Exercise optimization

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It's interesting to notice that, notwithstanding my efforts, bodyweight seems particularly stubborn and unwilling to grow up. My system seems to refuse  to accept any anabolic signals, or at least, is not very receptive to them apparently. This would be apparent from my bodyweight graph, which is stable and drops down whenever the 67 kg threshold is overcome.

image.png.7a2b6db0c2cede2d866c55631161c68c.png

The difficulties in boosting MPS (muscel protein synthesis) may be due to a host of factors, among which unsufficient mechanical stress, unsufficient nutrient signaling.

I'm taking some BCAAs before workouts, but they seem to be an horrible bang for the buck. I'm also taking creatine monohydrate phosphate in moderate dosages, which is unexpensive but I cannot say the effects for sure.

I'm not adhering to the post workout anabolic window theory, since it's controverse:

https://www.t-nation.com/supplements/top-10-post-workout-nutrition-myths

I'll rather listen to the body intelligence: if I feel hungry and I have the possibility, I'll eat protein after a workout, but more often than not I won't. Adhering to such a theory is not without potential detriment, since eating when not hungry woudl constitute a dietary abuse, an excess of nutrients with all the consequences.

 

Edit: BCAAs, not such an horrible bang for the buck, if they are a little effective. One 310 tablets tub would be enough for 75 workouts, that is 5 to 7 months, at about 50 Euro. I cannot say if they are really effective though. I'm going to finish the tub I had left (I decided not to take them any longer previously).

 

Edited by mccoy

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Just after a pecs workout; muscles do tend to get bloated.

I'm starting to increase loads and this of course creates a more substantial anabolic signal to muscles.

The signal given by the FAK mechanoreceptors appears to be the one which really governs and most stimulates local mTOR in skeletal muscles. Even though there are techniques to leverage such signal, loading always seems to govern.

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286053571_Exercise_and_the_Regulation_of_Skeletal_Muscle_Hypertrophy

image.png.dbe7386daa8607b3a9596e7715c0641b.png

 

Edited by mccoy

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Post-workout anabolic window:

I still don't understand whether the above hyopthesis stands true or not. In my case, I don't see the existence of an anabolic window, or better, that's dependent upon single workouts.

The most recent literature puts the issue of a post meal workout to boost MPS in a more complex issue, of eventual fasted training an so on. But, as it says, there is no cluclusive evidence.

 

J Int Soc Sports Nutr. 2013; 10: 5.
Published online 2013 Jan 29. doi: 10.1186/1550-2783-10-5
PMCID: PMC3577439
PMID: 23360586

Nutrient timing revisited: is there a post-exercise anabolic window?

 
Quote

Discussion

Despite claims that immediate post-exercise nutritional intake is essential to maximize hypertrophic gains, evidence-based support for such an “anabolic window of opportunity” is far from definitive. The hypothesis is based largely on the pre-supposition that training is carried out in a fasted state. During fasted exercise, a concomitant increase in muscle protein breakdown causes the pre-exercise net negative amino acid balance to persist in the post-exercise period despite training-induced increases in muscle protein synthesis [36]. Thus, in the case of resistance training after an overnight fast, it would make sense to provide immediate nutritional intervention--ideally in the form of a combination of protein and carbohydrate--for the purposes of promoting muscle protein synthesis and reducing proteolysis, thereby switching a net catabolic state into an anabolic one. Over a chronic period, this tactic could conceivably lead cumulatively to an increased rate of gains in muscle mass.

 

 
he most rec

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My personal, n=1 observations, are that sometimes the body does not require much food after a workout, that is, there is not enough hunger to justify a post-workout meal, not even a small-bulk one (which would be proteic though). The system just rejects the idea and, if compelled, expresses its disappointment with nausea or bad feelings.

I find it's maybe easier to have a post workout meal in the summertime, since thirst and hunger combine in the request of a proteic smoothie.

