Today I am going off on a bit of a RANT –Reactive Analytical Neurotic Talk – about muscle gainZ and AMPK.

AMP-who?  Hold on as we go HARD head first down the nerd chute.

If your goal is to add as much muscle as you possibly can, you want to stimulate the ever-living piss out of the mTOR (mamalian Target of Rapamycin) pathway.

While it is not the only pathway to mo’ muscle, but I keep seeing programs popping up on the ole interwebz about how to gain muscle and keep mTOR down regulated (suppressed).

Say what? Why do you want to inhibit the main driver of muscle gainZ?

And then the next sentence is something like…

” …make sure to do a 16 hour daily intermittent fast to ensure that mTor pathways aren’t activated and autophagy is  enabled”  -nameless internet GooRoo

I want to put my head through a wall.

If your goal to maximize muscle at all costs (no drugs), then you want to be running mTOR – alot.

You want to stimulate it as often as you can with 3 – 5 high protein feedings per day, every day.  By eating 20 -50 grams of protein at each meal you will just that.  Thank me later.

Plus you need to eat…..calories.  I know, “calories” is a dirty word.  No need to go bonkers here with a diabolical dirty bulk by snorting pixy sticks in-between each meal; however, you need to be in a caloric surplus unless you are brand new to lifting OR using mountains of drugs –which I would NOT recommend.

What About Health?

Now if you want to trade in a bit of hypertrophy and hedge towards the health and maybe body composition end of the spectrum, I do think a period of intermittent fasting can be helpful.

I’ve used a 6/1 split with clients for over a decade now where they run the every living crap out of mTOR with multiple protein feedings for 6 days a week and then fast for most of (or all of) only 1 day per week.

This gets you a theoretical 85% of muscle building capacity with a period of no calories, lower insulin, a bit of autophagy, etc during the fast.   Keep in mind that this approach will not absolutely maximize every last gram of muscle gain, although I feel it is a great trade off.


Be wary of the simple stories that tell you can get shredded and gain only lean mass combined with a smattering of sciencey trending words sprinkled on top like crusty croutons on a cheap salad.

Unless you are a rank beginner, a true genetic freak, or using drugs, it is not going to happen to a maximal degree.

If you want to hedge your bets towards health a bit on purpose by adding in some fasting periods, that is totally cool – just be aware of the trade off.

Max muscle combined with autophagy / anti mTOR techniques will not MAXIMIZE muscle.

Any program that is pushing maximal muscle while having you fast 16 -20 hours a day is a pile of steaming BS.

….and don’t you even dare email me to ask about “anabolic fasting.”

Just like

  • Reality Television
  • Long Shorts
  • Open Secret
  • Dry lake
  • Clearly confused

The things listed above are oxymorons, and those words don’t belong together.

RANT off,
Dr Mike