Make the changes you need to so your muscles can grow
Putting on size, and more specifically muscle, is an exciting process. It allows you to witness your body changing and be in control of that process. However, it isn’t always smooth sailing; sometimes the results don’t seem to come no matter how patient we are. The fact of the matter is that it takes much more than going to the gym to achieve muscle growth. Not to worry, you’re not alone. Stagnant muscle growth is a challenge faced by many people the world over. From hitting your protein intake to tweaking your workout regime, take note of these common mistakes and ensure you’re not making them too.
Our muscles are made of protein and in order to grow them, we need to supply our bodies with the adequate amount of protein for the amount of activity we carry out. This will boost protein synthesis and reduce muscle breakdown. Jim Stoppani recommends a diet that provides roughly 2-3 grams of protein per kg of your weight. If you’re struggling to consume that much protein regularly then you might want to consider one of our quality protein powders, which are a cost-effective and proven way to consume more protein. What’s more, the protein is fast absorbing so will help your body grow the muscle you want.
If you love cardio it might just be killing your ability to pack on muscle. According to Jacob Wilson, the longer you do cardio, the more muscle you will lose. We’re not recommending you stop it altogether but rather moderate the amount you do. A great alternative to standard forms of cardio is HIIT (high intensity interval training) which has been proven to be an effective means of burning fat.
We covered TUT (time under tension) in a previous blog and as Jacob Wilson explains, if you’re bent on building quality muscle that is as strong as it looks then you need to increase tension. This will engage larger muscle fibres and spearhead your muscle growth. When lifting heavy, you need to take longer breaks in between sets as this allows you to recover just enough to lift heavy. Lifting heavy recruits fast-twitch muscle fibres that in turn activate protein synthesis and ultimately help you grow.
The key to making substantial progress towards your muscle growth goals is to remain consistent. This means you have to consistently push yourself in the gym, consistently eat the right foods, and consistently get enough rest.
The mistake many people make is taking for granted just how much the skipped gym days, relaxed training sessions, or junk food binges really set them back. If you’re not making the gains you hoped for, it might be time to really take into consideration how consistent you are.
If you love hitting the gym then rest days can leave you feeling a bit lost and bored. However, just as you have to persevere through your tough training sessions, you also have to endure rest days. What’s more, you need to ensure you’re getting your 40 winks each night. When you get the recommended hours of sleep a host of essential bodily processes take place, which contribute to your muscle growth (Datillo et al, 2011) including:
- Moderating feeding behaviour
- Glucose regulation
- Blood pressure moderation
- Hormonal balance
- Protein synthesis
They further discovered that sleep deprivation decreases the activity of protein synthesis pathways and increases the activity of degradation pathways, favouring the loss of muscle mass and thus hindering muscle recovery.
Dattilo M. et al, Sleep and muscle recovery: endocrinological and molecular basis for a new and promising hypothesis, Med Hypotheses. 2011 Aug;77(2):220-2.
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