There are about 600 muscles in the human body, making up between a third and a half of its total bodyweight. They help us move, hold us up, and help bind us together. The way we treat them determines whether they’ll grow or wither, so they need our constant attention. How to build muscle and lose fat at the same time, you may wonder? With the right combination of exercise, nutrition, and sleep.
How do muscles grow?
When we move and expose our muscles to stress, they undergo a certain cellular change as they experience microscopic damage. This is actually a good thing, because the injured cells then release cytokines, inflammatory molecules that activate the immune system in order to repair the injury. At this point, muscle building occurs. As the tissue damage gets more severe, the body will need to repair itself more, eventually adapting to progressively greater demands, making our muscles bigger and stronger. Most everyday activities don’t produce enough stress to stimulate muscle growth, because our bodies have already adapted to them.
Hypertrophy is the process of building new muscle. When the muscle is exposed to a high-degree of tension while it’s lengthening (eccentric contraction), effective conditions for muscle growth are generated. On the other hand, muscle atrophy (muscle shrinkage) occurs when we don’t continuously expose our muscles to resistance.
Adequate protein intake provides building blocks (in the form of amino acids) for new muscle tissue, and along with naturally occurring hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and insulin, it helps the body repair and grow tissue. Without rest, hormones, and proper nutrition, the human body would never be able to repair and nourish its damaged muscle fibers. The muscles grow while the body is resting, so the resting process is most vital.
The mechanism is affected by age and gender, which is why men (who have more testosterone than women) have an advantage in their muscle building efforts. Some people are better at replacing and repairing damaged muscle fibers, due to their immune reactions that are more robust, which means that their muscle-building potential is increased faster.
Even though the process of hypertrophy is complex and not fully understood, you don’t have to be a medical expert or a scientist to build a lean physique. Muscle hypertrophy can be stimulated in 3 ways:
- Muscle damage – refers to “microtears”, or the actual damage caused to muscle fibers. The body should be provided with rest and proper nutrition, so the damage can be repaired, and eventually adapt better to the causes of damage.
- Progressive tension overload – refers to increasing tension levels in the muscles. Increasing the amount of weight you’re lifting over time is the most effective way of achieving it.
- Metabolic stress – refers to pushing your muscle fibers to their metabolic limits, causing muscular failure through the repetition of actions.
Muscle damage and progressive tension overload is emphasized by heavy weightlifting, and of the 3 muscle building pathways, progressive tension overload is the most important for muscle growth.
Your diet is one of the main keys to fitness success. If you think that you can do it without making a meal plan, you’re wrong, because you need a diet that’s high in healthy proteins, fats, and carbs. A simple diet protocol that will provide everything you need to grow, recover, sleep, and train is part dopamine diet, part ketogenic diet, and part anabolic diet. You also need motivation and willpower to stay consistent, and you can use high-protein supplements like Rapid Loss, that will supply you with the necessary nutrients, while making you feel full and reducing the need for much willpower in building muscle and losing weight.
What are the guidelines for creating the right meal plan? Ensuring we consume the right amount of protein to facilitate muscle growth; eliminating empty, white carbs; using green vegetables as a source of essential nutrients and carbohydrates, and using fat as an energy source.
Turn to simple and healthy foods, such as dairy products (milk and cheese), eggs, oats, fish, brown rice and beans, lean meat, sweet potato, dark green and leafy vegetables, and fruit. For preparing your meat and veggies, we recommend steaming, by covering them with a foil tent or using a microwave steamer.
Losing fat and building muscle doesn’t have to be deprived of enjoyment. You can do it with minimal effort, just by staying consistent and focused. Provide your body with the right foods, exercise, and rest. Your body will respond to all the demands you place on it, so if you tear your muscles up, make sure you create the conditions for them to repair, in order to make them as strong and big as possible.