Have you ever imagined yourself with massive arms and shoulders? Tree trunk thighs and boulders for calves? It’s time to stop dreaming and start bodybuilding like the professional bodybuilders. How should you start?
If you are 16 years old, you can throw dumbbells and barbells around the gym and eat an endless supply of pizza, burgers, and milkshakes and pack on the mass and muscle. Unfortunately, we are no longer 16, and for us, this approach would add a few muscles under layers of fat. Bodybuilding requires the right weight training program coupled with the proper protein-rich diet and much rest to achieve the best results.
Bodybuilding is a Science
To maximize your results, you need to understand the basics of the biological process behind muscle and muscle growth. Including how your body adapts to the stresses of lifting a heavyweight, what your muscle is made of and how it recovers and grows. With this information and your individual goals, you can build the most suitable bodybuilding program tailored to what you need to reach your goals.
What is Hypertrophy?
Muscle growth is known as hypertrophy, growth caused by an increase in cell size, or in this case, an increase in the size of muscle fibers. When you train to add muscle, new muscle fibers are not created. The heavyweight you use forces the muscle’s fibers to adapt and grow. As you train the muscle, it becomes slightly damaged and grows microscopically larger as it is repaired when you rest. Therefore, rest and recovery (paired with adequate protein intake) are vital to the bodybuilding (hypertrophy) process.
Bodybuilding requires heavy training, a high protein diet, and rest and recovery.
Hypertrophy requires mechanical tension. Think of it as the intensity of the exercise. Heavyweight and intensity cause minute muscle damage, which then leads to repair and growth. Maximal muscle growth has been found to occur between 80%-90% of 1RM. If you want to build muscle quickly like the professional bodybuilders - start lifting heavy!
Think of the food you eat as the fuel for your workout. It would be best if you had carbohydrates for energy to support your training, a smaller amount of fat for hormone production, but the bulk of your diet should be lean proteins for muscle tissue repair and growth. Consequently, if you train hard and feed your muscles, they will grow. Nutrient timing is also crucial to maximize muscle growth. You must consume protein (and a lesser amount of carbs) within 30 minutes of completing your workout to see the best results.
Rest and Recovery
In this case, rest does not refer to the rest between sets, but the rest you experience outside the gym. You train hard in the gym to slightly break down muscle fibers, but muscle growth happens outside the gym, primarily while you sleep. Hypertrophy cannot occur if your body is not allowed adequate time to rest and repair. Try to get a full eight hours of sleep each night. This is the time that the protein you consumed is used to repair and rebuild muscle fibers. Additionally, your body releases beneficial hormones while you sleep. Under the topic of rest, you should also avoid training the same muscle groups two days in a row and allow for at least one (two may be better) days that you do not go to the gym.
With the right training program supported by a high protein diet and ample rest, you CAN build muscle and achieve the body you want like the professional bodybuilders!
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