The Gym is not enough for Bodybuilders: Understanding Muscle Protein Synthesis

Every person who wants to pursue bodybuilding and get stronger turns to the gym with the end goal being to activate the much-coveted MPS (Muscle Protein Synthesis) – the process by which the muscles repair and ultimately grow.

When you produce more contractile proteins such as actin and myosin your muscles get bigger and stronger. However, intense strength training can break these proteins down in a process known as MPB (Muscle Protein Breakdown). Thus, you need to keep this in mind:

Net MPS = MPS – MPB

To amp up synthesis over break down, you need to combine extensive training and the right diet into your regime. The molecular switch for stimulating MPS is called the mammalian target of Rapamycin (mTOR). mTOR gets activated by training, lifting weights and eating. By lifting weights, the cell membranes of your muscles activate mTOR. Yet, the most vital activity of all is consuming food that is rich in protein; with the amino acid L-leucine proven to be the main player in protein for triggering MPS.

You should take note that not all proteins are created equal, for instance, compared to soy, whey proteins are more effective in generating a larger increase in blood essential amino acids and in turn stimulating MPS. This action leads to the production of muscle-building proteins. The food you take in also causes insulin release which halts the process of MPB.

MPB is initiated by intense training, inflammation, stress, and hormonal imbalances such as elevated cortisol. Thus, to boost Net MPS, you must try to keep MPB down.

Keeping the level of MPB low is naturally done by our body and by our actions – food, activity, and sleep. Insulin triggers molecular signals that turn off MPB. Carbohydrates and proteins like milk derived casein are particularly adept at reducing the activity of cellular machinery of MPB. When you are in deep sleep, our body produces growth hormone and IGF-1 which curbs MPB.

The breakdown product of leucine is called beta-hydroxy-beta-methyl-butyric acid or HMB. In short, HMB is a supplement ingredient that is particularly good at fighting MPB associated with resistance training.

As you age, as early as 40, your muscles become less sensitive to the effects of leucine and insulin. Your body tends to drift toward MPB. The exact reasons behind this are multifactorial and complex but Science is on your side.

Hence, it is critical to boosting protein in your diet as you age. Studies show that it takes a greater leucine spike from a meal to activate mTOR in a 70- year-old than a young adult i.e “Leucine resistance.” 20g of whey protein may optimize mTOR activity in a young adult, but an older individual may require up to 40g for the same result.

For a much-needed boost, you can consider adding Beyond Raw® Iso-Peptide Protein to your routine. Do make sure to let the soreness resolve before training that body part again. Allow plenty of time in your training schedule for recovery of your muscle. Yes, you might have a goal and a deadline, but your body cannot achieve it if you don’t let it reboot.

In summary, keep the math in mind when putting together your training, supplementation, and diet. Because when it comes to bodybuilding and increasing muscle mass, the gym is definitely not enough.

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