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Since oxidative stress has been found to be the main cause of aging, it gives that preventing oxidative stress will stop the aging process… But apparently that’s not the case in real life.

In reality your body is designed to actually thrive under oxidative stress. Yes, this seems a bit tricky…but that’s what’s fascinating about biology, it’s full of contradictions.

Apparently, there are two kinds of oxidative stress, chronic and acute…and they have opposite effects on the aging process.

Chronic oxidative stress vs. Acute oxidative stress

The impact of oxidative stress on the body depends on whether it’s chronic (continuous) or acute (short)… whether it applies in large or small amounts.

Chronic oxidative stress such as due to chronic infection, chronic overtraining or chronic dietary abuse has shown to overwhelm the muscles’ defenses and increase the risk of damage to the mitochondria, neuro-motors and muscle fibers. This type of oxidative stress obviously contributes to muscle degradation and aging.

But not so is the case with acute oxidative stress.

Acute oxidative stress such as due to short intense exercise or periodical fasting, actually benefits your muscle. In fact, it’s essential for keeping your muscle machinery tuned. Technically, acute oxidative stress makes your muscle increasingly resilient to oxidative stress; it stimulates gluthathione and SOD production in your mitochondria along with increased muscular capacity to utilize energy, generate force and resist fatigue.

Simply put, exercise and fasting yield acute oxidative stress which keeps your muscles’ mitochondria, neuro-motors and fibers intact. Hence, exercise and fasting help counteract all the main determinants of muscle aging.

But there is something else about exercise and fasting…

When combined together, they trigger a mechanism that recycles and rejuvenates your brain and muscle tissues.

The mechanism that recycles your brain and muscle tissue

Growing evidence indicates that fasting and exercise trigger genes and growth factors which recycle and rejuvenate your brain and muscle tissues. These growth factors include brain derived neurotropic factor (BDNF) and muscle regulatory factors (MRFs); they signal brain stem cells and muscle satellite cells to convert into new neurons and new muscle cells respectively. Incredibly, BDNF also expresses itself in the neuro-muscular system where it protects neuro-motors from degradation.

This means that exercise while fasting signal your body to keep your brain, neuro-motors and muscle fibers biologically young.

But what’s behind this tissue recycling mechanism? What actually triggers this?

The main trigger of this recycling mechanism is apparently tissue breakdown. Fasting, muscle injury and short intense exercise are all catabolic events which force your body to break down its tissues towards recycling.

When your body is forced to break its tissues, it always prefers to sacrifice first its damaged proteins and old or sick cells. Technically all damaged proteins and old, sick and cancerous cells are tagged by immuno cells to be digested by the body’s ubiquitine enzymes and the nitrogen byproducts are then recycled back into new cells and tissues. Ubiquitine enzymes are your body’s demolition force …when called to act they search and destroy broken, damaged or sick cells to keep your tissues’ integrity and protect against abnormal growth and tumor formation.

That’s how this tissue rejuvenating mechanism works. But to trigger it you need to use a different strategy than that of muscle buildup. Let’s review the differences between these strategies.

Muscle buildup

According to common knowledge, to gain muscle you need to feed it frequently throughout the day. It has been speculated that the minimum protein intake required to promote muscle gain is about 1g/per pound body weight. Bodybuilders often consume 2g/per pound body weight per day. This mean that a 150lb bodybuilder may consume 300g protein (equivalent to three pounds of meat or fifty eggs) per day. That’s lots of protein to shove in…

The combination of intense strength training with frequent meals and a high protein & calorie intake seems to grant muscle gain. Nonetheless, this regimen may come with a price… Inferior muscle fiber quality.

Yes, a big muscle isn’t necessarily a better muscle.

A big muscle can be a liability…that’s if it’s made with inferior fibers. One of the most determinants of your muscle quality is your muscles’ biological age. When your muscle gives up to the aging process, it gradually loses its fiber quality. And as time goes by it gets increasingly dysfunctional. So here is the point:

Conventional fitness and bodybuilding are set to build your muscles but they fail to keep them biologically young. The consequences: you gain muscles with inferior quality and a physique which is highly susceptible to premature aging…

Muscle rejuvenation

To trigger muscle rejuvenation, you need to initiate muscle breakdown and turn on the mechanism that signals satellite cells in your muscle to commit and convert into new muscle cells.

This can be done by combining intermittent fasting with short intense exercise. But to fully take advantage of this strategy you need to know what are your options…

Intermittent fasting/Options

Intermittent fasting (from morning to evening not including post exercise recovery meal) can be done in three ways: fasting, undereating or pulse feeding

  • Fasting – If you choose to fast you can do water fating or vegetable juice fasting (have one up to a few vegetable juices daily).
  • Undereating – If you choose to undereat rather than fast, minimize your food intake during the day to small servings of light, low glycemic mostly raw foods such as fruits, vegetables, whey protein or lightly poached eggs every 4-6 hours.
  • Pulse feeding fibers – Pulse feeding involves frequent use of small whey protein meals with no sugar added every 3-5 hours throughout the day. This regimen is geared towards athletes; we’ll cover it in more detail soon.

As a general rule, have recovery meal (whey protein) after your workout and eat your main meal at night. Intermittent fasting has been recognized as a proven effective strategy to help negate physical and cognitive aging. Adding exercise to this routine will “seal the deal” and shoot the anti-aging impact of this regimen to another level.

Exercising while fasting

Whey Protein and ExerciseFasting promotes muscle breakdown along with the removal of broken proteins and damaged cells towards recycling. Nonetheless, to fully rejuvenate your muscle, you need to grant regeneration of new muscle cells. And that’s where the short intense exercise comes into play. It turns on the mechanism that converts muscle satellite cells into new muscle fibers.

