Module 3: The End of "Bad Bulking" (Plus FREE BONUS REPORT: The Emergency Transformation Plan)
This is going to be a pretty long advisory so strap in.
First off, Mounir asked a question about last week's email and it was a good one so I'd like to share the question and the response:
Great stuff again. I am really liking the Inner Circle.
I have two questions:
Why no coffee pre workout when training later on the day or evening? For night training i can imagine it might reduce quality of sleep perhaps but im curious why coffee is a bad idea when training in the evening.
My second question is why fasted training is so beneficial? I usually have a strong urge to eat something to feel a bit more energized for my workout.
Thanks in advance for the response and keep up the good work!
Ok, question #1: Yes, it's strictly a matter of the caffeine disturbing sleep. If you can handle coffee before a late afternoon or evening workout and still get your sleep, then go for it. But for most people, caffeine after 3pm is usually a no-go.
Question #2 is a little more complex: Last week I told you how coffee after your workout can suppress MTOR. The suppression/activation sequence with MTOR works a little bit like a slingshot. When you suppress MTOR, it works like pulling back a sling-shot.
You are not permanently supressing MTOR, but rather temporarily suppressing MTOR so that it can "fire back" afterward. The further you pull back a slingshot, the further you can shoot a rock.
The same concept applies with MTOR -- exercise temporarily supresses MTOR.... but then MTOR comes roaring back after the exercise session is over. Fasting also temporarily suppresses MTOR... but again MTOR comes roaring back once you break the fast.
By combining both fasting & exercise, we can "double down" on the MTOR suppression/bounce back model. So if you've never tried exercising while fasted, give it a shot. (Give yourself 30 days to adjust before you make a decision.)
Hopefully that makes sense. We'll be talking more about MTOR and other geeky science stuff (geeky science stuff that can help you build muscle and get ripped) in future issues.
For now, let's jump to...
BULKING DONE BADLY
Listen, everybody is doing bulking wrong. Yes, everyone.
Because when it comes to bulking, everybody focuses on protein and calories. And that's a mistake. Tell me if this sounds familiar: You finish a diet and you decide it's time to "bulk up." So you increase you calories and things are going great for the first few weeks. But then the scale won't budge so you increase you calories again.
Now the scale is moving but you're getting that sinking feeling that you're just getting fat. But strength is up and if you look at yourself in the mirror with juuuuuuust the right angle and juuuuust the right lighting conditions you can still make out your top 2 abs so you keep going.
A few weeks later, you realize the mistake. You catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and see that you have DEFINITELY packed on some fat. Sigh. Time to diet again. So you jump on board with the latest "cutting" diet and start trimming down again.
Repeat... repeat... repeat.
Sound about right?
So here's the thing: Most people get "bulking" wrong because they increase the calories on the very first day of their bulking plan. Because they believe that the "mechanism" which promotes muscle growth is over-eating.
And this is where the problem lies. Because eating extra calories is NOT what drives muscle growth. If that were the case, everybody in line at the local all-you-can eat buffet would look like a bodybuilder.
If you don't feel like geeking out with the science, here's a quick summary:
Researchers decided to purposefully cripple some rats to see how it impacts muscle gain. They took the rats and actually SLASHED the achilles tendon on one of the rat's hind legs. Then, these researchers/scientists/sadists forced these poor, crippled rats to get on a tiny little treadmill and run!
Sounds pretty cruel right?
Well, dry your eyes sunshine because here's where things START to get interesting. In just 6 days, the muscles in the rat's “good leg” increased by a whopping 40%! This is certainly interesting but probably not all that surprising.
After all, the rats were forced to run with only one good rear leg. So it stands to reason the good leg was forced to do more work, and then responded by gaining muscle to keep up with the demands. Even though this study was done on rats, we see the same phenomenon happen with humans.
If you break your leg and are suddenly forced to rely more on your good leg, you can expect that your good leg will get bigger and more muscular.
But here's where things get really interesting. The scientists repeated the experiment only this time they starved the rats. That's right. The new rats had one of their hind legs cut, were forced to run on a treadmill AND they were given no food. So what happened? Nothing different.
Even with no food, no calories, no protein, the rats good leg got bigger and more muscular. At some point researchers noted muscle wasting in other areas of the rat, but the “good leg” continued to get bigger and stronger. This proves that when it comes to building muscle, what you do in the gym is far more important than what you do in the kitchen.
But it doesn't end there.
Researchers further tested their hypothesis but cutting off the rat's testicles and running the experiment again. With no testicles, the rats had zero testosterone levels. So what would happen this time around? No difference. Even without any testosterone, the “good” leg of the rats still got bigger and more muscular. Researchers also repeated the experiment to account for growth hormone, insulin and thyroid hormones. No matter what they did, the results didn't change much.
Leading researchers to conclude that when it comes to building muscle, the work load is the primary factor for muscle gain.
Ok, so what does this mean for YOU?
Obviously, you're not a rat. Yet, much of this research still applies. We know that when a human muscle is asked to do more work than usual, it responds by growing larger and stronger.
And while calories can help SUPPORT this process, they are not the main driver of the muscle growth process.
So how do we use this information to actually gain muscle without getting fat?
Step #1: Pick a workout program with some kind of progression plan. It doesn't matter what you do. It can be a free weight program or a bodyweight-exercise program. But whatever you choose, you must have a plan in place for progression.
Something as simple as whenever you can hit 10 reps with a desired weight, you increase the weight by 5lbs next time around.
Step #2: Start out your program by eating at MAINTENANCE levels. This is what people screw up. "But Matt... I want to gain weight!"
Eat at maintenance levels and begin your workout program. You will most likely be able to run your program for 3-6 weeks and progress almost every single week. You might start out squatting 185lbs for 8 reps and end up increasing the weight 5lbs a week for 4 straight weeks before you hit the wall.
Step #3: When you hit the wall -- when you have multiple workouts where you cannot increase the weight lifted or increase the number of reps achieved, THEN you increase your calories by 500 per day.
You'll find that the extra calories will immediately translate to improved progress in the gym.
Keep the calories constant at your new level and then when you hit the wall again, increase the calories again.
When you follow this method, you'll gain muscle and size slowly over the course of 6-12 months without packing on fat like most people do.
Step #4: End the bulking program when you get to 15% body fat MAX. To be honest I won't go above 10-12%, but younger guys can push it to 15%. There's no reason for anyone to go over 15% body fat unless you're an offensive lineman and the extra fat helps your performance on the field.
For the average guy who just wants to build muscle and look good, 15% is the hard cap.
Whew. I told you this would be a long advisory. Let's wrap this up. To recap -- don't try and use over-eating as the mechanism for building muscle. That doesn't work for most guys.
Instead, pick a progression-based workout program, eat at maintenance levels until you fail to progress in the gym and THEN increase calories to drive performance in the gym which will result in increased muscle mass.
Interesting side note: If you follow this bulking plan, you would never need to step on the scale. Because instead of using bodyweight as a guide for when to increase calories, you'd instead be using your gym log-book as the indicator for when to increase calories.
Almost forgot, here's the link to the Emergency Transformation Plan I promised you last week. Just ANOTHER awesome free bonus for you as my way of saying thanks for being a part of this private group. I actually wrote this plan a few years back but I STILL get people writing me and sharing their results so it's definitely stood the test of time. Enjoy.
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