Archive for the Category Muscle


Will Post Workout Protein Build Muscles?

“Hi Brad, When it comes to how much protein I should eat for muscle building I was wondering if you could tell me what the difference is between ‘whole body protein synthesis’ & ‘mean muscle protein synthesis’?

For instance, I am really interested in the benefits of drinking a protein shake during my workouts since the guy who I buy my protein from said this would help me build muscle.

However, I’m a little worried since I just read this following quote:

“During subsequent overnight recovery, whole-body protein synthesis was 19% greater in the protein group compared to the placebo group (P < 0.05).

However, mean muscle protein synthesis rates during 9 h of overnight recovery did not differ between groups and were 0.056 ± 0.004%/h in the protein group and 0.057 ± 0.004%/h in the placebo group (P = 0.89).

We conclude that, even in a fed state, protein and carbohydrate supplementation stimulates muscle protein synthesis during exercise.
Ingestion of protein with carbohydrate during and immediately after exercise improves whole-body protein synthesis but does not further augment muscle protein synthesis rates during 9 h of subsequent overnight recovery.”

Does this mean that the extra protein DIDN’T help these people build ANY extra muscle?”


You need to remember that you are looking at two different measurements of protein synthesis.

“Whole body protein synthesis” measures the protein synthesis taking place in your entire body – including your liver, heart, lungs, brain, digestive system and muscles. The measurement won’t tell you where the process is happening, just that it’s happening.

“Muscle protein synthesis” specifically measures the amount of synthesis taking place in your skeletal muscle.

According to the quote you shared, the post workout protein shake increased whole-body protein synthesis, but didn’t increase muscle protein synthesis. The extra protein increased synthesis elsewhere in the body, but didn’t have a measurable effect on muscles.

If you’re trying to build muscle by taking protein before, during and after your workouts, the research you quote seems to indicate that doing so won’t help you accomplish that.

How Much Muscle Can I Build?

Many of us have false expectations about how much muscle we can actually build.

“Hi Brad!

I read almost every article u wrote, and your view is very impressive.
But I have 1 question (maybe off topic, sorry)

You say the amount of protein is not so important, the quality of the food is not so important (ok avoid crap), 2-3 workout per week is enough to keep or build muscle.

What is then the mistake what most of the average gym rat make?

Ok we can see some real life example like you, but every competitive bodybuilder use (or they lie) the old method (6-8 meals, lot of protein above 300 grams, lot of training, cardio everyday) and not only for the end of the preparation, but from the beginning.”

Hey Wood,

Average gym rats think they can get steroid-like muscle growth without taking steroids.

I believe it’s true when bodybuilders say they eat 8 meals per day, ingest more than 300 grams of protein, and do a lot of cardio training.

This may even be the right way to build muscle if you’re taking 3 grams of test a week along with GH, insulin, and maybe even Clenbuterol.

It’s even possible that males who aren’t bodybuilders and who use “a small amount of drugs” – cover models, for example, and maybe even “before and after” models – could benefit from eating this way.

I’m not an expert on the topic of drugs and their effect on the kinds of nutrients your body needs.

But for normal, non-drug-using adults, the amount of muscle you can add depends on your genetics and your training. Protein intake and food quality have very little to do with it – at least not as much as advertisers would like to have you think.

The bottom line is: Powdered protein will not give you steroid-like effects.

PS – I should point out that you don’t have to BE big to LOOK big, this is part of the problem.

People often assume people who LOOK muscular are ten, twenty even thirty pounds heavier than they actually are.

Most times, they are much lighter then you’d expect. They are just lean, and have muscle in the right places. is an example of this phenomena.

The Truth About Protein

Protein could be one of the most popular and controversial topics in all of nutrition. It’s become the golden child of muscle building and fat loss. Wanna build big muscles? Eat your protein. Wanna lose fat and look like a fitness model? Eat your protein. After all, everyone knows you need to eat a minimum of 30 grams of protein every two to three hours.

Back in my earlier years, I drank my protein shakes and ate my protein bars. I would constantly keep my protein intake up around 250 grams per day. Why? Because I thought it scientifically PROVEN that more protein equaled more muscle.

But now I’m not so sure.

Let’s take a look at one of the research studies that the super-high protein advocates always use to ‘prove’ that eating protein after a workout makes you build muscle.