I also find that the body requests hydration more often than amminoacids before and after a workout.

In my case intuition, or body intelligence, or more scientifically the set of neurological signals which decides, by the overwhelming sensation of hunger, that the system is in an acute anabolic phase and strongly needs protein-rich nutrients, are sometiems simply lacking. I do not feel the need not the stimulus to eat after a workout.

My interpretation is that to the muscles sometimes benefit more from a temporary regeneration and catabolism than from uninvited anabolism.

Maybe my interpretation clashes against the very common conception of the benefits to MPS of a post-workout meal, but the truth that lack of hunger denies the very opportunity of anabolism is undeniable.

Bottom line, I do not subscribe to the absolute usefulness of post workout meals. I'll eat a proteic meal if the body really requests and only in the measure that it is proportional to the digestive power. Should I practice forced feeding on myself I'm sure I'd get sick. I don't know how bodybuilders are able to continously force-feed themselves. Maybe continuos hunger is a prerequisite to bodybuilding.

 

Edited by mccoy

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To get back to the issue of best nutrient timing for MPS, it's probably when the body requests it and that's variable individually.

The requests are made clear by neurological signals: degree of hunger, delayed satiety, specific food cravings.

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Hi McCoy!

I always eat a salad with greens, black beans and chickpeas BEFORE working out -- and nothing after.  The article appears to be discussing exercising while fasting -- something I never do.

But, immediately before and after exercising, I always drink a fairly large quantity of water -- that's important (I get dehydrated otherwise).

  --  Saul

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Saul, that's one thing I too feel always the need of: hydration. I satisfy it usually with water, and watery fruits.

The strict purpose of peri-workout meals would be to boost muscle protein synthesis, which is maybe less of a priority for your type of exercise (mainly endurance-cardio).

Edited by mccoy

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Maybe the most well-known review article on muscle hypertrophy:

THE MECHANISMS OF MUSCLE HYPERTROPHY AND THEIR APPLICATION TO RESISTANCE TRAINING BRAD J. SCHOENFELD Global Fitness Services, Scarsdale, New York

Quote

PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS Current research suggests that maximum gains in muscle hypertrophy are achieved by training regimens that produce significant metabolic stress while maintaining a moderate degree of muscle tension. A hypertrophy-oriented program should employ a repetition range of 6–12 reps per set with rest intervals of 60–90 seconds between sets. Exercises should be varied in a multiplanar, multiangled fashion to ensure maximal stimulation of all muscle fibers. Multiple sets should be employed in the context of a split training routine to heighten the anabolic milieu. At least some of the sets should be carried out to the point of concentric muscular failure, perhaps alternating microcycles of sets to failure with those not performed to failure to minimize the potential for overtraining. Concentric repetitions should be performed at fast to moderate speeds (1–3 seconds) while eccentric repetitions should be performed at slightly slower speeds (2–4 seconds). Training should be periodized so that the hypertrophy phase culminates in a brief period of highervolume overreaching followed by a taper to allow for optimal supercompensation of muscle tissue.

 

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Pfffth. This is data using untrained men. Time under load isn’t magic. It’s just another way of manipulating total loading while pretending you’re not. With decent form, you’re not going to injure yourself lifting weights. It’s just not that dangerous.  I’d rather use something that’s proven to increase hypertrophy or strength in trained men than the fad du jour, if that’s what I wanted.

This is as goofy as the fascination with HIIT, which is useful for some markers of cardiovascular fitness/adaptation and useless for others. Does it work? Sure. Do other things work better? You betcha. 

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Genny, we all know that tere are so many variables that it's not possible to provide a strategy which fits everyone.

In my case: after a very long period of inactivity the connective tissue in my upper body was in an hypotrophic state and I suffered nagging pains from lifting. Unproper form had nothing to do with that. What allowed me to train was light weights, higher reps and less rest.

TUL works in stressing muscle, but the metabolic stress may be too high to ensure hypertrophy. And Mentzer's heavy duty method implies lifting max weights with the ensuing drawbacks.

