Improving Your Body is Full of Catch-22 Situations:
- You have to eat a lot to build a lot of muscle, but that means you probably also gain some fat.
- Lose Fat You need a calorie deficit, which often negatively affects your workouts and can even lead to muscle and strength loss.
- Heavy training strengthens you and can make you more muscular, but it can burden you and abuse your joints and sinews.
- You can build muscle by doing lighter work that relieves the nervous system and your joints. But you can lose power.
It's tough, too It's even harder to combine the different types of training, such as sprinting, recreational sports, weight training, hypertrophy, fitness training, and so on.
] All of this is why Paul Carter and I have a nutrition / training approach called "Primer 52." It is similar to the 5/2 fat loss diet developed by TC Luoma, in which two A very aggressive calorie reduction for days and a maintenance or even excessive consumption for five days are required.
However, Primer 52 goes a step further, focusing on the foundations of advanced biochemistry and a specific combination of exercise and nutrition. The program is revolutionary in that it allows you to do whatever you want to do to rebuild your body, either through muscle building, fat loss, or both. They literally eliminate all these catch-22s.
However, before I explain the specifics of Primer 52, I first have to list the three muscle growth factors (MGF) that are essential for muscle growth, and explain the value of calories deficits and how we can easily manipulate mTOR and AMPK.
– You do not need excess calories to build muscle
Yes, you read that correctly. The "evidence-based" trainers will want to destroy me, but I have the science that supports me when I say that you do not need extra calories to build muscle. In fact, excess calories are not even a major variable when it comes to building muscle. It is only indirectly involved.
A few years ago, Dr. Stuart Phillips and a group of capable scientists from McMaster's University have two groups of 20 men. Both groups received a diet that gave them a 40% calorie deficit per day for 4 weeks. (All meals were given to them so that it was well controlled.)
One group had a daily protein intake of 1.2 g / kg (0.54 g per pound, about 108 g for a 200-pound man The second group received about twice as much protein or 2.4 g / kg (1.1 g per pound, about 220 g for a 200-pound man).
All men raised 4 days a week and sprinted 2 days a week. After 4 weeks both groups lost a significant amount of fat (about 3.5 kg or 7.7 pounds). The low-protein group lost a small amount of muscle while the high-protein group was actually building muscle. (1)
Obviously, protein is the nutritional value needed for muscle growth and not a calorie surplus.
MGF 2 – You need enough energy to build muscle.
This factor may sound like it contradicts what I just wrote, that you do not need excess calories to build muscle, but it does not. Listen to me.
To build muscle, you need fuel. Building new muscles requires energy. You need 3 calories to synthesize 1 g of protein, to be precise. There are 220 g of protein in 1 kg of muscle, so you need at least 660 calories to synthesize enough protein to build one kilo of muscle.
But in reality it's much higher than that because of the daily protein turnover (they constantly break down muscle tissue and on again). And the more you train, the higher the sales. Although the exact number is not that important, it is safe to say that you need at least 1000 calories to fuel the process of building a kilogram of muscle.
Again, this sounds like you need a calorie surplus to build muscle, but you do not. If you need more energy than you have used up, just dip into your reserves (stored body fat or glycogen). The same applies to muscle growth. If you need energy to fuel the process but are in a deficit, use stored energy to do a deficit work. Thicker individuals have much more reserve and there is no danger of their survival if you use this stored energy to promote muscle growth.
MGF 3 – You must actually stimulate protein synthesis.
It is not enough to have enough protein available to build muscle and the energy to drive the process. If you do not increase muscle protein synthesis, you will not build muscle.
And here, excess calories matter, albeit indirectly, by increasing both insulin (which happens if you eat more carbohydrates than proteins) and IGF-1 (the liver needs insulin and growth hormone to release IGF-1 ). Increasing insulin levels is important as both muscle protein breakdown and protein synthesis are stimulated by increasing the mTOR.
Note that resistance training can increase mTOR and increase local IGF-1 if muscle fatigue / lactate release is high enough. Therefore, training frequency can be important when trying to build muscle.
If you release IGF-1 and can increase mTOR at the right time and have enough protein available, you can build muscle even when you are not in excess. Primer 52 uses mTOR maximization days to induce growth and days where it is deliberately kept low to promote health, fat loss, and anti-aging effects.
The role of calorie deficits in fat loss  One thing that is 100% right to lose fat: you need to be in a state of calorie deficit. It's not the only thing that matters, but if you're not in a deficit, the other things do not matter.
