The best guide for your muscle growth. Scroll down!
Skeletal muscle is a dynamic tissue that is critical to the physical health and function of humans. The maintenance of muscle mass is largely dependent on the process of muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which is nutritionally regulated by the provision of amino acids in the form of dietary protein and can be augmented by prior contractile activity (e.g. exercise).
In order to gain muscle mass, you have to implement hypertrophy training. The guidelines recommendation for hypertrophy training are:
VOLUME - 10-20 sets per muscle group/movement per week
INTENSITY - Perform 65-75% of volume in the 6-12 rep range, remaining 25-35% split between 1-6 and 15-20 rep ranges, at a 5-10 RPE (rate of perceived exertion)
EXERCISES - 1-2 compound exercises for each major muscle group and 1–3 isolation exercises (per workout)
FREQUENCY - Each muscle group or movement pattern should be trained at least 2 times per week
Specialized resistance training techniques such as drop-set, rest-pause, pyramid, negatives, supersets, forced repetition, or total training volume and intensity load are commonly used for maximizing muscle hypertrophy, mechanical tension, metabolic stress, and achieving a greater training volume.
7 Stages For Maximizing Muscle Growth During The Training
The science behind adding muscle mass is surprisingly simple and can be broken down into 7 stages. Read on for an insight into what goes on inside your body when you weight train.
Increasing the heart rate pumps blood to your muscles, allowing them to extend fully as they warm. Also supplying the muscle fibers with oxygen so they are ready to workout.
2. Muscle loading
During repetitions, the muscles go through time being loaded and time being stretched under load. As a result, the heart pumps more blood into the protective sheaths that surround the muscle fibers. Therefore providing oxygen and nutrients to these fibers.
3. Activating your nervous system
When we want to lift weights, the central nervous system (CNS) relays this fact to nerves that are within the protective sheath around those muscle fibers. This then tells the muscle fiber to contract, resulting in lifting the weight. When doing the exercise correctly the muscles activate in a partial sequence and your CNS adapts to this. Then as the efficiency of your nervous system improves you can lift more weight or do more reps.
4. Chemical reactions
Adenosine Triphosphate (ATP) is the energy source immediately used for muscle contractions. The body’s cells break it down to release energy. The stores of creatine, phosphate, and glycogen in the cells are also converted into ATP. The by-product of this process is lactic acid.
5. The burn
When the glycogen stores in the cells have been depleted, the lactic acid has built up, this is when the muscles cannot work efficiently and you need to rest.
6. Successful failure
As we reach failure during our last set, the muscle fibers become completely fatigued. Microscopic tears ‘microtears’ occur in the myofilaments (the smallest muscle fiber bundles in your muscles).
7. Repair and growth
The post-workout repair process when our muscles start to grow. The body repairs the microtears by adding amino acids (actin and myosin) to the myofilament, which causes them to grow in size. However, it is important to know the body cannot grow additional muscle cells, so the muscle growth is limited by the number of muscle cells you have. So to get the best results from your weight training, train to suit your body type, read our article on training to your body type for more information.
The above process means you should progressively increase the weights you lift as your muscles quickly adapt to the stress that they are exposed to.
Progress Over Time
When you are in your routine for a while, you may notice that you cannot see new gains and progress anymore. This state is called plateau and it happens when your body already adapts. it is a great sign that you actually already made some gains. However, you have to play with your training routine and methods you use to avoid plateauing. Yeah, the progressive overload it is!
I did write an article about Methods of Progressive Overload for Home Workouts HERE.
Nutrition is one of the most important areas for any fitness goal and in overall health. In relation to muscle growth, firstly you have to add up into your calorie intake, secondly, you have to get your protein intake right to support protein synthesis during the day.
In order to gain muscle mass, your calorie intake must be in surplus. It is necessary to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods with the right macronutrient split of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
During this phase is recommended to increase your calorie intake by about 15%.
RECOMMENDED MACROS SPLIT FOR MUSCLE GROWTH
30–35% of your calories from protein
55–60% of your calories from carbs
15–20% of your calories from fat
For muscle growth, you should provide your body right amounts of nutrients to fuel the body, repair muscle tissue, and recover between your workouts. The complex intake of macro and micronutrients will give your body everything it needs plus will help you achieve more gains. It is necessary to eat a variety of nutrient-dense foods with the right blend of proteins, carbohydrates, and healthy fats.
Because resistance exercise increases protein synthesis, nutrition especially after your workout is very important. This is why more advanced people care about food timing. When muscle hypertrophy occurs, there must be a net increase in protein accumulation. This can occur through an increase in protein synthesis, a decrease in protein degradation, or both. It is clear that exercise and various types of overload have a profound effect on muscle protein metabolism.
When it comes to nutrition another important part is your protein intake. Protein has so many responsibilities and is a really important part of any diet. The repair of muscle tissue following intense exercise is critical in promoting recovery and optimizing training adaptations. Individuals engaged in intense exercise training have greater protein needs. Additionally, research shows that timing dietary protein and/ or amino acid ingestion can play an important role in promoting protein synthesis and recovery from exercise.
Protein and amino acids together with resistance training stimulate skeletal muscle protein synthesis (MPS). That's why is your food after training and during recovery is so important. To support MPS during the day and recovery, you may include 20-30g of protein into your 3-5 main daily meals in order to get a complex of amino acids and support MPS.
The current RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) for protein is set at 0.8 grams per kilogram of body mass but this recommendation is defined as the minimum amount required to prevent lean body mass loss. If you want to build muscle mass, your protein intake will be from 1-2.5g per 1 kg of body weight (depends on your fitness level).
If you asking why is a protein shake good after a workout? It is because whey protein seems most effective in stimulating muscle protein synthesis during acute post-exercise recovery because of its rapid digestion and absorption of kinetics and specific amino acid composition. Ingestion of approximately 20 g protein during and/or immediately after exercise is sufficient to maximize post-exercise muscle protein synthesis rates.
Also, you should choose a quality source of protein. However, not all proteins are created equally in their ability to enhance MPS, so choose different sources to get a full spectrum of amino acids.
Recovery & Sleep
It is important to prioritize sleep to promote recovery. Sleep enhances muscle recovery through protein synthesis and human growth hormone releases. Get a solid 6-8 hours to support this process and avoid hormonal imbalances such as increased stress and hunger hormone, DOMS, which will influence your physical output and overall mood another day.
Aim to go to bed at similar times each night to support circadian rhythm health and if necessary, nap and/or catch up on sleep debt when time permits.
Patience is a KEY
Muscle building and body re-composition is more marathon than a sprint. Sticking with a training program when you aren't seeing results right away affords your body the time needed to make noticeable changes, and it may take several months/years for drastic body composition changes to occur. Getting over plateaus, dieting, etc all require a great amount of patience.
So focus on your short-term and daily goals to stay motivated. Stay consistent and trust the process!