If you were in this study, this is how your day would have gone…

You would show up at a research lab around 10 PM, and you would go to sleep (no eating). The researchers would wake you up around 6 AM and start poking and probing you (again no eating). After a bunch of weighing and measurements, you would start working out around 9 AM…you still haven’t eaten yet.

This would be one of the toughest workouts you have ever done. Most likely you would do 10 sets of 8 reps on the leg press machine, followed by 8 sets of 8 reps on the leg extension machine. All of your reps would be done at 80% of your one rep max. Like I said, one brutal workout. It’s about 10am now, still haven’t eaten.

After your workout you would be given a drink that contains 3 to 6 grams of essential amino acids (the same amount of amino acids found in a glass of milk).

After that, the researchers would take measurements for the next 4 hours and measure your rate of ‘protein synthesis’.

This is pretty much the standard protocol for these types of studies.

And guess what they found?

An increase in protein synthesis over those four hours.

So what does this prove? It proves that if you haven’t eaten since 10 PM the night before, do a brutal workout at 9 AM the next morning, and drink a glass of milk, you will increase your protein synthesis for four hours!

So much for needing 30 grams of protein, and so much for needing protein every couple hours.

You know what else? The only reason I say protein synthesis increases for 4 hours is because after 4 hours the researchers stopped measuring. Who knows how long you would have stayed in a muscle building state. Some researchers have estimated that a single workout can put you into ‘muscle building mode’ for as long as 48 hours after your workout!

Even more interesting is that researchers have found similar results when they made people drink the amino acids before their workout, and even when they made them wait and drink the amino acids a couple hours after their workout!

Here’s another example.

In a research trial conducted on people who were over 50 years old and had chronic renal insufficiency (real bad kidneys) researchers explored the idea that resistance training could counteract the low protein diets that these people had to be on because of their medical condition.

On average these subject were eating under 0.3 grams of protein per pound of body weight. To put that into perspective, a 180 pound man would be eating about 50 grams of protein per day! For 12 weeks!

So what the researchers were thinking was ’since these people were on such low protein diets, for extended periods of time, muscle loss is definitely a risk. However, maybe if we made them weight train, we could prevent this from happening’.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

At the end of the study, the subject working out 3 times per week maintained there body weight, while the group that was not lifting weights lost about 7 pounds.

The group lifting weights also saw increases in muscle strength and muscle size. While the group not weight training lost some muscle and a little bit of strength.

This study is a great example of people actually gaining muscle size on a low protein diet as a result of resistance training.

Now, I realize the study was done on people who were over 50, and had a medical condition, but regardless, they gained muscle size.

This research shows that you can build a significant amount of muscle with relatively low protein intakes (the amount you get from your food in the average north american diet) as long as you are lifting weights.

Protein has a role in every one’s nutrition plan, and it is an essential nutrient that is important for building and repairing muscles. From my understanding of the research I think it makes sense to try and consume a small amount of protein somewhere around the time you workout. I just don’t think we need to be paying good money for tubs and tubs of the stuff, if the amount we get in our diets will serve our purposes just fine.

Scientists have not yet been able to determine if large amounts of protein have any extra effect on muscle gain. The massive amounts of protein that bodybuilders eat might work, but no scientists have been able to prove it so far.

Visible 6 Pack Abs with Eat Stop Eat

I want to share some reader mail with you regarding using Eat Stop Eat to get six-pack abs.

“Hi Brad,

I Recently bought your book “Eat Stop Eat” and just started applying it by fasting once a week. I am not an obese person but have some fat around my gut.

Every week I exercise for 3 times using weights , swim for 30 min and skip rope for 30 min .

I also watch what I eat and monitor my weight. My One and only goal is to have a 6 Pack. I can feel I have it but the fat around my gut hide it from showing.

My Questions are:

1) Is a 6 pack reachable if I continue doing what I am doing ? Or is it that some people can never see their 6 Pack ever.

My Answer – A six-pack is definitely obtainable. I believe that everyone has the ability to have a six-pack, especially if they’re following Eat Stop Eat and weight training. But be patient. It will require some time and some changes to your current lifestyle.

2) Will your Eat Stop Eat plan help me in seeing my 6 Pack?

My Answer – It will help, as long as you are fasting, weight training, eating responsibly, and follow these five tips.

3) What’s the Body fat percentage that I must have in order to see my 6 pack.

My Answer – Air Displacement measurements show that men typically have visible abs when their body fat is under 10%. Some men have more or less subcutaneous fat covering their abs, though, so it depends on how you measure body fat and how you carry your fat.

