#163 – Layne Norton, Ph.D.: Building muscle, losing fat, and the importance of resistance training

Layne Norton is a physique coach, a natural professional bodybuilder and powerlifter, and holds a Ph.D. in nutritional sciences. In this episode, Layne explains how he became interested in weightlifting and fitness both professional and academically. He provides insights into preventing and managing injuries while using consistency and determination to boost his professional success in bodybuilding and powerlifting. Peter and Layne also review the science of body composition and what’s really driving muscle growth, including the role of nutrition, supplements, and a number of important and misunderstood hormones important to muscle protein synthesis. Furthermore, Layne stresses the importance of maintaining muscle mass even while losing fat for improving metabolic health and longevity and provides the keys to developing healthy habits.

We discuss:
00:00:00 – Intro
00:00:09 – Layne’s childhood and why he gravitated towards weightlifting and bodybuilding
00:10:25 – Layne’s academic path, overcoming ADHD, and kicking Adderall
00:21:35 – Paradoxical observations about expertise, and Layne’s career transition to health and fitness
00:33:05 – The power of persistence and resilience in the face of setbacks
00:45:00 – Battling injuries, managing back pain, and setting lifting records
01:01:20 – Bodybuilding vs. powerlifting: comparing and contrasting the training approaches
01:10:45 – Cutting weight without losing muscle mass: exercise and dietary protocols, fasting, and a look at the literature
01:31:35 – Muscle protein synthesis and the importance of leucine
01:44:12 – Nitrogen balance and muscle protein synthesis, and the regulatory role of hormones for fat flux and muscle growth
01:54:13 – What’s really driving muscle growth: intrinsic vs. systemic factors, IGF, and hormone signaling
02:03:45 – The role of protein, carbohydrates and insulin on muscle growth and preservation, and the importance of context when interpreting study results
02:16:53 – Clarifying the role of cortisol—a misunderstood hormone
02:24:30 – The problem with studies trying to isolate one nutrient
02:29:05 – The important role of inflammation from exercise
02:33:47 – Keys to preserving muscle, and the value of habits, consistency, and resilience

Show notes page: https://peterattiamd.com/laynenorton/

The Peter Attia Drive is a weekly, ultra-deep-dive podcast focusing on maximizing health, longevity, critical thinking…and a few other things. With over 30 million episodes downloaded, it features topics including fasting, ketosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, mental health, and much more.

Peter is a physician focusing on the applied science of longevity. His practice deals extensively with nutritional interventions, exercise physiology, sleep physiology, emotional and mental health, and pharmacology to increase lifespan (delay the onset of chronic disease), while simultaneously improving healthspan (quality of life).

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