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MB #045: Unlock Primal Strength and Gain 5lbs of Muscle

mission briefing Jan 15, 2024

Hey friend,

Today I'm bringing you some of my favorite methods to supercharge your muscle growth and improve your health. You could gain 5 lbs of muscle in a month! Ready to see what I've got?

Why go for this goal? Muscle isn't just about aesthetics; it's about resilience, metabolic health, and vitality. Imagine feeling more healthy, strong, and vibrant than ever before! That's the goal.

Unfortunately...many fall short in their muscle-building journey. The culprits? Misinformation and inefficient methods.

Breaking Down Muscle Myths

Here are the real barriers:

  • Confusion Over Diet: Misunderstanding the power of animal-based nutrition.
  • Inadequate Protein Intake: Not getting enough quality, bioavailable protein.
  • Inconsistent Training Methods: Not following a routine that consistently triggers hypertrophy.
  • Underestimating Recovery: Forgetting the role of rest in muscle growth.

Fear not! I’m here to guide you through these pitfalls.

Step 1: Embrace the Animal-Based eating for Muscle Growth

Muscle growth demands high-quality protein, a very specific profile of amino acids that come from that protein, and fats – exactly what an animal-based diet provides. Why is this critical? It ensures optimal nutrient absorption and hormonal balance for muscle repair and growth.

Example: Incorporate nose-to-tail eating. By consuming more steaks, organ meats, and bone broth, you provide your body with all the essential nutrients for muscle synthesis. Here's how Joe Rogan transformed his physique by switching to a carnivore diet. 

My differing approach to "purist" carnivore advocates? I suggest adding in fruit (berries are my favorite), raw dairy, honey, non-sweet fruits like avocado, squash, etc., and smaller amounts of sweet potato. This is in addition to your ground beef, steak, organ meats, eggs, low-PUFA pasture-raised chicken, and low-PUFA pork. What are PUFA's? Those require an entire post of their own - coming soon. 

Step 2: Protein – The Building Block of Muscle

Aim for high-quality, nutrient-dense animal proteins. Common Misstep: Considering the protein from plant-based sources as "adequate" or "equal" to animals. This sentiment is entirely false. Muscle is built when protein synthesis is triggered by the mTOR pathway (mTOR is a regulator that manages the growth and breakdown processes in muscles, influencing both the increase in muscle size and the decrease or wasting of muscle mass.). mTOR is triggered by strength training and when adequate leucine intake is present - an amino acid that is difficult at best, but nearly impossible to get large enough amounts of from plants. 

Strategy: Focus on grass-fed ruminant meats, wild-caught fish, and free-range eggs. These are not just muscle-building powerhouses but also best for overall health. Aim for .75 to 1 gram per pound of your ideal body weight. Are you trying to gain from 180, up to 185? Aim for 185 grams of protein per day.

Step 3: Smart and Consistent Training

Pair your animal-based eating with a solid workout regimen. The Ultimate Goal: A training routine that complements your eating for maximum muscle gain.

Focus on compound movements like squats, deadlifts, bench, shoulder press, rows, and pull-ups. To gain strength and size as quickly as possible, train in the 8-12 rep range for most of your workouts. Maximum hypertrophy is accomplished when that rep range is executed across 15-20 sets per week of exercises that hit a particular muscle group.

Don’t shy away from higher-intensity/higher-rep workouts either, they won't hurt your pursuit of gaining muscle as long as you're not making them the focal point of your routine. Remember, muscle growth is about quality training, not just quantity. 

Step 4: Sleep - The Lynchpin To The Whole Thing!

Adequate sleep is crucial in a muscle-building routine as it significantly impacts hormone levels, which in turn influence muscle growth. Here's how good sleep maximizes muscle growth:

Growth Hormone Release: During deep sleep stages, the body releases growth hormone, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. This hormone stimulates protein synthesis, promotes the growth of tissues, and helps in the recovery and rebuilding of muscles that are stressed during workouts.

Testosterone Levels: Testosterone, another key hormone for muscle growth, is also positively affected by good sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to lower testosterone levels, which can impair muscle growth and recovery.

Cortisol Regulation: Adequate sleep helps in regulating cortisol, a stress hormone. High cortisol levels, often a result of poor sleep, can lead to muscle breakdown and can counteract the effects of testosterone and growth hormone.

Improved Insulin Sensitivity: Sleep helps in maintaining a healthy balance of insulin, a hormone that regulates glucose metabolism. Good insulin sensitivity allows your muscles to better use glucose and amino acids for growth and repair.

Enhanced Protein Synthesis: While you sleep, your body is still actively repairing and building muscle tissues. This process is more efficient with adequate rest.

Energy Restoration and Recovery: Quality sleep replenishes energy stores and allows for muscle recovery. This means you can perform better in your next workout, continually stressing your muscles in a way that promotes growth.

Reduced Fatigue and Injury Risk: Adequate sleep reduces the risk of fatigue and overtraining, which can lead to injuries. Avoiding injuries ensures consistent training, which is key for muscle building.

To Summarize

  1. Adopt an animal-based (but not pure carnivore) way of eating.
  2. Focus on 1g/lb of protein per day.
  3. Train 8-12 reps per set for 15-20 sets per muscle group per week.
  4. Sleep 8-9 hours per day to maximize the effectiveness of #'s 1-3, your output, and your recovery. 

By embracing these 4 simple steps for an extended period - let's be honest, consistency over months and years could arguably be point #1 - you're not just going to gain 5 lbs of muscle; you're tapping into health and lifelong vitality. 

 That's it for this week. Go get 'em!

-Chris