What it Really Means to Build Muscle.

Written by: Diana Del Garbino, CEO of Muscles in Motion.

Now that we’ve all been back to the gym, how’s it going?

Do you feel your muscles coming back?

Do you feel your strength and endurance coming back? I sure do.

Where I wasn’t able to squat down and get back up just using my legs only, I can do that now. My endurance is slowly gaining momentum, and I’m able to walk 8500 steps and not feel like I have to sleep immediately afterwards. I can see my shoulder muscles again!! 

Let’s get back to the science of what’s happening now.

There are so many terms that it makes it really confusing as to what exactly it is that you are doing when you are working out in the gym. Let’s break it down, you’ll get that joke in a moment.

Muscular hypertrophy is the building of muscle, and no matter if you want to call it “tone” “lengthening” or “strength training”, it’s all doing one thing, BREAKING DOWN THE MUSCLE FIBERS and then proteins repair the minuscule tears. (Get it?) Therefore building more muscle.

We all have certain genetics that allow for larger or smaller muscles by size-

  • Women generally have less amounts of the hormone testosterone therefore smaller muscles.
  • Men generally have a much greater amount of testosterone therefore having larger and stronger muscles.

There will always be outliers who could have more or less of the hormones or size, depending on their genetic makeup. 

But what about “bulky” muscles?

Ideally, we should have 10-20% body fat and be able to see our muscles underneath. However, with fast food, high sugars, and eating too much, we usually just have more fat content in our bodies.

Example: If someone who has 30-40% body fat (this is very common) begins to workout but continues to eat the same poor diet, they won’t see an immediate shrinkage in their arms or legs. Instead, they will see the muscle increase in density therefore making the appearance of the subcutaneous fat (just under the skin and on top of the muscle) appear to be bulkier.

But why? Take a down pillow and put it on top of another down pillow and press it down in the center. It will just squish all the way to the bottom of the lower pillow. That’s fat without muscle underneath. Now, place a piece of wood in between those two pillows and push the top pillow down. It will stop and appear to be “bulkier” than before. But it’s not, it’s just that you now have a dense layer of muscle underneath which gives the fat something to sit on and which it can’t press through. 

Why is this even important? Think of fat as “Inactive” tissue. Fat is sitting around in your garage adding to itself each time you eat too much. It just waits for you to be absolutely starving on an island for days before you can use it. On the other hand muscle tissue is “Active” tissue. Tissue that takes calories, helps you lift, lower, squat, jump, pull, push, turn, twist, play, hike, walk, jog, run….well you get the idea.

Muscle is a storage for energy. The more area to store energy (more muscles) the more energy you have to use up each day! Seems like a really great plan. Now that you know why muscle hypertrophy is so great, keep working out, moving slowly, and making small incremental gains to your weight training program.

Not sure how to start, get a Professional Personal Trainer to help you out. I might know of some really great ones!