But that’s only the first step…

The second step is to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and promote recovery. For this you need to feed your muscle with fast assimilating protein right after exercise.

Quality whey protein is your best bet.

Right after exercise there is a two hours period called “window of opportunity” in which your muscle is most recipient to assimilate protein and nutrients towards recovery and growth. To take advantage of this opportunity you must feed your muscle right then with fast assimilating protein such as from quality whey. Slow assimilating proteins won’t do the job. Meat, poultry and fish are too slow assimilating and therefore don’t fit post exercise recovery.

Your post exercise recovery meal is critically important. It’s needed to stop the catabolic process in your muscle and shift the recycling process towards repair and growth. If you fail to feed your muscle at the right time after exercise, you won’t just miss this window of opportunity to restore and build your muscle, you’ll actually let the catabolic process go too far and potentially waste your muscle.

Other Benefits of this Strategy

The combined effect of intermittent fasting and short intense exercise yield additional benefits. These include:

  • Boosting growth hormone: Both fasting and short intense exercise have shown to boost growth hormone. Fasting increases expression of ghrelin, a hunger peptide which binds to growth hormone secretagogue receptors (GHSs) and increase growth hormone release by up to six fold. Short intense exercise increases muscle IGF-1 expression which then mediates growth hormones’ repair and growth actions in your muscle.
  • Boosting testosterone: Both intermittent fasting and short intense exercise have shown to boost testosterone. Short intense exercise has a proven positive effect on increasing testosterone levels and preventing its decline. That’s unlike aerobics or prolonged moderate exercise which have shown to have negative or no effect on testosterone levels. Intermittent fasting boosts testosterone by increasing the expression of satiety hormones including insulin,leptin, adiponectin, glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1), colecystokinin (CKK) and melanocortins, all of which are known to potentiate healthy testosterone actions, increase libido and prevent age-related testosterone decline. Having whey protein meal after exercise can further enhance the satiety/testosterone boosting impact. Whey protein is a potent satiety food known to increase CCK and GLP-1 activities. Note that hunger hormones cause the opposite effect on your testosterone and libido.
  • Improving body composition: The increase in satiety hormone activity has been shown to substantially improve body composition. There is growing evidence to the metabolic boosting effects of satiety peptides such as leptin, adiponectin and GLP. These have shown to increase the body’s metabolic rate, reduce body fat, improve insulin sensitivity and increase the percentage of lean muscle mass.
  • Boosting cognitive function and preventing depression: Exercising while fasting maximizes the expression of brain derived neuro-factor (BDNF) which has shown to induce neuro-protective, cognitive boosting and anti-depressant effects.

Exercise while on intermittent fasting is your most effective physical rejuvenating strategy: It won’t necessarily make you bigger but it will certainly keep you biologically younger.
But as mentioned previously, there is yet another version to this tissue rejuvenating strategy. Called pulse feeding, it’s designed to accommodate athletic purposes.

Pulse Feeding

The pulse feeding regimen involves frequent use of small whey protein meals throughout the day followed by a large evening meal. This regimen is still classified intermittent fasting as it minimizes food intake during the day to small whey protein meals (about 20g net protein per serving with no sugar added) every 3-5 hours. What’s special about this feeding strategy is that it keeps your body in a negative energy balance similar to fasting.

This is how it technically works…

Whey protein, with its fastest assimilating rate, allows your body to quickly shift from a feeding to a fasting state – within only 15-30 minutes of small meal ingestion. This means that you can have a few small whey protein meals throughout the day and still keep your body in a fasting state for most of this time. Hence, this regimen yields a double advantage: you can achieve both muscle rejuvenation and muscle buildup at the same time.

But note that pulse feeding is less catabolic than regular intermittent fasting. Given this, it probably has a lower tissue recycling effect but a stronger restoring effect; which seems like a toss.

So how do you choose your rejuvenation strategy?

Your rejuvenating strategy should accommodate your personal priorities. For instance if your main goal is therapeutical such as anti-inflammatory or anti-cancerous, use extreme intermittent fasting i.e. water or vegetable juice fasting during the day, exercise while fasting and have your main meal at night. If your main goal however is athletic, use the pulse feeding regimen instead.

Final Note

The most notable difference between the muscle rejuvenation and muscle buildup strategies is in the initiation phase. For muscle rejuvenation you need to initiate muscle breakdown via intermittent fasting and exercise. Whereas, for muscle buildup, you need to inhibit muscle breakdown and aim at gaining maximum muscle mass via frequent feeding throughout the day including pre and post exercise meals.

You should seriously ask yourself what’s your main fitness goal…getting big or getting young? Apparently, you can’t have both…

The purpose of this article is to present you with the strategy to rejuvenate your physique. It’s an option most people haven’t been aware of…and it isn’t an easy one.

The idea of giving up on breakfast and lunch and then training while fasting would probably seem too extreme to the average person. But in view of the fact that today’s average person’s health has been shattered by excess body fat, metabolic disorders and disease of premature aging…it’s worth questioning the viability of the so called “normal” or “average” diet and lifestyle.

In real life there is always a trade-off…you can’t have something for nothing. Your body is programmed to thrive under hardship and deteriorate by indulgence… Which of these are you ready to trade?

Jump start your Pulse Feeding regimen with Warrior Whey, ChocoWhey and CoCo Madness today!

About Ori Hofmekler — founder of Defense Nutrition and author of The Warrior Diet, is a nutritional and fitness expert. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook and Google+.

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