Yes, insulin sensitivity plays a role. The more sensitive you are to the hormone, the less likely it is to reduce the stored energy (fat) in the hours after a meal.
To lose a pound of fat, you probably need to have a deficit of nearly 7,000 calories. (2)
The typical practice is to create a small daily deficit (possibly 500-750 calories per day) over a period of 7 days.
However, if you manage the same total deficit over a few days days, two days for example, fat loss will be the same. In the long run, this method could even lead to even greater fat loss, since the body's regulatory hormone leptin is less likely to be reduced because you are not constantly suffering from a deficit.
What Does Primer 52 Do: Create a large calorie deficit 2 days a week, along with 2 days of overeating. two days on which you are on maintenance calories or have a slight deficit (depending on your goal); and a moderate / low deficit day. The training is accordingly planned as you take it that day.
But it's actually much more elegant than wagging your calorie wand. We actually manipulate two of the key enzymes of the body.
MTOR AND AMPK
Both mTOR and AMPK are enzymes that play important physiological roles. They are usually considered antagonists (as opposed to each other) because AMPK can inhibit the effects of mTOR.
While mTOR is usually considered a positive enzyme for muscle growth, it's not all luck and blue sky. Accelerating cell growth has a positive effect on muscle mass. However, excessive mTOR activity may also have negative drawbacks such as accelerating cancer cell growth and premature aging.
AMPK, on the other hand, increases the uptake and oxidation of glucose and fatty acids when energy intake is inadequate (this can help you lose fat). It reduces the formation of new fat cells (fat cell lipogenesis) and increases fat loss.
More interesting, however, is that there has recently been a strong association between AMPK and aging. As we get older, we are less responsive to AMPK, which results in: 1) less ordered cell recycling (autophagy), 2) increased oxidative stress, 3) increased systemic inflammation of low severity, 4) increased fat storage, 5) high blood sugar and 6) higher incidence of metabolic syndrome. (3)
As such, we must carefully manipulate the two enzymes. As for mTOR, we prefer its expression when:
- the caloric intake is higher (excess)
- the carbohydrates / insulin are higher
- protein / amino acids, especially leucine, valine Isoleucine and Glycine Are High
- We Train in Resistance
Conversely, we prefer AMPK expression when the conditions favoring mTOR expression are more or less reversed:
- caloric intake is lower (1965) Deficit)  Energy production is higher
- Carbohydrates / insulin are low
- Amino acids are low
- You do cardio work
That's easy, but it's it exactly enough for our purposes here. How do you reconcile muscle building (in favor of the mTOR system) and prolonging life and health (in favor of the AMPK system)? This is where the Primer 52 system comes into play.
Primer 52 Overview
Primer 52 comprises three (or four) different types of tags, each using a different strategy to take advantage of the enzyme systems. The type of training you choose is up to you, as well as the choice of food. Here are some recommendations:
1 – AMPK / Fasting Days
Here is the goal to achieve the greatest possible AMPK activity. This will help slow down aging, increase fat oxidation, reduce systemic inflammation, and maintain insulin sensitivity.
Diet: It's pretty simple. They fast at least 24 hours on these days.
For example, you would stop eating at 6:00 pm the day before and have only a small protein / fat meal at 20:00 on Fasting Day itself. Paul Carter prefers a 24-hour fast, while I continue fasting until the next morning (that's about 34-36 hours fasting).
Do not use any calorie-containing liquids (black coffee is okay). Do not take any protein / amino acid supplements. You can fast until the next morning or between 20 and 21 clock a small protein / fat meal take (about 100 g of beef and some green vegetables).
Training: No lifting this day.
There is no point training if no amino acids are available to repair the damage. However, you can do cardio, HIIT, sprints, walking, yoga, mobility work, etc. A low-intensity activity is okay.
2 – Hypertrophy / mTOR days
Here, the goal is maximal hypertrophy and protein synthesis via a strong increase in mTOR activation, especially in the area of exercise.
Diet: This is a day of high calorie excess and high protein (low fat).
You should consume about 15-20% excess calories (a good starting point are 18-19 calories per pound of body weight), with 1.25 – 1.5 g of protein per pound and 80% of your non-protein carbohydrate and calories 20% from fats.
I recommend allocating 50% of your daily carbs around the workout (before, during and after your workout); 25% in the evening; and the rest is spread over the other 2-3 meals.
Training: This is a typical bodybuilding day.
