It all started when I was a kid and my parents when through a bad divorce, there was always yelling, fighting, and such negativity filling the house. Some nights I couldn’t even sleep because I was always thinking about the situation and feeling like I should’ve done something to keep us together as a family. Things weren’t getting better until I started getting in to working out, which gave me the structure I needed to get my mind back on track and relieve some of the stress I was going through. Even today it helps me with a lot of my problems. In the gym, you are in the zone, nothing else matters. You are there to make your body better and focus on yourself, working out for me is a happy place and a lifestyle.
Pre-knowledge / What I want to know
Going in to working out I didn’t know much, but after talking to the bigger guys in the gym, watching closely to their movements and workout plans I was starting to gain more and more knowledge about how different workouts affected the body, learning that lower weight, higher reps is toning and more weight, lower reps equals mass. But those were the basics. Through this research I want to learn the best types of movements with what amount of weight creates the most mass gain. And really getting to the science behind working out and how it changes your body, rather than just throwing up big pieces of metal hoping for the best.
In the fitness industry, Information is quickly spread through media to the masses constantly and on a daily basis. Much of this information though, is useless and will not increase the rate of muscle growth and development. Many of the icons and celebrities of the industry preach that their own techniques, routines, and methods are the best. Whether their methods are higher or lower volume/intensity, use of supplements, or the techniques in which they lift depending on rep. variations with speed and exercises. Many of these that they preach are ineffective, which is the reason I am writing this to distinguish which are the truth and result in the most gains.
I want to start off with pointing out that in order to find the gains that you want, you need to be educated, not just pick up the weight and start doing what u see others doing in the gym. That’s the biggest problem with beginner lifters and all their confusion, they don’t have a complete understanding of the basic fundamentals. Muscle Growth comes from a specific stimuli Called “Hypertrophy” which is the enlargement of a muscle from the increase in size of its cells. The mechanisms of Muscular Hypertrophy and their application to resistance training is very important, it’s broken down in to 3 different parts. The first one is “Mechanical tension”, which is achieved by using a substantial amount of weight and performing exercises through a full range of motion for a certain amount of time. The longer the time, the more significant the mechanical tension. The second one is “Metabolic stress” which is that pump you achieve after a hard session in the gym where you can’t even bend your muscles because they’re so stiff. People call this “Engorged Muscles” what’s actually happening is you’ve built up lactate, hydrogen ions, creatinine, and other metabolites while also trapping blood in this area, so through this process the muscle signals adaptation leading to Muscle Growth. And the last mechanism is “Muscular Damage” this is the time when you’re super sore, and it normally happens the day after you trained that muscle. This is a good thing though, despite the pain this shows you have ripped the muscle fibers which is the goal because now the muscle is screaming to the body saying it needs to be fixed, and once repaired it grows back bigger resulting in giving you gains.
Another big topic I want to talk about when trying to gain mass and see muscle growth is whether you should do fast reps or slower reps? Personally I was lost about the real answer to this for a while but I believe I have come to a conclusion. Through research I have found that fast reps make you stronger but that doesn’t come with size. It’s more of a way of making what you have stronger and more dense. But slower controlled reps really get you feeling that tension on the muscle you’re working out and sets off that Mechanical Tension mechanism that we talked about which generates the signals to produce more muscle. So the big answer here is at whatever weight or speed you choose to do make sure you are controlling the weight 100% of the time to keep that tension. And the biggest part people forget about during a workout are the negatives, which are on the way down because that’s when most people want gravity to do all the work and give their arms a rest. But no, keep control and resist the weight as you make your way down and you will feel the tension burning which is going to produce the most results.
Another thing to understand are the types of fibers that you will be targeting and trying to break so you can get the most gains. Muscles consist of two main fibers: Type I, and type II. These fibers, sometimes called fast and slow twitch muscle fibers give the response of your muscle when activated. Type I muscle fibers (slow twitch) are responsible for high endurance exercises, for example running a marathon. Type II (Fast Twitch) are responsible for the more explosive and short muscle movements and contractions which are generally used in bodybuilding. Type II fibers are the fibers which cause strength and size which is the reason exercises used by bodybuilders generally target these. For Maximum Hypertrophy, you should always try to find a balance between volume and intensity. A way to do this which is commonly used by experienced bodybuilders is beginning a workout with heavy weight and low repetitions on their compound movements like pull-ups, bench press, deadlifts etc. Than later moving in to isolated movements doing high volume repetitions that solely target a single muscle or muscle group.
Now we need to talk about supplements because a big part of seeing gains is not only in the gym it’s also what you put in your body to help you see results quicker and more efficiently. Yes, diet is super important but not as much if your trying to bulk, the food aspect for bulking and muscle gain is as simple as this saying “if you want to be a beast, eat like a beast” so everything you see just stay away from bad sugars and fatty stuff. But the supplements you take can be a huge boost for you and it’s not cheating like steroids, it’s just replenishing and repairing your muscles with the right nutrients that they need that you can’t get from normal foods in order to recover quicker and get back in the gym ready to rip more fibers. There are many types of supplements circulating through the fitness industry and community. Many people have a problem trying to distinguish which ones work the best, because some are so low on actual protein and just filled with all kinds stuff with huge names that make it seem important. If your trying to cut you need to find pure lean protein that has some fat burner in or something, But if you’re trying to bulk like me you need to find one with pure protein that also has lots of clean calories and carbs in it so you can put some weight on and began to cut one day. Whether it be losing weight, maintaining, or gaining muscle mass protein makes the body capable of doing this in an easier and quicker fashion. The most popular protein supplement is whey because it’s used by people on all sides of the fitness spectrum. Whey protein is recommended to be taken directly after a workout and followed by a high protein meal within an hour later. The reason Whey is intended to be taken directly after workout is because it is broken down and used by the body faster than any other protein source. When you create the tears in the fibers of the muscle, the body sends cells called Satellite cells attached to the amino acids to fill these tears and recover the muscle so you can grow bigger. Without you supplementing the protein, these amino acids would be taken from your muscles to repair these tears causing more muscle to be broken down, protein provides the amino acids necessary to rebuild the broken fibers without taking it from your own muscle, accelerating this process by 33 percent.
So I think I have covered most of the popular questions and confusion on the basics of the best way to work out and get muscle growth, but I wanted to talk about the last huge part that you are going to need to conquer to get to where you want to be. And that is the mental and physiological aspect of lifting. You can go in to working out comparing your body to others who are way ahead of you and some people have just pure genetics for big bodies, so my advice to you that I follow, is we are all on this journey to get to our goal that we think looks really good but were all on different paths so you need to focus on yourself and your journey. I will tell you right now working out is a long process but after you have done it a few years it becomes more than just something you do to look good it’s a passion and lifestyle that requires years and years of repetition, but when you break it down and take it day by day repeating it, enjoying it, you WILL see results and that’s the best feeling to see the gains you have EARNED through hard work, sweat, and pain. The quote I use to get through all this is “I can do all thing through Christ who strengthens me” Philippians 4:13 So if you want it, go get it. I have learned a lot through my research, I can now say with confidence I know the science behind working out and I am ready to go perfect on it at the gym.