How to Overcome Being a Non-Responder?

Just a question for Coach, other trainers, or people training themselves.
How do you overcome non responders? Subtle change, complete change? Frequency change?
Is diet and lifestyle more important than training method?

That’s actually a very complicated topic (I might use this one for my Question of Strength column) because being a non (or low) responder can have various causes.

It could be an overproduction of myostatin. The more of it you produce, the less muscle you can build.

It could be chronically elevated cortisol levels (for obvious reasons). Note that chronically elevated cortisol levels also increase myostatin.

It could be because of a very strong dominance in slow-twitch fibers, which have much less important growth potential.

It could be problems clearing out adrenaline (slow COMT enzyme) which keeps the person in sympathetic mode, which both burns a lot of energy and makes it harder to get into rest and recover mode.

It could be low anabolic hormones (testosterone can be a part of it, but more often than not it is because of low IGF-1 production by the liver).

Could be digestive issues. Eating more should help anyone grow more (more food, especially carbs = mire mTOR activation, IGF-1 and insulin which all lead to increased muscle growth, as well as decreased cortisol). But if you cannot absorb the nutrients properly more food can actually make it harder to gain as it will cause a stress response.

I think that most low-responders will do better by doing more metabolic factors hypertrophy work (rep ranges or methods leading to lots of lactate production). First because it causes less muscle damage (low responders do not repair muscle damage as fast, especially if they have the ACTN3-XX gene) while stile stimulating growth.

And also because lactate has been shown to increase IGF-1 and decrease myostatin by increasing follistatin.


Hoping it is a Question of Strength topic.

Definitely interested in any new info/tips for this issue.

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