4) How thick/thin does the fat around my gut need to be in order for me to see my 6 Pack?

My Answer – Here is a simple way for men to measure their body fat: Multiply your height in inches by 0.447. This is your ideal waist circumference – approximately 45% of your height. In order for you to have visible abs, you’ll need to have a waist circumference that is 46-47% of your height at the most.

5) I am afraid of taking any supplements. Can I reach my goal without taking any supplements ?

My Answer – It is completely possible for you to get six-pack without taking supplements.

6) I heard you have to take growth hormone while you are following Eat Stop Eat, is this true?

My Answer – This is not true at all. The Eat Stop Eat method naturally increases your Growth Hormone while you are fasting. You don’t have to take any drugs or supplements to make the plan work for you.

(As always, my answers apply to “natural” individuals, not to those who are taking steroids.)

Fasting for your Muscles

Yesterday I released the newest version of Eat Stop Eat.

There’s a lot of new info in this edition, most notably the information on autophagy and gaining muscle while fasting.

So what’s the connection between autophagy and muscle?

Well, if you wanted to sum up weight training in one poorly written sentence it would be:

Breaking down muscle so that we can build it back up again.

I think most people understand this, but what gets very little attention is the role our diets play in this process.

Autophagy is the internal ‘maintenance system’  that your body uses to identify and discard the damaged or malfunctioning parts of a cell.

Simply put, autophagy is ‘cleansing’ on the cellular level – the clean up that needs to happen before growth and repair can occur.

Autophagy is actually necessary for the proper maintenance of  healthy muscle mass, and inhibition/alteration of autophagy can contribute to muscle degeneration and weakness in certain types of muscle disorders.

This is where your diet comes into play. Fasting is a very potent promoter of the autophagic process.

The strong connection between autophagy and fasting is due to the fact that the principle signal to turn up the ‘autophagy dial’ is
the act of entering the fasted state, and the principle way to turn down the ‘autophagy dial’ is by eating.

Sadly, it doesn’t take a feast or a junk-food binge to negatively affect autophagy.

Recent research has shown that as little as 10 grams of amino acids is enough to decrease markers of autophagy in fasting humans.

This means that even a small meal in the middle of a fast may be enough to blunt the increased autophagy associated with fasting.

So it’s not just your workouts that break you down and build you back up – your diet does the same thing.

By allowing for growth when we eat, and the autophagic process of cleansing and repair when we are fasting, we help restore a balance in the muscle building process.

The key is there needs to be a balance – You can’t overeat all the time or fast all the time without expecting some sort of negative repercussions.

It is the optimal balance of these processes that allows for the breakdown of damaged muscle proteins, and the build up of new, bigger, healthier muscles.

To learn more about fasting and autophagy check out the NEW 5th edition of Eat Stop Eat here ==>

The Reverse Taper Diet or How to Lose Weight Without Losing Muscle

It’s that time of year where people start to realize they only have about 3 months before they’re hanging out by pools and wearing bathing suits.

So naturally it’s also the time of year when people get super tempted to do some hard-core crash dieting.

Here’s my advice – DON’T BE ONE OF THOSE PEOPLE.

Crash Dieting can be a terrible mistake for some people. You may start off great, but when your body fat levels get really low things can change.

Bottom line – You CAN lose muscle and you CAN make yourself tired, lethargic and miserable when you are dieting if your body fat levels are REALLY low.

Luckily this is a problem I have avoided.

For me, Eat Stop Eat is how I lose weight, and the eating in between the fasts is how I keep from being tired, lethargic and well…Cranky.

However it’s taken 6 years of trial and error for me to figure how much to eat in between my fasts. I’m really happy with where I am. But I want to help you get there just a little bit faster 😉

John and I have put together a guide on how exactly we want people to go about managing the calories based on their own individual body shape and size.

We’ve called it the Reverse Taper Diet, and it’s based on the the Theory of Fat Availability.

A diet program that teaches you how much to eat on a week-to-week basis in order to maximize your fat loss while eliminating any chance of losing lean muscle mass, even when your body fat levels are really low.

And most importantly, this program is designed to teach you how to MAINTAIN your weight loss so you never rebound!

Here’s what you get…

– You get a very concise manual about how everything works and how to use the software

You get the software, which tells you exactly:

*Your Ideal Waist Measurement
*Your Ideal Shoulder Measurement
*Your most Likely ‘Target’ Weight
*How many calories you should roughly eat per day,

and even

*What your estimated weight change will be

All in all, this is a very COOL product.

