Ep. 9 – Dedication to Education

In this episode, we’re answering the question; Does having excess body fat reduce your ability to build muscle?
Well, an interesting study by Beals et al (2016) may have provided some evidence to suggest so. We know that eating enough protein on a per meal basis evokes an anabolic response. The amount needed is within the 30-40g mark. In other words, eat 30-40g of protein within a meal, and you’ll switch on anabolic signals for muscle growth.
We can call this THE ANABOLIC TRIGGER. The question is; does your body fat effect this? In this study, three groups of 10 were divided based on their BMI; healthy weight, overweight and obese. All participant were provided a meal containing 170g of pork, which met the anabolic threshold dose (36g of protein). The results suggest that the healthy weight group were able to stimulate anabolism as expected, where the overweight and obese groups couldn’t as well. Suggesting that the greater the fat mass you have, the harder it may be to switch on the anabolic trigger.
Some context for the jacked, tanned and swole: This is very much a ‘snap shot’ that was measured over a 300 minute period. 
  • Exercise increases anabolic sensitivity. Since the participants didn’t exercise, would this alter anabolic signalling and improve the response?
  • Would consuming a higher dose of protein in the overweight and obese population resolve this issue? As seen in the elderly who have anabolic resistance?
  • Short term measures in muscle protein synthesis (360 minutes post training) haven’t been correlated to muscle mass. Correlations of MPS and muscle gain have only been observed after 3 weeks of weight training. Therefore are these ‘snap shot’ results meaningless to muscle gains?
  • BMI has it flaws amongst trained and athletes, therefore if you’re classed as overweight/obese due to having a larger proportion of muscle mass – this isn’t relative to you. However BMI does offer an insight to body fatness in the untrained population.
It could be speculated that if you’re on a bulking type diet, that body fat percentage shouldn’t get too high as this may decrease the effectiveness of your gym sessions and training adaptation.So, this study does offer some insight on what could potentially happen if you bulk too hard and don’t train, but does leave many questions unanswered.
Needless to say, even if this isn’t true, decreasing body fatness will improve a host of health markers. So it would make sense to pursue this goal from a health stand point, not just for building muscle. Healthy athletes are winning athletes.

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