For many people, fitness goals revolve around two things: losing fat and building muscle. While most people understand how to lose fat and burn calories, building muscle may not be as simple to understand. Building muscle is more than just lifting weights and watching your muscles bulk in no time at all. For anyone who has tried to build muscle, you know it takes time and a lot of work.
To properly build muscle and get the most out of your workouts, you need to understand how muscles grow. By learning and getting a better understanding of how to properly build muscle, you will be better able to achieve your fitness goals and see more results.
At Cypress Fitness in McLean, we understand how difficult it can be to reach your fitness goal. That is why we wanted to give you more information and help you better understand muscles and how to make them grow bigger and stronger. In this blog, we are going to talk about the science behind muscles and how they grow. Read on to learn more and contact us to start a membership today!
What Are Muscles
Before we start talking about how to build muscle, we wanted to give you some more information about muscles. There are different types of muscles throughout your body, including your heart, which is cardiac muscle. The muscles you are trying to build as you lift weights are called skeletal muscle. This type of muscle is composed of myofibrils and sarcomeres, which form muscle fibers.
There are 650 skeletal muscles in the human body. These muscles receive signals from motor neurons, which causes them to contract. The better your muscles become at contracting when they receive signals from the motor neurons, the stronger you can become.
This is why some people are able to lift heavy weight, even though they do not appear to be muscular. When you begin to lift weights and muscle activation becomes easier, you will experience the most strength gains for these muscles. After the initial strength gain, you will be able to slowly build strength and muscle as it becomes easier to activate these muscles.
How Muscles Grow
An article from Built Lean talks about the physiology of muscle growth, which involves muscle damage, muscle protein, and satellite cells. We wanted to give you a quick overview of what the article states to make it easy for you to understand.
After a workout, your body uses a cellular process to fuse muscle fibers together to form new muscle protein strands, or myofibrils, which repair or replace damaged muscle fibers. This process is where muscle growth comes from.
Satellite cells are needed in order to build muscle. Satellite cells act as stem cells and add more nuclei to muscle cells, which contribute to the growth of myofibrils. The activation of these satellite cells is necessary when it comes to growing muscle. Those who have a high percentage of activation of satellite cells, have more muscle growth than those who don’t. If you have no activation of your satellite cells, you will not experience any muscle growth.
So, how do you activate the satellite cells to increase your muscle growth? Being able to continually put more and more stress on your muscles is a key component in muscle growth. The stress disrupts homeostasis in your body, which causes three mechanisms that lead to satellite cell activation and muscle growth.
To achieve muscle growth, you must put more stress on your muscles than your body was previously adapted to. This is why it is important that you slowly begin to lift more weight as your workouts progress. The added tension on the muscle causes changes in muscle chemistry, which allows for satellite cell activation and other growth factors.
Localized muscle damage is what causes you to feel sore after a workout. This damage causes immune system cells and inflammatory molecules to be released, which activates satellite cells, allowing you to grow muscle. One thing to keep in mind is that you do not have to be sore for this muscle growth to occur. Rather, damage from the workout must occur in your muscle cells.
Metabolic stress is the burning sensation in your muscles when pushing yourself during an exercise. This stress causes cell swelling around the muscle. This contributes to muscle growth without actually increasing the size of muscle cells. Metabolic stress also adds muscle glycogen, which swell the muscles along with connective tissue growth. This type of muscle growth allows for people to achieve muscles that look bigger, without improving their strength. This type of growth is known as sarcoplasmic hypertrophy.
These three mechanisms help grow your muscles and activate your satellite cells. While some people may think that it is beneficial for them to hit the gym daily and work out the same muscles, this will not help build muscle. Muscles need time to rest in order to grow. Here’s why.
Why Muscles Need Rest
Without rest, you can actually be causing your body more harm than good. When you fail to allow your body to get rest, you can actually reverse the anabolic process, which can put your body in a catabolic state, which is destructive. Strength training should not be done on the same muscle group for two days in a row, as this does not give your muscles enough time to rest and repair.
When you rest your muscles, they will have more time for the muscles to be repaired and for the new proteins to form, creating larger muscles. This is why rest is so important for your muscles and is necessary when your goal is to increase muscle mass.
There is a lot to know when it comes to muscle growth and how to properly build muscle. While you may be able to build muscle without understanding all of this information, you will be able to more effectively build muscle when you know how it all works and what actually causes muscle growth.
Hopefully, you learned something new about muscle growth and better understand how to tackle your fitness goals. If you want to build muscle, reach your fitness goals, and improve your overall health, be sure to start a membership at Cypress Fitness in McLean. Not only do we have state-of-the-art equipment that can help you achieve your goals, but we also offer group classes and personal training session that can push you closer to your goal as well! Learn more and be sure to contact us with any questions you may have about our fitness center.