Presently Brad Shoenfeld is the recognized authority in muscular hypertrophy. He's the best apparently. He used to train and be a personal trainer. His conclusions are based upon personal experience and studies, which include trained subjects.

He presently proposes a scheme based upon periodization, which includes alternating very heavy weights (to increse strenght and mechanoreceptors stimuli)  and lighter weights.

The issue with heavy weights, close to your 1RM, is that they undiplutably raise the likelyhood of injuries and inflammations. After a certain age, it may be dangerous.

The foremost rule to train for fitnes: DO NOT GET INJURIED!

An injury will set you back inexorably.

 

Edited by mccoy

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I definitely agree that you should avoid injury!  I have a SLAP tear from bad pushup form as a teenager, so I can't train over-the-head anywhere close to 1 rep max.  Most studies, though, show no big difference in either hypertophy or strength gains for more than 5 sets and more than 5 reps (if we are talking natural lifters--juiceheads get lots of benefits from more reps).  As long as you're at 5-8 sets and 5-10 reps and are really getting a good workout in that range--not to failure but to "stutter"--we're talking teeny differences.  At that point, it works out to sets times reps times load, AT ANY GIVEN PACE.   If you slow down your reps, then really that's exactly the same as doing more reps, in terms of total muscle loading.  But once you get below a certain threshold in terms of weight, stimulation dives pretty steeply.  That's why there's the sweet-spot range.

I'm not sure what your BMI is, but from a look at you, you're probably just not putting in the time and loading required to go beyond what you have.  That is NOT an insult but rather a compliment.  You have a certain amount of potential for building, and your cheap and easy gains are clearly far behind you.   A FFMI of 22 is quite good for a man (that's all the easy gains for a young man there), 23 is quite impressive, and a FFMI of 25 is at the limits of the possible for the most elite and dedicated natural bodybuilders with quite lengthy and dedicated programming.  Most professional bodybuilder coaches have very, very few clients that ever hit this number.  From your general shape, I'm guessing you're a fair bit north of 40 years old, and the people who have lifted their whole lives seem to dip after 50 in terms of how much muscle they can keep on, so there's that, too.

I've done cross training sometimes for fun (think Crossfit without the stupid and dangerous), and it does reps and sacrifices weight.  I can tell you that the 5-8, 5-10 formula is INCREDIBLY true with hypertrophy.  You start pushing into sets of 30 or TUL equal to that amount (60 seconds, or even 1:30), and sure, all the flabby boys and girls are getting both muscle and strength.  Meanwhile, my muscles are shrinking, and forget my 1RM, my 5RM is in the tank, even as I'm doing quite heavy kettlebells, etc.  And I'm a girl!  My muscles weren't that big to start with!

Edited by Genny

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Genny, my age is now 58, my current BMI is 23.3 on the average and my max BMI when I had to interrupt my serious training (at age 28) because of mysterious pains was 25. Of course it was natty training.

Probably naturals with favourable genetic predisposition may reach a BMI of 27, which is the value around which Torre Washington seems to hover.

I'm sure that BMI 25 can be reached by naturals beause that was my case!

My case is pretty specific, in that I had to completely stop training at age 30, only being able to do some running. I was able to restart training at 56, so now I'm suffering the drawbacks of a long layoff and of age-related anabolic resistance.

 

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FFMI of 25 at a low BF%. Not BMI.  

 

http://scoobysworkshop.com/the-natty-limit/

You can’t conflate the two—also, fat-associated FFM inflates the FFMI numbers with people with BFP above 6-8%.

Given your current BMI and age, you’re going to be facing real biological limitations getting much larger. Easy gains get a lean guy between a BMI of 23 and 25 depending on age. (Not a FFMI of 25–and I just about nailed yours, btw. 😛 ) You’re facing the slower gains and also lower levels of testosterone and growth hormone.  There is no magic formula. You’ll make incremental gains to a point and then you’d have to significantly your total time to get more.  There is no health-based reason to do this.  There is also no health-based reason for me to work on my shape, either.  I just want to.

