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Gain Weight by Using Your Brain

Jul 10, 2008
If you have problems gaining weight or if you're looking for a way to gain weight faster, keep reading. In fact it is very simple and logical to do so. All the processes I'm about to explain have been very well documented. This is not a diet or a supplement, it is something you already posses the power over right now - your brain.

I'm going to discuss:

1. The two branches of your nervous system, their functions and how you can determine which one is dominant in you.
2. How creating an imbalance prevents you from getting the results you want.
3. How you can regain balance to produce the results you desire.

A quick description of the Automatic Nervous System(ANS):

The model of ANS used in clinics originated from Francis M. Pottenger, M.D, 1919. The ANS is the master controller of your metabolism; it controls almost all metabolic processes. The ANS is divided into two divisions on the basis of anatomic and physiological grounds. Nerves from both divisions connect the brain (Hypothalamus) to the organs and glands of the body.

The ANS is like an information transport system with the brain as its switchboard operator. The two divisions, the parasympathetic and the sympathetic nervous system work together to regulate all the activities in the body. To name a few: heart beat, fight or flight, blood pressure, digestion, elimination, repair and rebuilding and much more. In this article, we are interested in the repair and rebuilding activities.

The difference between Parasympathetic and Sympathetic influence is different from person to person. People are more or less influenced by one of these. I encourage you to search the web for a more in depth description of these influences to see where you fit.

Parasympathetic (rest and digest branch): Digestion, Elimination (detoxification), repairing, rebuilding, anabolic processes. People with Parasympathetic dominance tend to be wider build, procrastinate and have excessive appetite and lethargy.

Sympathetic (survival branch): fight or flight response, motivation, stress, catabolic processes. People with Sympathetic dominance tend to be tall, thin, highly motivated, have a low appetite, and excellent concentration.

The key is to be highly motivated and have excellent concentration while training (sympathetic dominant) and then be relaxed and calm in the restitution period (parasympathetic dominant).

Since the parasympathetic branch is the one that builds and repairs our body, along with controlling our anabolic processes, we want that branch to be most active when wanting to gain weight.

Now what you probably don't know, is that most people in our stressed and modern world are in a constant condition called Autonomic Disregulation where our sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are opposite of what they should be. They are literally jacked out of direction, disturbing every metabolic process including our ability to be anabolic. This is where your mind comes in the picture.

You are, in fact, in charge of whether you want to be disregulated, or if you want to be regulated. Regulated is where your body works at 100% efficiency giving you high health and energy.

When you are stressed, your sympathetic nervous system gets activated and responds with a release of catabolic hormones which makes you alert. Cortisol is one of the many, but is the primary stress hormone. You don't want to be sympathetic when gaining muscle.

When you elevate your levels of cortisol, your DHEA ratio to cortisol is disrupted. DHEA-S or DHEA-Sulfite is an anabolic hormone. It is a tissue repair hormone and is very closely related to growth hormone, testosterone and all the other anabolic hormones. So when your cortisol goes up, your DHEA goes down, damaging your health.

High levels of cortisol in the body have been related to highly rapid death of brain cells, and rapid ageing. As cortisol levels go up, it affects the memory and ability to learn .In other words, it disrupts the neurocognitivity which enables the neurons to communicate with one another. Look at the patterns of people who consume caffeinated drinks, sports drinks and coffee, etc.

Caffeine creates a sympathetic catabolic response in your nervous system, where glycogen (sugar) is released from your liver, along with cortisol (which makes you feel fresh and alert). Cortisol is a catabolic anti-inflammatory hormone that breaks down muscle tissue and feeds it to the body. Since the high release of glycogen in your body also triggers a release of insulin, your blood sugar crashes, and it crashes with you. It also affects the quality of your sleep and mood because it interferes with anabolic repair cycles.

If you're waking up in the morning after 7 hours of sleep still tired (not feeling fresh) you are probably not entering deep sleep, because cortisol also disrupts your ability to enter the restorative phases of sleep - REM (Rapid eye movement) Cortisol disrupts your ability to repair your nervous system, and it disrupts your ability for the immune system to do its job. One of the most important changes you can make is to not consume any caffeinated substances after 3pm, because depending on the rate on which your liver is able to detoxify caffeine, it may disrupt your hormonal levels. This will interfere with your ability to sleep and therefore, interrupt your anabolic repair cycles such as DHEA-S. Most physical repair happens between 10pm - 2am - don't workout and go to bed at 1am. Most psychogenic repair (nervous system repair) happens between 2am - 6am.

Another thing to consider is to avoid full spectrum lighting in the hours before sleep. Light stimulates the pineal gland which stimulates the RAS (Reticular Activation System) which "turns you on" again. As cortisol levels drops during the day, melatonin increases. Melatonin is the hormone that puts you to sleep and makes you tired. So when you come home with full spectrum lighting in your house, it jacks up your cortisol levels again, interfering with your sleep and repair cycles.

Consider what happens when you come home late at night and have coffee with your full spectrum lighting. Guess what... your body's hormonal cycle is totally confused, ramped and ragged, you sleep poorly and you are not repairing. Next morning you feel awfully tired and like many people do, you drink another cup of coffee! Be smart. If you're reading this it means you are smarter than most people. So live up to it. We need to be parasympathetic while we sleep. Bear in mind, that just because you are not a fan of caffeine, it does not mean that you're safe. A high level of stress elevates cortisol just as effective as caffeine.

This discussion gets more technical so take a look at the picture here while reading:

Your anabolic hormones are mainly produced from Pregnenolone. When your stress levels are high, your sleep is poor, your exercise habits are wrong and you consume the wrong metabolic stimulators (stuff that stimulate a sympathetic response), your body overproduces cortisol and cortisone. Since both your anabolic hormones and your stress hormones are produced from Pregnenolone, which production do you think the body takes away Pregnenolone from in order to compensate for the overproduction of catabolic hormones? It steals the Pregnenolone which should have been used to create testosterone, Androstenediol, Aldosterone among other anabolic hormones. This syndrome called "Pregnenolone steal" or "Cortisol Escape" will steal 60% of your Pregnenolone to compensate for the overproduction of cortisol (or stress in your life), which will mean 60% less anabolic hormones in your body. That's a tough fact.

If you want to gain weight and gain muscle, you must be more parasympathetic than sympathetic. It is really that simple. So take some time of for yourself, relax, get to bed before 10pm, stay away from metabolic stimulators (such as caffeine), avoid full spectrum light before bed hours and give it all you've got when training.

Copyright 2008, Masszymes Inc. All rights reserved.
About the Author
Asger Haug is a serious bodybuilder who has amazing success using the revolutionary new natural bodybuilding system, Freaky Big Naturally. Claim your "Ultimate FR-EE gain weight Bodybuilding Package" at http://gain-weight.freakygrowth.com .
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