We spend copious amounts of time in the weight room pushing, pulling, raising, and lowering weights; while flexing, extending, rotating and statically loading our body. Ultimately, we put ourselves through this to add lean muscle, which in turn increases our metabolism leading to a reduction in body fat. Although it might sound pretty straightforward, it is not as simple as showing up to the gym, moving some weight around and expecting the desired change.
Muscles are made up of thousands of fibers. There are two types: type I (slow twitch) is primarily used during long endurance activities and type II (fast-twitch) is mainly used during short bursts of movement. Both types are comprised of protein (amino acids in its simplest form).
The main factors that are required for muscle hypertrophy (growth and increase in the size of muscle cells) include:
1. Having a Strong Stimulus. Choosing a heavy enough load/weight results in microscopic tears to muscle fibers.
2. Consuming Enough Protein. Extra protein has to be circulating throughout the body to repair tears and add muscle size. Without it, this process of building new lean muscle is brought to a halt. This is why protein is essential at every meal and especially after a workout.
3. Getting Adequate Rest. Muscles grow and recover when they are resting. Overtraining results in your body’s inability to repair, which limits lean muscle gain.
Beyond these main factors, there are additional influences which include:
· Doing Multi-Joint Movements/ Working Large Muscle Groups – the more muscle fibers stimulated, the greater potential for hypertrophy. Squats and deadlifts, which are multi-joint movements and target large muscle groups, are more effective and beneficial for strength and muscle gain compared to single joint and/or small muscle groups.
· Proper Training Technique –having poor form or minimal range of motion does not allow for maximal gains and could potentially result in acute and/or chronic injury.
· Drinking Enough Water – proper hydration is essential for muscle growth, considering 75% of muscle is made up of water.
· Change Up Workout Routine Frequently – keep muscles guessing with new and/or varied stimuli to help maximize muscle growth. (Click here to learn more.)
· Protein Supplementation – Having a quality whey protein isolate, along with glutamine (the most abundant amino acid found in the body) and branch chain amino acid’s (BCAA’s) are important for post workout recovery. They help prevent muscle loss, while increasing lean muscle.
What you do after your workout is just as important as what you do during it to increase lean muscle. What’s preventing you from maximizing muscle growth? Learn how to increase strength while minimizing muscle catabolism (breakdown) by contacting Dan at (978) 807-8579 or visit seachangefitness.net.