The Optimum Anabolic Diet
Muscular Development|October 2021
Supplement performance
By Michael J. Rudolph

Anabolism is a set of metabolic pathways in the body that synthesize complex molecules from simpler ones. While there are many different anabolic pathways in the body, the one that has the greatest impact on muscle growth involves the buildup of complex muscle proteins from simpler building blocks known as amino acids, where the accumulation of muscle protein ultimately drives muscle growth. In terms of diet, it is well established that muscle protein synthesis increases considerably after consuming the right type of protein, highlighting the need for high-quality protein for maximal muscle growth. On the other hand, two other anabolic processes also influence muscle growth, yet in a more indirect fashion. The anabolic buildup of muscle glycogen polymers from the simpler sugar glucose is incredibly important for muscle growth, as glycogen functions as the primary energy source during muscular contraction, especially while lifting heavy weights. In addition, studies have shown that a lack of muscle glycogen promotes the catabolic breakdown of muscle protein.

While it is pretty straightforward that adequate muscle glycogen is important for optimal muscle growth, consuming simple sugars like sucrose (table sugar) or glucose can deleteriously influence muscle growth by rapidly increasing blood insulin levels – which surprisingly, tends to quickly desensitize the potency of a key biochemical process that promotes muscle growth. Therefore, even though carbohydrate consumption is essential for optimal muscle growth, simple sugars should be avoided as much as possible.

Finally, the anabolic process that converts fatty acids into triglycerides also vitally influences muscle growth. To start, too much fat, or fatty acids, in your diet will increase triglyceride production and increase body fat. Of course, you don’t want to increase body fat for obvious reasons. Yet even more, studies have shown that increased body fat also decreases muscle protein synthesis, which will certainly have a negative impact on muscle growth. On the other hand, certain fatty acids have been shown to stimulate testosterone production for greater muscle growth. Taken together, ingesting the right amount and type of fatty acids promotes greater muscle growth, making them a critical part of the optimal anabolic diet.

The Right Protein at the Right Time

The net gain in muscle protein is the difference between muscle protein synthesis versus muscle protein breakdown, where greater protein synthesis represents an anabolic environment favoring muscle growth. This anabolic response can be increased by dietary protein consumption, stimulating muscle protein synthesis and decreasing muscle protein degradation.

Protein consumption causes muscle protein accretion mainly by activating the extremely important nutrient-sensing molecule mTOR, which directly activates muscle protein synthesis in response to protein intake after exercise. Several scientific studies highlight mTOR activation by protein intake, especially the essential amino acid leucine. One study by Walker et al. 4 showed that leucine consumption shortly after working out increased mTOR activity for several hours post-workout, leading to greater muscle protein synthesis as compared to an exercised group that was not fed leucine. Another scientific inquiry by Pasiakos et al. 5 demonstrated that consumption of leucine immediately after exercise increased muscle protein synthesis by as much as 33 percent.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM MUSCULAR DEVELOPMENTView All

Classic Training Camp

Chris’s Winning Speech On Stage

3 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

Brett "The Butcher" Wilkin

Rookie sensation of the year

8 mins read
Muscular Development
November 2021

MAXIMUM MUSCLE GROWTH: FAST VS. SLOW PROTEIN

It’s well known that athletes engaged in intense training need to eat enough protein in their diets to repair tissue and promote growth.

10 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

2021: The Year in Review

LIMITLESS BODY BUILDING

6 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

FULLY ARMED WITH THE BIG ROCK

No, The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) didn't add the word Big to his name. Like in Star Wars lore, there is another. Another Rock, a bigger Rock. France's Morgan Aste, at 6-foot-3 and 315 pounds on stage actually should be renamed the Biggest Rock, right?

6 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

DIURETICS AND MUSCLE DEFINITION

The Power and Danger of Lasix

9 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

THE TOP 12 STORIES OF 2021

THE DEATH OF PETER MCGOUGH

10 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

LOW-DOSE DECA: What Kind of Gains Can You Expect?

TESTOSTERONE

5 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

MD GLOBAL MUSCLE BUZZ

Brrrrrr, can you feel that chill, guys? We'd all best fetch our thermal undies, whack up the heating to “11 and wait out what could be a very, very long winter. I am of course referring to the repeat of Big Ramy's sensational and decisive win at the Mr. Olympia, so for now, winter is clearly here to stay. For at least a couple more years at least, I'd estimate.

9 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021

TOP 10 PROVEN WAYS TO CUT BODY FAT

Every year, for every bodybuilder, it’s a quest to shed fat to achieve a state referred to as “shredded,” “peeled” or “cut.” Offseason photos of professional bodybuilders show that many binge and dine their way to obesity, yet within a matter of months, even weeks, they are once again posing in peak condition.

10 mins read
Muscular Development
December 2021