What is Muscle Growth?
Muscle growth (hypertrophy) is where muscles become larger and stronger. By eating a lot, training hard, and getting lots of recovery, you will put on muscle. By not eating well, being lazy, and being stressed out, you won’t put on muscle.
Why Muscle Growth is Important
Aside from looking better, you will lead a more healthy and fit life. By increasing muscle mass, your body at rest is more active and handles nutrients better. For instance, people who are more muscular (especially if you have low body fat) can handle blood sugar levels better and prevent Type 2 Diabetes.
What You Should Know
- Muscles Respond to Demands: Use it or you lose it! Ask your muscles to lift loads, they will respond by getting stronger. Ask your muscles to sit on the couch all the time, they will respond by getting weaker.
- Muscles Respond to Calories: Restrict calories and you risk losing muscles and slowing down your metabolism. Sometimes people who eat fewer calories and do not exercise might end up with more fat. Eat well and exercise!
- Muscles Respond to Protein: After exercising, your muscle proteins breakdown. If you want to build muscle, eat more protein to overcome the muscle breakdown.
Recommendations. Muscle growth seems to occur best when training with relatively higher volumes, close to muscle burnout, and with shorter rest periods between sets/reps. Thus:
- When training, 6-12 reps per set is the optimal range for muscle growth
- Train towards rep failure
- Take relatively short rest periods (30-90 seconds)
- Start with 5 sets, and work your way up to more sets per muscle group
- Be consistent with your training program
- Eat enough carbs, fats, and proteins
- Sleep 7-9 hours per night
Resources: Precision Nutrition
Special Thanks: Derek Chang graduated with a Bachelors degree in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Utah. Go Utes! He was born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah. He aspires to become a physician-entrepreneur to find and create new ways of improving overall patient health. He enjoys skiing, hiking, camping, reading books, meeting new people, and learning anything new.