Tonight I watched an amazing story about a three-year-old toddler named Liam Hoekstra. He has been dubbed “the world’s strongest toddler.” Liam has significantly developed muscles and is able to do things no other three year old can do, much less other children twice his age. Liam’s condition is the result of a rare genetic condition called myostatin-related
muscle hypertrophy.He has extremely reduced body fat and 40% more muscle than “normal” toddlers his age. He can do chin-ups, he was running up and down the stairs at one year old, and he has a six-pack most guys I know dream about as they’re lifting weights.
Liam at three is the guy a lot of much older guys wish they were, and he is more than likely only going to improve with age. He’s got something everyone wants – lean muscle mass – and he’s only three! Watching Liam made me wonder how the rest of us can get lean muscle mass in a safe and natural way if we aren’t blessed with Liam’s amazing genetics? The answer it turns out might just be found in fish oil.
My father, my brother, my male friends and even some of my male co-workers have spent years talking about getting “fit”, and having lean muscle mass. They aren’t looking to bulk up like an old-school Schwarzenegger; they aren’t necessarily trying to break out their “guns” for all the world to see; and they don’t necessarily want to spend the hours in the gym it would take to get the results they want. A lot of women I know including myself don’t want to necessarily get into weight lifting for fear of building bulk and losing our feminine form. We all want to look great in our bathing suits, but isn’t there an easier way to get there than spending hours in the gym? Like many of us in the “Quick ‘n Easy Gratification Generation”, what other option do we have? It’s not easy to spend a lot of time at the gym; it’s not easy to maintain a fit body; and it’s certainly not easy having an out of shape body, so if there’s an easier way to get there, I’m all ears.
There has been great research surfacing about how fish oil can help build lean muscle mass without having to work so hard. Don’t get me wrong, we still have to work our butts off, but some studies show, and fitness experts swear, that adding fish oil to our diets will help build the bodies we want faster and better.
So now let me share with you a little science and nutrition. If you’re like me, this part might seem a little jargon-heavy, but stay with me because it’ll all make sense (I promise).
Dr. Mauro Di Pasquala, a world-renowned expert on nutrition and sports medicine, states there may be a connection between fish oil and muscle health. He says the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are particularly beneficial because these essential fatty acids (EFAs) slow down, or even inhibit, muscle proteolysis, which is the breaking down of muscle proteins. Proteins are the “building blocks of life”; the body uses protein to rebuild and repair tissue on the muscles and organs. Protein is the ONLY macronutrient that builds and maintains muscles, so it is important especially for an athlete or someone trying to build muscle to consume an adequate amount of protein daily.
Basically, if you don’t get the proper amount of protein in your diet, your body will struggle to make new proteins and will actually start to break down muscle you already have. If you’re like me and trying to build muscle, you certainly cannot afford to lose any just because of improper nutrition! I don’t know about you, but I certainly don’t need a slower metabolism than I already have and if protein will help, then you better believe I will be getting my daily share!
If our body needs protein to keep what we’ve got and build on what we have, then one can surmise that protein needs fish oil to get the job done right.
Researchers from Washington University School of Medicine in Missouri examined the effects of fish oil on protein synthesis, which is the process in which cells build proteins. The researchers found after conducting several studies in both young and older adults that omega-3 fatty acids stimulate muscle protein synthesis, which can substantially increase the anabolic effects of the post-workout window when insulin and amino acid concentrations spike. In other words, your body keeps lifting weights long after you’ve left the gym when you add fish oil to your protein-filled diet.
I’ve given you science and we’ve talked about an amazing three-year-old, but what about fish oil? Does it really help build lean muscle mass? Charles Poliquin, a Canadian strength training coach, has trained and/or consulted numerous world class athletes and professional sports teams. He is a huge advocate of fish oil and offers some great scientific explanations as to why fish oil works on his website, but one of my favorite things about his website is the story he tells about his experience when he added 45 grams of fish oil to a first-round draft pick for the NFL and the player put on 29 pounds of lean body mass in one month. Who wouldn’t want results like that?
Fish oil is gaining traction in the media for its benefits to the brain and heart, but what if it could also help us achieve the physique we wanted too? What if we could all be like Liam Hoekstra – strong, lean, and little to no body fat? All I have to say is where do I sign?