What is your reason for lifting weights, exercising, or working out? Most people would agree that they do it to maintain or improve their appearance, strength, level of fitness, and/or their overall health. mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin) holds the key to building muscle and rejuvenation. The dysregulation in mTOR pathway can lead to accelerated aging and even early mortality. Cancer, diabetes among other diseases are linked to the deregulation of mTOR. What can we do to prevent this you may ask? By normalizing your mTOR pathway, but before you can begin to understand how to normalize your mTOR pathway you must first understand what mTOR is.
The mammalian target of rapamycin (mTOR) also known as mechanistic target of rapamycin. mTOR is a serine/threonine protein kinase that regulates cell growth, cell proliferation, cell motility, cell survival, protein synthesis, and transcription. So long story short, its a intracellular protein that holds the key to rapid muscle building and muscle health. If you live a lifestyle that stimulates mTOR to stay high, than you’re stimulating your body to age prematurely and support the development of disease. By normalizing your mTOR pathway, not only do you increase your ability to build muscle but help prevent disease, early aging and also lead a healthier life. When we activate mTOR in a non-chronic fashion it increases our protein synthesis in skeletal muscles, leading to muscular hypertrophy.
Ok, so what activates mTOR you ask? Working out and exercising that causes damage to your muscles by creating micro-tears or micro-inflammation along with other factors such as insulin, IGF-1 & IGF-2, oxidative stress and amino acids. Increased insulin can create a spike in mTOR, however people who have become insulin resistant can lose the ability to utilize mTOR. On average 1 in 5 Americans have this problem. This is commonly due to poor choices in diet that contain over abundances in carbohydrates, more specifically high glycemic carbs. Aside from other obvious reasons this is another reason why maintaining a healthy diet is important. It is important to educate yourself to diets that decrease inflammation, prevent disease and maximize your health. For example, one of the more popular anti-inflammatory diets is The Zone Diet created by Dr. Barry Sears.
Now that we know we must regulate our insulin levels in order to normalize mTOR, what can we do to prime ourselves to build muscle optimally? The next thing we must do is to follow a high intensity training program that aims at keeping our training sessions short but intense. These high intensity trainings should be kept under an hour. Training sessions that last more than an hour can be counterproductive because they can cause your body to produce high levels of cortisol and cause testosterone levels to drop significantly. Cortisol is a hormone that is produced in the adrenal gland and plays an important role in glycogenolysis, which is the breaking down of glycogen to glucose-1-phosphate and glucose, in liver and muscle tissue. Elevated levels of cortisol, if prolonged can lead to muscle wasting, which is counterproductive to what we want to achieve if we are training. So try and keep training sessions around 45 mins leaving a little room in case things take longer than expected.
3 Most Common Types of Training that Stimulate mTOR:
High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
There are several forms of HIIT that can be applied. The basic idea behind this training is that is that a certain aerobic or anaerobic activity would be done at high intensity for a short period of time follow by a low intensity period. Most common interval ratios used would be 1:2, 1:1, 2:1, 3:1, etc. If you are training for a specific sport this can be taken into consideration, that way certain exercises and timing schemes can be utilized to maximize sport performance. A popular types of HIIT training can include but not limited to the use of a Prowler sled, battle ropes, a barbell complex, medicine ball, kettle bells and also shuttle runs.
This is the classic lifting weights at a gym. Lifting must be performed with enough intensity and/or volume to increase muscle insulin sensitivity. Throughout your workout you should “feel the burn” and by the end of your training session you should feel overall muscular fatigue.
Plyometric or Ballistic Training- Also known to some people as dynamic training, where some specific movements are used to increase speed and improve your nervous system function. Classic movements can also be used in a ballistic or dynamic fashion, where sub-maximal weights between 40-60% of your max are used and bar speed is more the focus of the training session.
In addition to eating a healthy diet and having an intelligently designed training program, supplements can be included into our plan to help maximize our muscle building pathways. Branch chain amino acids are powerful amino acids that increase HGH and mTOR within the muscles helping muscles grow as well as recover faster. The most anabolic of all the amino acids that stimulate mTOR activity is Leucine. To maintain muscle 1-3 grams should be consumed per day, where upwards from 8-16 grams can be taken to maximize your muscle building potential.
Load Up Your Muscles with Leucine
Food (serving size) Leucine (grams)
Cottage Cheese (1 cup) 2.9
GNC’s AMP Amplified Wheybolic Extreme 60 (1 scoop) 2.6
Turkey Breast (3.5 oz) 2.4
Chicken Breast (3.5 oz) 2.3
Wild Salmon (3.5 oz) 2.0
Canned Tuna (3.5 oz) 2.0
Haddock (3.5 oz) 1.9
Beef “Loin” Cuts (3.5 oz) 1.9
Skim Milk (1 cup) 0.8
Yogurt (1 cup) 1.4
Red Kidney Beans (1 cup) 1.3
Lentils (1 cup) 1.3
Mozzarella Cheese (1 oz) 0.67
Soybeans (1 oz) 0.65
1 large Egg 0.5
Almonds (1 oz) 0.4
1 egg white 0.3
mTOR (mammalian target of rapamycin), an intracellular protein, holds the key to building muscle and rejuvenation.
The dysregulation in mTOR pathway can lead to accelerated aging and even early mortality. Cancer, diabetes among other diseases are linked to the deregulation of mTOR. When mTOR is not regulated it can lead to diseases along with early aging.
In order to maximize our muscle building pathways, mTOR must be normalized through proper dieting.
High Intensity Training such as interval training, weights, and ballistic/plyometic training kept under an hour can stimulate this muscle building pathway if done correctly.
Proper supplementation including BCCA’s, specifically Leucine, can optimize muscle building pathways.