There exists a powerful intracellular protein called mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin). Pursued in acute elevations post-workout, mTor is the key to rapid muscle building/ elevated protein synthesis.
Now I say ACUTE rather than chronic elevation as stimulating mTOR to stay high, can cause your body to age prematurely and support the development of many diseases.
When mTOR is activated in a non-chronic fashion it increases protein synthesis within the muscle and this leads to muscular hypertrophy.
SO WHAT ELEVATES mTOR?
· Intense exercise resulting in muscle damage- or to be specific heavy loads done with accentuated eccentrics. .add 1/4 reps or isometric holds at the end of the set, as the mix of damaging loads and time under tension are a huge stimulus BUT when you begin to exercise, mTOR is inhibited. It's after you finish exercising, mTOR release is heightened insensitivity. It’s ready to be released as soon as you consume food. Ideally, a high glycemic post-workout feeding as the second stimulant is,
· Insulin elevation- from high calories to glycemic load. Elevated insulin triggers the release of the mTOR and its' effect.
So what would the PWO feed look like? Whey protein in full-sugar Gatorade would be a very basic refeed. Given a relatively lean and insulin-sensitive physique, we could go for a stack of pancakes with much syrup. a whey shake on the side. Glucose clearance supplements would augment the effectiveness of the refeed- things like Fenugreek, Gymnema Sylvestra, and Bitter Gourd come to mind, as do the minerals chromium picolinate and vanadium.
BUT HERE'S THE RUB
If insulin is chronically elevated, you can grow quite insensitive to its effects — even to the point of developing diabetes. Given insulin activates mTOR, you can also lose your ability to gain muscle efficiently if the insulin is chronically elevated.
So in fact here's where allowing blood sugar to drop rather than the current trend of frequent feedings will aid the mTOR effect. Harken back to the remarkable results of the Arnold / Vince Gironda era where the stars of that day tended to have 3 square meals- generous in size but nothing in between. They were, in fact, spiking their mTOR levels 3 times/ day without fear of desensitizing to the effects.
To drive this point home further, intermittent fasting has shown to be yet another stimulus to mTOR- especially when training upon arising with the empty stomach. It's almost like the fasted cardio crowd were onto something albeit incorrect in their "why?". Switch to fasted lifting with accentuated eccentrics and time under tension for a much larger effect.
Recall that intermittent fasting not only upregulates mTOR, but it also increases Growth Hormone release, which increases the fat burning and anti-aging pathways of the body. In a nutshell, when we beat up the body with a little starvation and hard training, the healthy physiology releases a cascade of anabolic and anti-catabolic protective hormones. Add a nutrient feed in this hormonal window and accelerated recuperation ensues.
The biggest inhibitor of mTOR is the hormone AMPK. Where AMPK is active under nutrient-poor conditions and inactive under nutrient-rich conditions, mTOR is activated in the inverse pattern.
Made in the Hypothalamus, AMPK is capable of increasing glucose production if it senses that cellular energy is low.
So if we take a step back, the ideal day for the lifter is a PWO feed. .spike the insulin/ mTOR and regenerate the muscles ( BUT chronically elevated mTOR like insulin has the potential to increase body fat). So we now take a few hours before your next meal. As blood sugar starts to drop, AMPK can kick in and catabolize body fat (lipolysis) to create much-needed glucose/ glycogen (gluconeogenesis). So we're in effect bouncing back and forth ideally between muscle growth and fat burning. .get it?
So how would the day play out?
· Early rise, a cup of coffee (maybe some tyrosine to help dopamine levels) and head to the gym on an empty stomach
· Workout comprised of compound movements (think big muscle damage- squats over tricep kickbacks). Do reps in the 6-8 load to promote a heavy load with an appreciable degree of time under tension. Think tempos like 32X0 on pressing or 4012 on pulling. Add partial reps or isometric holds at the end of each set
· Now go have insulin spiking PWO shake (carbs and whey) or more if the mirror tells you the midsection says "pancakes are ok".
· Add glucose disposal supps. I like ATP's GlucoControl.
· Now get a little hungry before you have breakfast.
· Lunch and Dinner at well-spaced intervals. Ideally controlled carbs, healthy fats and a large amount of easy to digest proteins.
· Don't eat after dinner so as to promote the hormonal benefits of intermittent fasting.
· Support your digestion at these three large meals so as to absorb the protein content maximally. I like ATP's Enzymatic control
· Support your sleep with Magnesium, melatonin. I like to control end of the day cortisol with Relora, a prime ingredient in ATP's Stressless.
So there's your mTOR blueprint. Hope it makes sense. Here's to many successes as always in your training.
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mTOR 101: A user's guide