by Dr. David Minkoff March 19, 2023 6 min read
As we enter Week Two of the Lean Bulk, cravings for junk food or processed sugars should be lowering or gone.
And you may not have added much in the way of muscle yet.
That’s fine, you’ve just started and it will come. Right now we’re dialing things in and balancing hormones for muscle building and body fat regulation.
You also may have found it hard to eat all of the natural proteins on the protocol. But this protein is necessary.
Building muscle is about injuring our muscles by putting more pressure on them than they’re used to so they’ll be forced to not only heal, but grow to accommodate the new levels of stress we’ve put on them.
It takes about 90g of pure protein to build a pound of muscle. Most of the rest is fat and water. A pound of muscle is about the size of a tangerine, so even one pound is noticeable if in the right places.
So we need to make sure we’re getting enough protein to not only heal and maintain the muscle we do have, but add to it.
If you’re having trouble getting in all the protein, first, make sure you’re taking your digestive enzymes. Most people’s digestive tracts are not set up to fully digest natural proteins anymore due to our diets. But this prevents us from getting the nutrition we need from this food.
Digestive Enzymes and PerfectAmino help us digest the food we’re eating now, while building up our ability to digest these proteins on our own. And, of course, with PerfectAmino we get a pure source of amino acids to build lean muscle no matter the state of our digestive tract.
Digestive Enzymes also help prevent harmful bacteria, parasites, and fungi from entering our bodies through our food and water.
But also make sure you’re dialing in your macros, raising or lowering them according to what you can actually consume without stuffing yourself.
If you’re taking your digestive enzymes, then your proteins are being properly digested and if you feel stuffed, you’re eating too much.
For many people, the starting macros given may be too much, while for others they’re too little. In Week One we work to dial these in so they’re just right for you.
Just follow the section “Dialing in Your Macros (Too High or Too Low)” in this article.
As we move into Week Two, fat loss will start occurring if it hasn’t already, and we start to build lean muscle.
You should have worked out your exact weights in the first week, for each exercise, and this week we start pushing those hard.
Lift as heavy as you can while staying in the 6-8 rep range for each set. Make sure you’re keeping in proper form to prevent injury, of course (very important), but work to lift as heavy as you can.
This week is also where we start to balance hormones in our body. Muscle building speeds up this process by forcing our body to do it faster than it normally would.
So let’s talk a little about hormones.
Hormones are messenger chemicals. There are about 50 of them and they're key to muscle growth (not to mention bone, ligament, tendon, skin, and nerve growth, sleep, energy, mood, mental ability, reproduction, appetite, and much, much more).
They’re also key to sugar utilization, fat storage, and fat loss.
They’re the regulators.
They deliver instructions to our cells by hitting specific “receptors” on each cell that are able to recognize them for what they are and receive and pass on their message into the cell.
Cells don’t do anything without being told to by hormones, so we need our hormones telling them to do the right things.
If these hormones are out of balance or deficient, then you will find it very hard to gain muscle in quantity, keep high energy levels, or lose fat easily — not just because the body isn't telling itself to lose fat or add muscle, but because it’s telling itself notto.
It works like this: If you’ve just worked out, the body releases growth hormone to tell the muscle cells to increase uptake of amino acids to build new muscle cells and increase tissue.
The growth hormone actually stimulates what are known as satellite cells on the outside of muscle fibers to go to injured portions of the muscle and start replicating to add to the muscle.
These cells then fuse into muscle fibers, growing the muscle tissue, as well as new blood vessels to support this muscle.
If bone needs to be strengthened or healed, your body releases estrogen or testosterone to bring a message to the bone cells telling them to replicate and grow new bone cells.
If this didn’t occur, then you couldn’t build muscle or repair micro-fractures in bone that occur daily just by walking.
Reversely, if you eat higher levels of sugar or processed sugars then you raise levels of the hormone Cortisol. Cortisol tells our body to prioritize fat storage and to break down muscle to convert the proteins in it into energy.
This high level of cortisol also tells your body to lower t levels, needed in both men and women for muscle growth, as well as growth hormone, necessary for recovery and the building of muscle.
This is one reason a higher sugar diet actually slows progress. No matter how much work you do, the foods you’re eating are causing your body to fight against muscle growth, including lowering the levels of the hormones that would make it build muscle and breaking down the muscle you do build.
Hormones are the controllers. But they do what they do based off of the food we eat, not based off of what we want them to do.
High levels of fat and protein cause t hormone and growth hormone to be released and help to lower cortisol levels.
This is so much the case that many people, if they don’t want to “do a diet,” can just start cutting out sugars and heavily raising their proteins levels, or taking PerfectAmino, and their hormones will start to balance and fat loss and muscle gain will occur.
The muscle gain will be minimal without lifting heavy weights, but it will still occur.
There is also the matter of the fat you consume for building muscle. Your cells are made of about 50% protein and 50% fats.
And of the fats these are about 25% saturated fats and 25% unsaturated fats.
So if your saturated and unsaturated fats are low, your body will not be able to build as much muscle even if it has the protein to do so. It needs both the protein and the fats to build new muscle cells.
This is why the fat macro is so high on this protocol.
Now, these are very simplified examples, and other hormones also play roles in the above. In fact it’s a very delicately balanced system. But that’s basically how it works. Hormones deliver messages telling the cells what to do.
You could have all the nutrition in the world sitting in your body, but without hormones telling the cells when and how to use it, good or bad… it would just sit there.
So let’s make them work for us by eating right so they give the directions we want them to give.
Over the next two weeks we’re going to dive into more information on individual hormones and how they affect muscle building in both women and men, as well as digestion and sleep.
But in the meantime, make sure you’re keeping your macros in the correct ratio and dialing them in according to this article. And make sure you’re pushing to lift as heavy as you can in your workouts while maintaining proper form.
Body fat may fluctuate this week, but if you follow the macros and dial them in properly, then any excess fat will come right off and any new body fat will come off more easily then before.
And we’ll start building lean muscle.
Alright, take your Week Two measurements and pictures, but don’t compare yet, and let’s get started on Week Two!
And if you’re just seeing this and want to know more about Leaning Bulking, go here to read What Is Lean Bulking & Is It Possible?
Then go here for WEEK ONE.
To continue, go here for WEEK THREE.
Here you can find Discounted Product Bundles for the 30 Day Challenge. Just use code LEANBULK at Checkout.
And if you have any questions, make sure to join our VIP Group where you can ask any question you have and get only the best answers.
by Dr. David Minkoff
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