Your reps per set should be between 8 and 15, 6 to 8 exercises (not per muscle, but for the entire workout) for every 3-5 sets. You can use typical hypertrophy methods such as supersets, drop sets, mechanical drop sets, pause / pause, myo-reps, and so on.
3 – days of strength
In this case, we focus on neurological training, d. We do not have to activate as much mTOR here as we do for the hypertrophy days.
Diet: Depending on the main goal, eat between a small deficit and a small surplus.
A good starting point is 15-16 calories per pound of body weight with 1-1.25 g of protein per pound and 80% of your non-protein calories come from fats and 20% from carbohydrates. The carbohydrates should be consumed during the peri-workout period.
Training: Think of powerlifting, maybe a 5/3/1 or a conjugate / west max-effort day.
The key is fewer exercises (3-5), large compound movements, heavier weights (sets of 1-6 repetitions), and longer pause intervals.
You can use supramaximal methods such as heavy partials or isometries. You can also use heavily loaded carrying systems (peasants running, Zercher carries, Prowler pushes) type of work / diet you want, based on your goal:
- If your main goal is fat loss, go to Low Carb , High Protein, moderate fat and do a sprint session.
- If your main goal is muscle growth, do a third mTOR day with hypertrophy work for your weaker body parts.
- If your main goal is strength, make a third strong day with low carbs / moderate fats / high protein intake.
- If your main goal is longevity / health, combine the work of the energy system (Sprints, Strongman, Cardio, HIIT, etc.) with a calorie deficit with low carbohydrate and moderate-low protein.  As for calories, a good starting point is 12-14 calories per pound of bodyweight with 0.85-1.0 g of protein per pound and 80% of your non-protein calories, the f Rome fats and 20% carbohydrates , (The carbohydrates should be consumed during the training session.) You can adjust the calorie intake up or down according to your goals.
However, if you use this "adaptive" day as the third hypertrophy day, the following applies: The diet is the same as other hypertrophy trainings.
Note: You do not need to treat this day as another power day or as a hypertrophy day. Alternatively, you can do sprints, jumps, throws, Olympic exercises, etc. with what I call "athletic" training.
Primer 52 Weekly Set Up
The days are set up so that each day prepares the body for the next day. For example, fasting day increases the anabolic response to the high-protein / high-carbohydrate products you will use the next day. The high carbohydrates charge you up and make you stronger on the strength days. Low carbohydrate / high fat days make fasting days more effective in AMPK activation.
This is a typical week:
- Sunday: Fasting / Cardio (AMPK Activation Day)
- Monday: Upper body hypertrophy / high carbs / high protein / low fat (mTOR Activation Day )
- Tuesday: Lower Body Force / Low Carbs / High Protein / Moderate Fat
- Wednesday: Fasting / Cardio (AMPK Activation Day)
- Thursday: Lower Body Hypertrophy / High Carbs / high protein content / low fat (mTOR Activation Day)
- Friday: Upper Body Strength / Low Carbohydrates / High Protein / Moderate Fat
- Saturday: Sprints or Strongman / Low Carbohydrates / Moderate Protein / Moderate Fat (More Adaptable
- Note: You can fast on different days (eg Tuesday / Saturday) but you would always be positive for the hypertrophy / mTOR days on the following days unit does.
What Primer 52 Will Do for You
Primer 52 is the simplest way you can build muscle and lose fat at the same time as improving several health markers at the same time. I also find it very forgiving for the occasional cheating day (which will hopefully only occur on your hypertrophy days).
Once you're in the position, you'll find that this is the easiest and easiest way to get everything you want, physically.
The Best Damn Training Plan for Natural Lifters
Nonstop Natural Gains: The Neuro Typing System
- Thomas M. Longland, Sara Y. Oikawa, Cameron J. Mitchell, Michaela C. Devries and Stuart M Phillips. "A higher value compared to less protein during an energy deficit combined with intense physical activity promotes a greater increase in muscle mass and fat loss: a randomized study." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, January 2016.
- Kevin D. Hall, Steven B. Heymsfield, Joseph W. Kemnitz, Samuel Klein, Dale A. Schoeller and John R. Speakman, "Energy Balance and Its Components: Impact on body weight regulation ", Am J Clin Nutr. 2012 Apr; 95 (4): 989-994.
- Antero Salminen Kai Kaarniranta. AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) controls the aging process via an integrated signaling network. Aging Research Reviews, Volume 11, Issue 2, April 2012, pages 230-241.