Hello, and Happy Saturday to everyone! I sincerely hope that you’re thoroughly enjoying the latest ride on the good ship ketosis, and are learning as we go. Tomorrow of course is The Sunday Quickie, but on Monday the epic series resumes to wrap up everything that these three previous articles have taught us, and how it can be applied to a slightly different approach that I personally have found to be extremely beneficial for both fat loss and muscle gain. Not to mention it is fairly easy to use this technique year round. So tune in Monday for that!
Yesterday I went through the list of hormones that are released during aerobic training as well as their function, and using that information looked at an effective method to maximize fat loss while in ketosis. I would not say that it is necessarily a great way to gain muscle, as I have done the training in fasted ketosis method, but I can guarantee you that if fat loss is your number one goal above all else, then this way works like no other.
Today it is time to look at the hormones that are released when we lift weights, known as anaerobic exercise or exercise not requiring oxygen, and to see of there is a way to maximize those hormones in conjunction with being in a state of ketosis to further the benefits. The principle hormone responsible for fat loss that is released when we train with weights is growth hormone. When lifting weights, growth hormone is maximally stimulated by a couple of different things. Heavy compound lifts and higher reps. Not just a higher number of reps, but repetitions that are done with enough weight, and done long enough to cause a large amount of lactic acid to build up in the working muscles. When you feel that burning sensation, that means growth hormone will be released shortly to rush to the muscles in use to help with repair. I feel that when the burning starts, the set really begins. If fat loss and muscle growth are of concern to you then the longer you can remain in the pain zone, the more dramatic your results will be. There is some truth to the old adage, no pain no gain.
Growth hormone is a peptide hormone that stimulates growth, cell production and regeneration. From strictly a health standpoint, growth hormone is the fountain of youth. It increases the mineralization of bone, increases muscle mass, increases protein synthesis, stimulates the growth and repair of all organs, and stimulates the immune system to name a few things. What we’re also really interested in is the increase in lipolysis that occurs when growth hormone is released. Most people engaging in the ketogenic lifestyle are likely to be interested in fat loss as their main goal. Growth hormone definitely will facilitate this very efficiently by inducing lipolysis, which is the process of breaking down lipids and liberating them as fatty free acids for use as energy, thereby reducing overall body fat deposits. Ketones are produced during this process incidentally. By doing so the body’s need to convert protein into glycogen is lessened, so there is a muscle sparring effect as well which should be of interest to anyone serious about fitness and training. Fat loss is great, but if there is no muscle left at the end of the diet, the entire process was without cause.
The second hormone that we always hear about when weight lifting is involved is testosterone. It is a steroid hormone from the androgen group found in both men and women. Women only possess about one tenth of what men do, so that explains the difference in body composition between the two sexes. The best way to increase the release of testosterone is through heavy and vigorous training involving the basic lifts such as squats, deadlifts, bench presses and barbell rows. Sprints and high intensity circuits are also effective. While not necessarily directly related to fat loss, the higher the amount of testosterone circulating, the higher the amount of muscle that will be built or retained. This at the very least serves to keep our metabolisms running well, and will help to create a caloric deficit. Not to mention that if you are going to the trouble of getting into ketosis, then having some muscle to show off is likely part of the plan.
Another hormone that is released during training is insulin like growth factor or IGF. IGF is released by the by the liver in response to growth hormone levels as well as by damaged muscle tissue to stimulate localized growth. Similar to testosterone, having plenty of IGF available to keep your muscles growing is a great idea when training with weights. The best way to have lots of IGF in circulation is to train hard enough to cause a good amount of muscle trauma, which means good old fashioned hard training.
Both testosterone and IGF require some serious effort with the weights in the gym, and the harder and heavier you are able to go, the more of both of these hormones will be available to grow your muscles. This goes contrary somewhat to being in ketosis. Ketosis, simply due to the lack of available glycogen, will cause your performance to suffer. Compounding this somewhat is the fact that whatever glycogen is being produced to fuel your weight training is likely at the expense of those very muscles you’re trying to build. It is true that during protein synthesis and resynthesis, you are likely to get a good portion of what you lost back, but it is still not an ideal recipe to follow for muscle building or strength.
As well as the hormones we’ve covered so far, adrenaline and noradrenaline are released during high intensity exercise. When it comes to doing heavy circuits, the amount that is being released is quite noticeable. This is another contentious issue in my opinion that contrasts negatively with the typical ketogenic diet. If high intensity training is being used in whatever capacity, then catecholamines are being released when in the state of ketosis for the specific purpose of breaking down protein to provide glycogen to the working muscles. Once again, not an ideal scenario when training for increased strength and muscle mass.
As you can see, there is a distinct disadvantage to building both strength and muscle mass when in ketosis due to decreased performance as a result of lack of glycogen availability, as well as the catabolising of tissue to provide glycogen to the muscles engaging in the weight training. This brings me to Ketosis Part IX, where I believe a compromise is necessary to be able to enhance performance so that we can benefit from the higher release of muscle building hormones that will improve our strength and health as well as our appearance, but also further our fat loss goals-all the while remaining in ketosis. I will get into this in the next installment, as well as specifically what I have been doing with regards to ingredients used and timing of those ingredients in relation to training. I hope you tune in next time and are enjoying this series as much as I am. Until then,