Growth and Atrophy- Optimizing Your Windows
Any trainer worth their salt deals with clients looking to gain weight or lose weight on a daily basis. At Prime, most of our guys are looking for mass. Providing them with a basic understanding, and some helpful tactics has made a world of difference. Muscle gain without adequate nutrition is not possible. Education and adherence can be the difference between a mediocre off-season and an electric one!
The human body only has two states. Anabolic and Catabolic. Anabolic means growth. Catabolic is atrophy( getting smaller). We are never staying the same. One of these two switches is always flipped. If we are trying to grow muscle it is crucial we spend as much time in an anabolic state as possible.
An anabolic state is induced when we have recently consumed more calories than our body is using. That includes exercise, metabolic processes, any activity that uses energy. If you have a fast metabolism or are very active, you will need to consume more as well as more often.
Keeping the growth switch on- throughout the day your body will be burning what you have consumed. Frequently eating can keep you growing. The biggest enemy of this is sleep. Typically within a few hours of our last meal we start shrinking. This can mean 8,9,10 hours of catabolic state. More if you are not a breakfast person! So how do we combat this? Casein and discipline! Casein protein is metabolized very slowly and is found in abundance in milk products. This can assist us in tricking our body to believe we have excess nutrients. Cottage cheese is my go-to recommendation, but any milk product will work. Consume a few servings before bed will prolong the anabolic window. Upon waking, quickly consume something high in calories( preferably something with some measure of quality nutrients). A fruit juice works well. This will toss you back into growth mode. Now you have some time to prepare your well rounded, protein filled breakfast!
The Muscle Plateau- Another phenomenon athletes face is the quick gain subsequently followed by a hard stop. Calories that worked before may no longer be adequate for building. Here is why. Muscle is expensive. Every pound you add raises your resting metabolism significantly. The calories that had you growing before might only be enough to maintain. This is a one of the primary failures associated with high levels of cardio for fat loss. Gaining 5lbs of muscle, which is actually quite simple for an untrained individual would be similar to a 30 minute slow jog in free caloric burn! The underlying message for athletes trying to build- if you experienced good initial results and have hit a hard wall, increase calories and proteins until the wall crumbles.
Let us know what you think! Hit us up with some ideas for things you’ve been wondering about!