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Growth Factor Training & Protein Intake?

If you are training mostly with growth factor strategies and are not “tearing” muscle down do you still need the same amount of protein coach as with traditional heavy full range of motion training? Of course in terms of recovery and hypertrophy.

This is a great question.

Edit: I’m sorry, I did not notice you adressed your question to CT. If you are interested in my opinion, read on. If not, that’s ok!

My theory is that even with growth factor/lactate producing training strategies you are still producing high mechanical tension at the end of a set (when all the fast twitch muscle fibers are maximally recruited and fatigued).

If you are doing your sets properly, you are continously conctracting your muscle fibers against resistance during the concentric AND eccentric portion of the lift. So, by resisting the eccentric portion of the lift and because of the longer set duration, the high mechanical tension produced will still cause some muscle damage because the myosin heads are desperately trying to hold on to the actin filaments. The damage will be less though because for a longer duration set you’d have to reduce the weight significantly.

Because there is still some damage occuring and because you want to maximally stimulate mTor (via eccentric contractions, growth factor induced IGF-1 and GH production), protein ingestion should still be fairly high. Both carbohydrates and amino acids from protein have an easier time entering muscle cells when they have been properly fatigued. This elevated nutrient status within the cells activates mTor via downstream signalling in the sarcoplasma. To maximize protein synthesis, you’d want protein ingestion to be fairly high, ideally with some carbohydrates because, along with the growth factors and lactate, they stimulate the secretion of IGF-1 and insulin, two very anabolic hormones.

Also for simplicity reasons, it is easier to track calories and progress if you stick to the same protein intake. Does that mean you need to ingest equal amounts of protein year round? No, it depends on your goals. If you’re cutting, stick to a higher protein and carbs intake. If you’re bulking, you CAN lower protein intake because fats and carbs, which are protein sparing, go up and you won’t need as much to stimulate MPS. If you’re simply looking to increase strength, use creatine and a reasonable protein intake. Somewhere around 1.6 grams per kg of bodyweight for bulking up to 1.8-2 grams per kg for cutting.

Excellent thank you Lou. I was more talking more about 2/3 rep ranges where the muscle does not break down as much. I understand what you are saying though.

Ok well I believe the same rules apply because, despite not creating much muscle damage, you are still creating muscle fatigue and maximizing growth factor/ lactate production. Whether it is muscle retention or muscle growth you’re looking for, the increased blood flow to the muscles, filled with anabolic hormones, carbs and amino acids is the way to go imo. Again, you dont need as much protein in a caloric surplus but it is advisable to do so when you are cutting, especially when you are using a large caloric deficit or have been in a deficit for a long time. But that’s how I see it. Perhaps CT has got a different opinion.

I would agree with Lou, even though it’s kinda hard to know for sure if you need less protein if you only do growth factor training.

However I will bring up the following points:

  1. Doing exclusively growth factor work is suboptimal for muscle growth (and obviously strength). I always explain that mechanical stress (heavier, fuller range lifting) is like the soil, sun and water that makes a plant grow. Growth factors are like the fertilizer: it can enhance growth if you have the other elements covered, but by itself, it just doesn’t work well. I get it, growth factors work feels good. And it can trigger some growth. But it is an inferior method by itself.

  2. Protein pretty much will never be stored as fat. So consuming the same amount of protein makes sense in that even if it’s more than you need with growth factors work, it won’t have a negative impact on body composition. And since we don’t know for sure if we need less, might as well play it safe.

  3. Protein isn’t just about repairing muscle damage. Amino acids (from protein) themselves can trigger protein synthesis and mTOR activation and contribute to muscle growth. Even if a training style would require less protein to repair the damage tissue and ass new tissue, there would still be benefits to consuming more (within reason).

  4. Only 10% of the protein you consume makes it to the muscles Stokes T, Hector AJ, Morton RW, McGlory C, Phillips SM. Recent Perspectives Regarding the Role of Dietary Protein for the Promotion of Muscle Hypertrophy with Resistance Exercise Training. Nutrients. 2018; 10(2):180.). So when you consume an extra 50g of protein, in reality, the increase in the amount of amino acids used to repair and build muscle is more in terms of 5-7g.

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Makes sense! Thank you coach! Thank you Lou!