Muscles, we’ve got over 600 of them. They make up roughly half a person’s body weight. They move us and make us capable of performing a variety of actions. There are 3 types of muscular systems. Cardiac, smooth and skeletal. Cardiac is the heart muscle. Smooth muscles, also known as Visceral muscles, are found inside of organs like stomach and intestine. Skeletal muscles are connected to the skeletal and allow for movement of limbs and other parts of the body.
When you engage in resistance training you are primarily training your skeletal muscles. Skeletal muscles are the only voluntary muscle tissue in the human body which means they are controlled consciously. And as such, you can influence its growth.
Our bodies have become accustomed to most daily activities. Just going through the physical demands of your daily life won’t induce enough stress to cause muscle growth. You must also expose your body to additional external stress, such as resistance training, to stimulate new muscle growth. This process is known as hypertrophy.
With resistance training, you create stress on your muscles causing them to undergo microscopic tears. In response, the injured cells release signaling molecules called cytokines. Cytokines signal damage to the immune system which in turn works to repair and replace the injured cells. The greater the damage you cause to muscle tissues the more the body will work to repair itself. This cycle of damage and repair is what causes muscular growth.
Proper nutrition, gender, hormones, genetics, age and rest all play crucial roles in muscle repair and growth process. Young men with more testosterone have a clear advantage. And some people just seem to have a better muscle building-mechanism as their bodies are better able to repair and replace damaged muscle fibers.
You also need a proper diet rich in Protein. The major role of protein is to build and repair body tissues. Amino acids found in protein provide the building blocks for new tissue. For muscle growth, you should increase your protein intake to between 1-2 grams per kilogram of body-weight depending on your exercise program. Active people also need to consume enough carbohydrates. All exercise require carbs to some degree. The higher the intensity of exercise the greater the reliance on carbs. And when carb intake is insufficient, your body will burn protein as energy. If your body is using protein for energy, you are either not eating enough carbs, dieting or over-training.
Most of the repair process takes place while you rest. Especially at night when sleeping. How much sleep is adequate – it’s debatable. But there is one thing for sure you need plenty of it!
Remember that it’s the cycle of damage and repair that makes muscles grow bigger and stronger. So train hard, feed your body the right nutrition and give it plenty of rest and sleep to recover.