I like it a lot.

 For me, anything that removes some of the guess work from getting lean is a step in the right direction.

Now, if you’re they type of person who just likes to wing it when it comes to counting calories then this is probably NOT for 

No biggie, just the truth.

Check it out here ==> The Reverse Taper Diet

I’ve done my best to give you a “done for you” approach to body transformations.



In Search of Perfect Abs

Sometimes, what holds you back in your weight loss efforts and your quest for perfect abs are not typical words, such as protein, fat, carbs, calories or extreme body workout.

Two of your biggest obstacles have nothing to do with what you eat. They are self confidence and perfection.

There is a misconception that it takes a “special” person to be successful at weight loss. We tend to think that the individuals who hand out dieting advice are perfect people – living perfect lives, with perfect bodies and perfect jobs.

When we compare ourselves to these perfect people, we feel like we’ll never measure up – and that causes us to lose confidence.

Nobody is perfect, though.

The truth is that the diet guru who seems to eat perfectly is actually addicted to chocolate. The guy who gives out advice on how to bench press 600 pounds has actually had three shoulder surgeries and bone spurs removed from his elbows because of the strain he’s put on his body.

The celebrity who says he’s been dedicated to a workout program to get in shape for his next movie forgot to mention he’s also taking anabolic steroids. The Paleo diet princess who says high fructose corn syrup is of the devil secretly enjoys the occasional Coke at the movies. The magazine covers you see are a result of Photoshop mastery.

So, when you realize that you’re not perfect either, you shouldn’t be disappointed.

If you think it’s impossible to have shredded abs without even flexing – professional fitness models feel the same way.

Perfect abs just don’t exist, in spite of what movies or magazine covers try to tell us.

Our abilities to reach our own goals are being hurt by our illusion of perfection.

Here are a few things of which you can be sure:

Some days, you’ll go off your diet.

Sometimes, your efforts at weight loss will plateau – and sometimes, your weight will go up.

Some days, you’ll love the way you look, and on other days, you won’t. But the truth is that you probably look the same on either day.

This doesn’t mean you’re a failure. This means you’re human.

You will break a fast early. You’ll eat more than you want to. You’ll miss a workout. You’ll eat a food that’s “bad.” Even the most dedicated fitness professional will not be able to eat perfectly and diet hardcore for four months straight.

If you slip up, don’t get discouraged. Just keep moving toward your goals – and remember: No one is perfect. That should help your self confidence.

When you realize that no one is perfect, you lose your reason not to be self confident.

As a note…this article was highly influenced by this blog post –>

How do I keep from losing muscle?

There is some confusion about what makes a person gain and lose muscle.

When a person is bedridden, he or she loses muscle. A person on a low-calorie diet will also lose muscle.

When I was researching the Eat Stop Eat program, I obtained input from several dietitians, and all of them spoke of bedridden or low-calorie-diet patients who had lost muscle mass.

A reduction in calories doesn’t necessarily cause you to lose muscle if you continue to exercise. Being bedridden, then, should be the only reason a person loses muscle mass.

Have you ever had to wear a cast due to an injury? When your cast came off, your injured limb was skinnier than it had been.

The limb that was in the cast received the same nutrients as your other limbs. The only difference is that that limb wasn’t being used.

Putting a cast on a limb causes muscle loss so effectively that researchers use it to study “disuse atrophy” – or muscle loss from lack of use.

Researchers at the University of Nottingham placed casts on the right legs of 22 individuals for a two-week period. The individuals maintained their normal diets, but when the casts were removed, the cross-sectional area of their thighs had decreased by 10 percent. All muscle fiber types experienced a decrease in muscle diameter.

Muscles are “contractile units” – not “storage units” like fat cells. Your fat cells store or release energy in response to what you eat. Muscles respond to work.

If your muscles aren’t challenged, their size will not increase. If they aren’t challenged for a prolonged period of time, their size will decrease.

Muscle mass will not be lost as long as you continue to exercise and meet a caloric minimum – studies found out as low as 80 grams of protein and 800 Kcals per day over the course of several weeks.

Multiple meals and extra protein isn’t necessary for you to keep from losing muscle. The key to maintaining your muscle mass is exercise.

Hespel P. Journal of Physiology (2001), 536.2, pp.625–633
APPELL, H. J. (1990). Sports Medicine 10, 42–58.