Take a look at Jack LaLanne when he was 40 vs 60. That guy worked out 2 hours a day his whole life without interruption, but he was at a BMI of 23 by 80.

Edited by Genny

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Ah yes, FFMI, my bad I didn't spot the difference!

I concur with the reasonings in the site you linked, my natty limit would have been most probably 80 kg in my twenties, with a few more years  of effort. Now My FFM is 20.5 but I would never hope to realistically rise above 22 and there would be no reason I also concur on this. The following seems to be a reference article which dates back to 1995, I wonder if it hasd been updated since.

Send to

 
 
 
 
Clin J Sport Med. 1995 Oct;5(4):223-8.

Fat-free mass index in users and nonusers of anabolic-androgenic steroids.

Abstract

We calculated fat-free mass index (FFMI) in a sample of 157 male athletes, comprising 83 users of anabolic-androgenic steroids and 74 nonusers. FFMI is defined by the formula (fat-free body mass in kg) x (height in meters)-2. We then added a slight correction of 6.3 x (1.80 m - height) to normalize these values to the height of a 1.8-m man. The normalized FFMI values of athletes who had not used steroids extended up to a well-defined limit of 25.0. Similarly, a sample of 20 Mr. America winners from the presteroid era (1939-1959), for whom we estimated the normalized FFMI, had a mean FFMI of 25.4. By contrast, the FFMI of many of the steroid users in our sample easily exceeded 25.0, and that of some even exceeded 30. Thus, although these findings must be regarded as preliminary, it appears that FFMI may represent a useful initial measure to screen for possible steroid abuse, especially in athletic, medical, or forensic situations in which individuals may attempt to deny such behavior.

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You seem slightly concerned that protein might be having a negative impact on your "gainz," but I really, really wouldn't worry about it--meaning, I don't think you're actually making a trade-off at all.

Have you read the research that has used full-body split weightlifting workouts that showed that the effects of training DECREASED BOTH protein synthesis and protein breakdown?  And that protein breakdown is decreased MORE?  So the protein needs of young men who are initially untrained (meaning the people most genetically able to build muscle at the time in their lives that it's easiest to build muscle) actually DECREASE when they start weightlifting?

This makes absolute sense from a free-living human perspective.  Throughout pretty much all of history, people haven't been able to go, "Hey!  I wanna build muscle!  I'm going to eat more meat!"  Instead, they had to be able to use the protein typically available in their diets to put on enough muscle in response to the loads to be able to handle their workload.  With no special muscle stimulation, the body will quickly cycle protein through muscle and then break it down.  But when the body is stimulated, it preferentially hangs onto as much protein as possible, because it knows it has more need for protein than is already existing in the muscles of the body.

Take a look at the mosaics of gladiators.  Those guys were JACKED on barley and beans and very little meat--sufficient protein but certainly not high by any measure.

In short, given what we know about the mTOR pathway upregulation you should expect from protein excess, I wouldn't try to eat more protein than you are now because you want to gain muscle.  There's a reason my own levels hang around 10% intake.  In high school, I ate no more protein than I do now, and I would have handily broken the state squat powerlifting record for any weight class if my high school had participated in powerlifting competitions.

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Re: protein requirement, by this time I think it's impossible to determine by the scientific literature how much we really need. The official RDA=0.8 g/kg/d is debated because of the N-balance method used and, even if it were right, it only provides us a wide statistical distribution (Rand et al, 2002), from which a cautious value has been adopted:

attachment.php?attachmentid=3402&d=1547217300

Also, the above does not probably reflect isocaloric conditions (I'll write about the consequences on CR in another thread).

Present reccomendations for bodybuilders who seek hypertrophy is 2.2 g/kg/d, so almost thrice the RDA. But of course hypertrophy implies raw material for MPS.

