Male or female, mostly everyone is looking to build muscle these days. With big butts being the most prominent fashion trend and everyone trying to make #gainz, we think it’s pertinent to address how the body actually builds muscle. If a built backside or pecks to impress isn’t your goal that’s okay – this article may still be worth a read!
Now fitness lingo can be quite hard to get, so pay keen attention. To build muscle you have to repeatedly ‘stress’ the muscles (tearing the tissue fibers), and then repair them (with rest and protein). Muscles grows during the repair in a process called muscle hypertrophy, when the torn tissues are bound together and increase in size or number. That’s the very general idea but now we’ll break it down.
Breaking the muscles
You stress the muscles by adding a stress load greater than the muscle is used to. For a beginner this may be bodyweight for certain exercises or a light set of weights. Over time your body will adapt to be able to manage heavier weights. Under stress your muscles will tear and then they’ll need to be rested in order to repair.
Your muscles ‘grow’ while being repaired. This takes between 24 and 72 hours dependent on how accustomed your body is to resistance training. That’s the soreness in your muscles you usually feel after working out for the first time in a while. During rest the body goes through a cellular process of fusing muscle fibers together to produce new muscle protein strands.
How does the body do this?
With protein!! The idea behind ‘building a bod’ is that with enough protein the muscle tissues will repair with a stronger (or thicker) bond, adapting in order to manage the stress your body was put under. With a low-protein diet the bonds will be weaker and more susceptible to breaking again. The best time to consume protein will be up to 30 minutes after your workout so that your body will be fueled for the repair process.
Everyone’s dietary needs with be different. How much protein you need with depend on your body mass, how often you train, and your fitness goals. A dietician or nutritionist should be able to give you an idea of how much protein you will need.
Everyone is different
The hormone testosterone is largely responsible for muscle repair – we won’t bore your with the details. Because of this and other biological factors, everyone’s potential for muscle growth is different. Women biologically have far less testosterone than men, and as a result will find it harder to build vast amounts of muscle quickly.
Muscle growth is a process. You won’t see mass growth after one month of consistent training. The idea is with each breakdown and repair of the muscles, they grow incrementally stronger and hopefully larger.