Weight Gain

Gaining Stored Body Fat

• We want some body fat for proper hormonal function

• Stored fat is the result of a caloric surplus (Eating more calories than you are burning)

• Prolonged fat accumulation can cause insulin resistance (reduces cellular glucose uptake)

• Can create negative hormonal feedback loop making weight gain even easier

After a meal, carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, then enter the bloodstream where it can be used as fuel with the help of insulin. If there is an excess amount of glucose some of it will be stored in the liver as glycogen. Some of that glucose is converted into fatty acids and stored as fat in adipose tissue. Adipose tissue will store the fatty acids until insulin levels decrease and glucagon levels increase. If you eat a diet that is high in refined carbohydrates OR you are constantly in a caloric surplus OR you are constantly eating carbohydrates throughout the day keeping blood glucose levels elevated OR you are constantly under stress increasing cortisol, you will store more fat and may run into problems with insulin resistance.

Furthermore, as more glucose is being stored as fatty acids, cholesterol is being bound to these fatty acids in the form of HDL and LDL Cholesterols. This process limits production of Cortisol, but also the production of DHEA (Dehydroepiandrosterone). DHEA is a precursor to Testosterone and Estrogen. Decreased DHEA = Decreased Testosterone = Decreased dopamine, increased risk of depression, reduction in muscle composition, increased stress response, among other things. It’s a snowball effect, all of these daily behaviors start to add up and can cascade into multiple negative biochemical feedback loops and can be detrimental to your overall health.

Not all fat is bad, there are benefits to having dietary fat in our meals, in fact it is an essential part of our nutrition, specifically a-linoleic acid (Omega-3) and linoleic acid (Omega-6). Omega-3 reduces the risk of heart attacks, reducing hypertension and lowering LDL cholesterol. When converted into EPA (Eicosapentaenoic acid), has been shown to decrease fat in our blood stream, reducing plaque.[1,2,3] There is also growing evidence that it is metabolized in the brain and may reduce symptoms associated with depression.[4] Omega-6 when converted into Arachidonic acid, is needed in the anabolic signaling cascade to build muscle, it helps in the repair of neurons, it helps maintain hippocampal cell membrane fluidity in the brain, among other things. However, too much dietary fat (excess digested fat during a caloric surplus), will be transported from our small intestine through your lymphatic system into our bloodstream and eventually end up in our adipose tissue as well. In the matter of accumulation of stored fat, calories in vs calories out is the most critical unit of measurement to manage our weight.

Gaining Muscle

• We want to promote muscle growth

• It helps increase BMR (metabolism)

• Increase hypertrophy through high volume anaerobic activity to increase lactate in cells

• Lactate is needed for muscle growth and brain function

• Eat more Protein (specifically l-Leucine) from whole foods for myosin development

• Eat prior to working out to maximize bioavailability during anabolic window

• Stay hydrated and maintain an electrolyte balance for proper cell function

• Have a Calorie Differential of 1.1 to 1.15 (1-2 g Protein / 1 kg body weight) for maximum gains (assuming you already met your weight loss goals)

When it comes to body composition we don’t want to eliminate all forms of weight gain.
Healthy muscle density and vigor is not just for vanity, 40% of the human body is muscle mass [5]. The more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolism will be and we want to continue to build muscle to reduce the effect of age related muscle loss [6,7].

In general, when we are talking about skeletal muscle cell growth we are referring to the growth of myosin. New myosin is formed by ribosomes in the cytoplasm. These ribosomes do so through gene expression from the cell nucleus, this expression happens from a process called the anabolic signaling cascade in which proteins in the cell signal to the nucleus to grow [8,9,10,11]. This anabolic signaling cascade can be triggered by a variety of hormones (ex. Testosterone, IGF-1). The most abundant way for the anabolic signaling cascade is through the presence of lactate.[12]

Lactate is a byproduct of anaerobic activity in the muscle cell. Glucose and Ketones are broken down in the cell into pyruvate to produce ATP (energy). In the presence of Oxygen(O2), the pyruvate molecule can be broken down further to produce even more ATP (energy) + CO2. Lack of Oxygen in the cell will force the pyruvate molecule to bond with hydrogen creating Lactate. As O2 is replenished in the cell it can bond with two Lactate molecules to create glucose through the process of gluconeogenesis. Lactate is not only synthesized in muscle cells but also in Astrocytes in the spinal cortex and brain as well, and is needed for improving healthy signals between neurons.[13] Lactate does come with side effects, it is associated with pain, soreness, as well as fatigue.

In order to maximize lactate production in muscle tissue we need to exercise to failure, in other words we need to engage in a high volume of activity on your target muscle until the Lactate has built up to the point where you can no longer perform the exercise. This process will create what is called the “Anabolic Window” and will start during your workout and will last for about 30 minutes after.[14] It is vital that your ribosomes have adequate fuel during this period to produce more myosin. The fuel for this process comes from amino acids, in particular l-Leucine. Ideally you want to have 1 to 3 grams of l-Leucine per meal, from whole foods. Thus, for muscle growth it is more important that you eat prior to exercise that way it is digested and bioavailable for this recovery phase. Likewise, it is important that your electrolytes are also balanced to aid in the process of cellular metabolism.