Tired of being a skinny guy in a fat world? Want to know how muscles are built? Well, you could just commit to a muscle-building plan and go at it until you see results, and that would be fine. However, when you know why you are doing what you’re doing, the work you put in becomes more tolerable.
Understanding the inner workings of the body enables you work out with purpose and conviction. Seeing as the brain controls the body, this is actually a really important part of the equation. You’ve heard it before, knowledge is power. Are you ready to strengthen your mind? Ok, here we go…
Muscle Building: Breaking it Down
This may sound a little strange, but here’s the first thing you need to know: muscles need to be broken down in order to be built up. Every time you engage in weight lifting or strength training, you are essentially damaging the targeted muscle and causing miniscule tears (micro-tears) in the fiber. The body, smart as it is, responds by repairing the damage caused and making provisions for future damage by adding extra muscle tissue. This process is known as muscle adaptation.
Consider for a moment how the body repairs broken bones. If you’ve ever broken a bone and looked at the x-rays once it had healed, you might have noticed that the area around the break appeared slightly larger. Now, obviously one wouldn’t go breaking bones to strengthen them, but you get the point. This is why diet is so important. To create the building blocks that make repairing and increasing muscle possible, the body must be fueled, namely through protein, carbohydrates, and fat.
Types of Muscle Fibers
Because muscle adapts and grows differently, it helps to understand the fundamental physiological differences. It makes achieving your bodybuilding goals more likely and saves you time, effort, and frustration. Let’s talk fibers. Muscle fibers can be broken down into two main categories: slow twitch (type 1) and fast twitch (type 2). Each type responds to physical activity differently and contracts in a specific way. Human muscles contain a combination of both fiber types.
Slow twitch fibers utilize oxygen more efficiently and produce low force and speed. These are used for high endurance activities, like marathon running and cycling. Fast twitch fibers produce high force and speed. These tire out more easily and are used for low endurance activities that involve quick energy bursts, such as sprinting. As someone looking to build muscle, your training would target fast twitch fibers. The idea is to fatigue them efficiently, causing maximum damage fast.
The Importance of Recovery Time
Recovery time is a crucial part of the muscle building process. A lot of people overlook this, though, subscribing to the idea that if some training is good then a whole bunch of it must be great. Not true at all. That is a surefire way to waste time and thwart your efforts. Muscles need time to recover before they are broken down again, or else they do not grow. You might have heard people who train constantly complain about not showing gains. The body needs time.
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