MTOR What? Strength Training

Wednesday workout: 8 miles, some hills, no music, windy, cold, hard as hell. 10:23 pace

I’ve been strength training off and on since high school. Pole vaulting = learning how to strengthen your arms, core etc. I never really stayed consistent with anything but cardio until very recently. I hopped on the Jillian Michael train and started 30 Day Shred back in March. Me and JM did great together until I got super bored.

Oh yes, I realize I have terrible form in all of these pictures, John Stewart was distracting me!!! You’ll see improvements in the next batch…

I created my own strength routine that was similar to the shred but a little longer. The formula was this:

(3 minutes of strength + 3 min of cardio + 2 min of abs) repeat 3x.

I would run and do my strength routine right after and while I loved the results of cardio strength and the extra calorie burn it gave me, soon enough I found myself feeling run down. I consulted my good friend Steve, because well, he has a degree and  10+ years of experience in this stuff.

He said this:

Two metabolic pathways play a part in exercise. the mTOR pathway for strength based training and the AMPK pathway for cardiovascular based training. When you engage in strength training, the mTOR pathway is stimulated and the ribosomes inside the cell are signaled to begin protein synthesis and lay down/rebuild muscle. Eating certain foods that are rich in leucine (eggs, dairy, meat) also stimulate the mTOR pathway.

When you do cardio exercise, the electron transport chain is the main source of energy which means that the mitochondria are doing a majority of the work. When that happens, the AMPK pathway is stimulated and mitochondrial density increases. Increased mitochondria means increased endurance potential.

When you do both types of exercise together, the two metabolic pathways interfere with each other. That’s not to say you won’t get any benefit from it but the efficiency at which your body adapts (by building muscle or increasing mitochondrial mass) will not be as pronounced. Most recent studies show about a 4 hour window after each type of exercise that the metabolic pathway is signaled. This also coincides with EPOC (exercise post oxygen consumption) in which the metabolism is boosted and the body consumes more energy than normal in order to rebuild/repair whatever was just used.

If you wait ~4 hours between these types of exercises, you’ll gain the most benefit from each type. On top of that, you’ll have a larger window in which your EPOC levels are higher and your metabolism will stay boosted longer throughout the day and you’ll burn more calories.

Essentially, he told me to continue doing cardio in the morning and do a strength routine at night “without any of the Jillian Michaels cardio crap…”  You heard it people 4+ hours in between for maximum benefits. I want ripped abs and sweet arms so I took his advice.

P and I have started a fun routine of throwing on an episode of the Daily Show with Jon Stewart every night and doing strength training until it ends. This ensures that I will get at least 20-25 minutes of strength in, and get to listen to some news.

I also get a lot of questions about supplements, protein powders and other sports stuff that I use.

I am a huge fan of these things:

Nuun for low cal electrolytes, I don’t shut up about how good this stuff is so I’m sure you all know by now.

Shotbloks for mid run refueling, I usually reserve these for 10+ mile runs, but I have been known to eat them on shorter runs when I feel low.

Optimum Nutrition Naturals, I drink this as your standard shake and also mix the powder right into greek yogurt for a protein packed dessert. I love it because it is low sugar without using artificial sugars, and it’s something like 130 calories a serving.

Justin’s packets are great for nut butters without overindulging

Various protein bars:

Promax low sugar (sweetened with stevia)

Power crunch (sweetened with stevia)

Balance Bars (not pictured) because they are 40%carbs 30%fat 30%protein

Stinger bar because it has a nice carb to protein ratio

Stevia packets to keep in my purse for extra sweetness on the go

I use the protein bars as meal replacements because they all have about 200 calories. I also try to get 100g of protein a day which means that supplements help a lot unless I want to eat chicken breast and greek yogurts all day. My protein/fat intake has really fallen off over the past week or so and because of it I was ravenous today. I ended up eating more like 1900 calories instead of my goal 1500. *sigh* Tomorrow is a new day.

Dieting and running/training for a marathon is an interesting experience. I try to maintain enough of a calorie deficit to lose weight, but not so much that I bonk during my workouts. I’m still learning and trying to find the right place for my mental and physical health, but so far– 1500 calories a day(most days) seems to work great. When I burn 1000+ calories, I eat more and when I am extra hungry I try to eat more without overdoing it. It’s all about trial and error right? 😉

What do you all find is your happy calorie zone, or do you train better when you don’t count calories? I have been counting my calories for YEARS and truly don’t know what I would do if I stopped!

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6 thoughts on “MTOR What? Strength Training

  1. When I don’t pay attention to counting calories at all I gain weight – but if I completely deprive myself of things then I just end up binging and ruining the diet anyways. I like the 1500 cal range as well (although I’m not quite as tiny as you are!) Had a perfect health day yesterday until I caved and had some chocolate peanut butter for dessert.. okay okay, like 6 spoonfuls of it.. dang lol.

  2. Do you eat 1500 total or do 1500 net? I stopped counting calories for a month and gained some weight.. so annoying and definitely noticeable since I’m only 5 feet tall. For the past few weeks I’ve been counting and eating around 1500 total to try to get down a few pounds.

    1. 1500 total. Net calories was absurd because I was eating like 2500 calories a day to reach net 1200 and of course gaining weight so I am trying something new with this. I take Sundays off, though.

  3. It’s hard to find the happy calorie zone. I count sometimes, just to make sure I’m consistent. Because I usually eat the same foods, I don’t have to do it every day.
    When I do work out more, though, I take in more. And I also notice a huge difference the following workout, when I increase my calorie intake after the first hard workout.
    It’s kind of a trial and error with listening to my body, but making sure all the calories are worth it.
    Can’t wait to watch you loose those 7 pounds! You’ve got this 🙂

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