Strength: we know it's different from hypertrophy, whereas the latter requires necessarily an active mTOr with high phosphorylation and availability of amminoacids for MPS, the former does not , or at least requires just the material needed for metabolic balance.

Gladiators: which were the amounts of barley soup they ate? this may be more a case of type of protein (mostly plant-based) than of amount of them (potentially unlimited). Moreover, gladiators pursued fighting efficiency, which requires explosive strength, not hypertrophy.

But, bottom line, in consideration of the confused state of knowledge from literature (which may reflect the complexity of the issue), I'm going to adopt intuitive eating and trial and error.

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Update: I've presently lost about 2 kg of bodyweight, without any apparent reason, even though muscular strength increased after some nagging pains subsided. Maybe just old anabolic resistance, maybe because I paused taking creatine and it has desaturated the muscles, decreasing their hydration. 

Also, and this is pretty interesting, I started ingesting non-neglibile amounts of dairy protein (mainly nonfat greek yogurt and cottage cheese), but this apparently has not helped hypertrophy. Whereas my highest bodyweight, 78.4, was recorded after many months of eating almost exclusively plant-based protein. Of course ratios of lean to fat mass are unlnown so the above is totally anecdotal.

My present bodyweight decrease may be also explained by less energy ingested, since I cut my fats consumption.

Well, aging wasn't meant to be easy anyway...

Edited by mccoy
typos

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I snapped another picture but I'm noticing that, compared to december, there has been no progress in hypertrophy, rather some loss, although strength has definitely increased and a little definition  is always there.

Maybe because I'm eating less, maybe because I discontinued creatine, which I'll be taking again to see the diffeence. Anyway, this is natural bodybuilding for guys approaching their sixties, thresholds are hit soon, aches and fatigue prevent training too hard and gaining at a constant rate.

image.png.dff4eda54b88b25d7b23983b96123eae.png

 

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This is exactly 3 days after Longo's FMD, with a weightloss of about 3.5 kg. I can see a ghost of a sixpack. In 2 weeks I should regain the previous weight, I'll make sure there is going to be the proper anabolic signals, above all exercise.

image.png.f5583d41472e4875995304e549ad73fc.png 

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Hey McCoy,

I’m reading this topic with interest, and hopefully you can answer a question or 2.

After stumbling upon some interesting research, I am extremely determined to apply CR. However, since I’m build very lean (even if I’d eat a lot and unhealthy the most I could gain would be some belly fat) I’m reluctant to become a walking skeleton of sorts. So before I start CR I’m now deadbound to get myself in shape. I’m already pretty athletic (precisely because I would otherwise close to disappear!) but for the first time I’m pondering bodybuilding and getting “huge” (for now I’ve upped my regular game and now take pea protein since as a vegan you simply fall short) . My guess is, my hope is, although CR wouldn’t allow me to gain additional muscle, it would maintain the muscle I already put on if I continue exercising. I’ve read quite a few NCBI articles about this - though those were mostly directed at the benefits of CR and if exercise provides additional benefits (which doesn’t/hardly seems to be the case) - and it seems muscle can be spared in a state of CR! 

Since you seem to be well read on the subject, even though you aren’t on a CR diet, I wonder if you have a say about my little scheme: “get ripped, go CR, don’t disappear”. Will it work? I feel this part, upping calories and protein and growing a lot of muscle, will be a lot harder than CR thinking I normally enjoy about 1500-2000 calories a day if I’d just do my unforced vegan routine. So I’d hate to lose my hardgained effort. I’d happily return in 6 to 12 months and pick your brain on muscle sparing CR diet and caloric-sparse muscle maintenance!

Thanks in advance!  

Edited by Second
Grammar

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21 hours ago, Michael R said:

Good God, McCoy! You're a beast!

LOL, thanks for the encouragement, but there are so many real beasts out there !

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