“We are what we repeatedly do” - Aristotle
Your MOst Frequent Intense Activity, MOFIA will determine the size, strength and shape of your muscles. Your MOFIA will have an impact on your posture, walking style, gait, body confidence and overall physical appearance. MOFIA benefits include a muscular and slim athletic physique, a healthy complexion, an active sex life and long-term good health.
Our genes are best suited for frequent short bursts of intense activity followed by feeding and rest apart from frequent low intensity activities of varying durations, during daytime. The body has an elaborate system of signaling molecules, which enable us to do exercise and also help our muscles to adapt to exercise, stress and the environment. To protect us from periods of starvation there is an even more extensive signaling system, which tunes our speed of metabolism to the availability of food, and also helps to store all the macronutrients (see Understanding Macro Nutrition). Similarly, adaptation is controlled by a vast range of signals from the brain, organs and within the muscle itself, resulting in Neuro Muscular Adaptations to suit MOFIA (Most Frequent Intense Activity). Growth Hormone, Testosterone, Thyroid Hormone, Insulin, Nitric Oxide and Neurotransmitters are just a few of the compounds involved. MOFIA is most likely to trigger and utilize our full genetic potential for muscle hypertrophy and peak cardiovascular and mental fitness.
The huge mafia of hormones, neurotransmitters, cytokines, signaling systems and storage systems gets very upset with us if we do not follow nature’s design for activity and feeding. MOFIA Rules of Muscle Hypertrophy are designed to optimally use our body systems and genetic programs for Muscle Hypertrophy.
Basis of MOFIA Rules
(Research studies quoted in Body Shape Adaptation – TEDIF Protocol)
Muscle hypertrophy is triggered by Intense Exercise followed by post-workout feeding of diets rich in Essential Amino Acids.
Muscle hypertrophy is maximum when there is no rest within a high intensity set of resistance exercise. 1
Every short burst of Intense Exercise causes elevation of Growth Hormone and Plasma Testosterone.
High intensity resistance exercises, with NO REST within a set, induces strong lactate, growth hormone (GH), epinephrine (E), and norepinephrine (NE) responses compared to schedules with rest within a set. 1
Every short burst of exercise increases the metabolic rate, improves blood supply to the muscles and has cumulative cardiovascular and anti-obesity benefits.
Endurance exercise helps to burn fat during exercise. Intense Exercise helps to elevate the metabolic rate for much longer periods and keeps the body in a greater fat burning mode for longer periods while at rest also.
Combination of Intense and Endurance Exercise causes hypertrophy of all types of Muscle Fibers (Fast, intermediate and slow twitch muscle fibers).
Muscle hypertrophy is the greatest in the first 24 hours after intense exercise and can continue up to 72 hours also.
Split session of exercise, with 20 or more minutes of rest in the middle, helps to burn more fat during the second session and also during recovery.
Each muscle group needs only 1 intense exercise session per week for muscle hypertrophy.
Exercises involving free weights or those involving greater neural input lead to better neuromuscular adaptations.
The Most Frequent and Intense Activity, MOFIA will determine the strength, size and shape of your muscles apart from posture, speed, agility and reflexes.
MOFIA Rules for Muscle Hypertrophy
How you exercise, how much you exercise and how frequently you exercise will make a major difference in the results. The guidelines below are for optimum muscle hypertrophy.
Each major muscle group should be exercised intensely once in a week. Perform 3-4 sets of 4-6 repetitions using a weight which you cannot lift more than 6 times without rest between repetitions. Between 2 sets rest for a minute or two. This is for the ‘fast twitch’ muscle fibers and for maximum possible output of Growth Hormone.
Perform 2 sets of 8-12 repetitions with a lighter weight for the same muscle group to target the ‘intermediate twitch’ muscle fibers.
Perform 1 set of around 20 repetitions or up to muscle failure to target the ‘slow twitch’ muscle fibers.
At the end of your session perform one set of eccentric resistance exercise with a weight about 10% more than your 1 repetition maximum.
Within a few minutes of waking up perform light warm up and flexibility exercises for at least 5 minutes out of which just 30 seconds should be at high speed. Repeat this at least on 2 more occasions during the day to keep your metabolic rate elevated and ensure better blood flow and therefore better supply of oxygen and nutrition to the muscles.
Devote the most frequent and intense activity to specific body areas that need shaping up.
What you eat, when you eat and how many times you eat in a day has a major impact on muscle hypertrophy. Pre and post workout feeding is important to avoid muscle degradation and ensure the maximum anabolic response.
Eat a heavy breakfast. Thereafter eat every 3-4 hours, eat slowly and just enough to stop hunger. Smaller meals are digested more easily and ensure that the glucose and lipid levels are moderate. This results in much lower oxidative stress and lesser conversion of glucose into fats (by insulin).
The macronutrient intake should be in the following pattern:
Carbohydrates 45-65% of energy or 5-12 grams / kg bodyweight.
Proteins 10-35% of energy or 1.2-1.8 grams / kg bodyweight.
Fats 20-35% of energy or 1.6 gms per day of Linolenic Acid (found in Flaxseed Oil) for men and 1.1 grams per day for women, limiting saturated fats and avoiding trans fats. (please see Nutrition Needs of Exercising Individuals)
Consume small quantity of protein rich food 30-45 minutes before exercise.
Post workout, consume protein rich food. Take care to use proteins that are high in Essential Amino Acids, since they trigger synthesis of muscles (2). Ensure that you get all the macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) in each meal. Consume diets rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, like fish, flaxseed and walnuts.
Drink plenty of water and other beverages throughout the day. Men should consume more than 3.0 liters per day and women should consume more than 2.2 liters per day.
Muscles grow during recovery and rest periods, especially when we are asleep. The recovery phase is most important for muscle hypertrophy.
After intense exercise for a major muscle group allow a minimum 48 hours rest and recovery period. No intense exercise should be performed for the muscle group during recovery. Follow an alternate days schedule for upper body and lower body. For example if you have performed intense exercises for Back and Biceps on Monday, you need to choose only lower body exercises on Tuesday.
Sleep about 2 hrs after dinner for 7-8 hours. Growth Hormone reaches peak levels about 2 hours after we sleep. It is believed that the level of glucose (and insulin) in the blood should be low for good quantities of Growth Hormone to be released. A 2 hrs gap between dinner and sleep ensures that glucose and insulin levels are low enough for Growth Hormone to do its job. Growth Hormone uses fat as the major energy source for repair and growth of muscle tissue.
The recovery period lasts from 48 hours to 72 hours. During this period it is important to continue nutrition and water intake for better muscle hypertrophy.
Discussion and Conclusion
Muscle hypertrophy is achieved by a combination of intense exercise, nutrition and adequate rest and recovery. Ignoring one or more of the aspects may result in slower results. People desiring better muscles and fat loss need to pay particular attention to their protein intake and ensure that they consume Essential Amino Acids (from Dairy products, Whey, Chicken, Fish and Soybean etc.). For Omega 3 fatty acids, Flaxseed Oil or Fish Oil are among the best sources. Ensure sufficient intake of antioxidants, micronutrients and minerals like Iron, Calcium, Zinc and Magnesium.
Prolong Youth by leading an ‘enlightened and balanced life’
1. Kazushige Goto et al, Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2005;37(6):955-963. ©2005 Am. College of Sports Medicine
2. B.F.Miller, Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 2007;35(2):50-55. ©2007 Am. College of Sports Medicine. Posted 06/13/2007
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