Essential Health Benefits of Exercising – How to Build Those Muscles?
Consider the following tips, and you will maximize your chances to build muscle and increase longevity.
If you are a bodybuilder and want to improve your looks, tone, strengthen, and stabilize your body, you should be careful to avoid mistakes that could cause injuries that might keep you out of the game for months. Be patient, start with the basics, and move further.
When it comes to forming improvements, muscle building is a priority for most people. However, muscles can take time and perseverance to grow in size in the right places. Gaining muscles might seem daunting, but with suitable exercise plans and a healthy diet, serious muscle construction is conceivable for people.
In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know when it comes to building muscle, including how to train and what are the key benefits of exercising.
The Key to Building Muscle
Anatomically speaking, skeletal muscles are formed by various parallel tubular fibers that contract to promote strength. The muscle tightening permits the exterior human movement to appear. Your body is in a constant process of renewing and reprocessing the amino acids in the muscles.
If your body removes more protein than it adds, muscle mass is lost. If your protein intake is even, no quantifiable change occurs in the size of your muscles. That means that the key to building muscle is to improve the rate of protein intake.
It’s a process that’s also called muscle hypertrophy, a primary goal of resistance training. Although many types of exercises promote health benefits and muscle growth, the most reliable one is to use your muscles against mild to hefty resistance.
How to Build Muscle
The following tips will increase your chances of muscle gain:
1) Train with high volume and low intensity
Volume is the number of repetitions or ‘reps’ you do. Intensity is how much weight you are lifting. Research has shown that high volume, low-intensity workouts stimulate muscle protein synthesis, letting you achieve skeletal muscle hypertrophy or muscle growth.
When sticking to the ‘high volume-low intensity’ workout routine, choosing the right weights is crucial. Any weight you choose should leave you at failure on the specified number of reps. For instance, by the last repetition of the set, you should not be able to perform another one.
How many reps should you do to build muscle? The American College of Sports Medicine recommends 4 to 6 reps with heavier weights for increased muscle size (hypertrophy). Anything more will build muscle strength (8 to 12 reps) or muscular endurance (10 to 15 reps).
2) Eat more calories than you burn
Building muscle requires a positive energy balance in your body. This means you must have more calories in your system than you burn during a workout. The excess calories are required to support protein synthesis, crucial to muscle hypertrophy.
Read food labels to know how many calories you’re already consuming. Next, add 600 to that number and start consuming that many calories per day. At the same time, take 1g of protein per kg of body weight each day, as your current protein intake might not be enough to build muscle.
This recipe should help you gain 1 pound a week. That said, give yourself a fortnight at the start for results to show up on the gym scale. If you don’t see any muscle development by then, add another 200 calories to your daily diet.
3) Be cautious with cardio
It’s true that performing too much cardio too, frequently can prevent your muscles from responding positively to strength training workouts. However, that only happens when you aren’t taking an adequate diet or doing the wrong type of cardio.
In other words, cardio won’t hinder muscle growth if you’re eating and training right. Eating right means making nutritious meals a part of your daily diet, while training right refers to preferring cardio workouts like high-intensity interval training (HIIT) over aerobic exercise training.
That is because a HIIT workout stimulates the production of growth hormone and testosterone, both of which are crucial for gaining muscle. In contrast, steady-state cardio exercises like running, hiking, and biking elicit no hormonal response conducive to hypertrophy.
4) Have a drink first
A 2001 study found that bodybuilders who drank a shake containing carbs and amino acids before exercising experienced enhanced protein synthesis (crucial for building muscle) than their counterparts who delayed drinking the shake after the workout.
Researchers conducting the study have revealed the shake’s ingredients. The drink contained 35 grams of carbohydrates and 6 grams of essential amino acids. Essential amino acids are the building blocks of protein. They are crucial to muscle building.
Make sure to finish the shake at least 30 to 40 minutes before a workout.
5) Get adequate sleep
In order to understand the impact of sleep on muscle recovery, it is crucial to understand the two main stages of sleep. They are rapid eye movement (REM) – which occurs in cycles of about 3 to 4 hours – and non-REM or deep sleep – which accounts for 40% of total sleep time.
During the non-REM sleep cycle, your muscles release protein-building amino acids into the bloodstream. These amino acids help the muscles grow stronger and bigger over time. However, it isn’t only with muscle build-up that the non-REM sleep cycle helps.
In addition to that, as your brain enters the non-REM sleep cycle, the pituitary gland starts releasing growth hormone, which is crucial for muscle repair and tissue growth. Not having adequate sleep every night can slow down growth hormone production.
Sleeping for 7 – 9 hours per night is thus a non-negotiable requirement for increasing muscle mass and repairing muscle cells.
6) Eat sufficient carbs
While it is true that you need to eat a lot of proteins to build muscle, it is also true that carbs are as essential as proteins to promote muscle growth. That is especially the case if you are looking to pick on serious muscle mass.
The main reason carbs are great for muscle growth is because they offer fuel for your workouts, letting you perform grueling exercises without tiring out and calling it a day. Aside from that, consuming carbs after a workout can help sustain muscle gains.
Carbs also replenish glycogen reserves in the muscle. Glycogen is the primary source of energy for your muscles during workouts. Without it, you would simply lack the force required in movements like squats, presses, deadlifts, along with other muscle-building workouts.
7) Choose the right training splits
A training split is a weight training program that divides workout sessions by body regions. There are three training splits – full-body, upper-/lower-body, and push/pull/legs. Depending on the muscle group you intend to target, one or more of the splits might come in handy.
Let us explain the three main training splits:
- Full-body split: A full-body training split requires you to spend no more than three days in the gym. Here’s how it’s structured: Monday (full body split), Tuesday (rest), Wednesday (full-body movement), Thursday (rest), Friday (full-body workout), Saturday and Sunday (rest).
- Upper-/lower-body split: You’ll target your upper half in one session and the lower half in the other. After two consecutive sessions, you’ll take a rest. So you’ll do an upper-body workout on Monday, lower-body exercise on Tuesday, and Wednesday will be a rest day.
- Push/pull/legs: As the name implies, you’ll be doing pushing workouts on Monday (bench press, lateral raises, etc.), pulling movements on Tuesday (pull-ups, deadlifts, rows), and legs on Wednesday (lunges and squats). Thursday will be a rest day.
8) Consider creatine supplements
Creatine supplements are a one-stop solution for all your muscle-building needs. Creatine has been proven to boost strength, increase lean muscle mass, and accelerate muscle recovery during workouts. Research shows that taking creatine can double your lean muscle gains.
Your body naturally produces about 2 grams of creatine every day. To build muscle, stick to a 20-gram daily dose of creatine for the first few weeks. After that, decrease the amount to 3- to 5-grams. This approach has been proven to deliver results.
Make sure to be aware of creatine’s side effects. Creatine supplements might cause dizziness, diarrhea, nausea, muscle cramping, and water retention. Some research has found that creatine usage may exacerbate the hair loss problem.
9) Don’t settle
If you keep targeting the same muscle group, others would be left in disrepair. Similarly, if you keep performing the same number of reps and lifting the same number of weights, your muscle fibers won’t suffer the damage and repair process needed for building bigger muscles.
At the same time, if you perform too many reputations or lift too much, you might end up causing damage, potentially leading to injury. So while your numbers should be evolving while you train, the increments should be rational so as to not risk the gains you have already achieved.
10) Set reasonable goals
The best bodies you see in the gym weren’t built overnight. It takes months if not years of dedicated effort to get in the shape others can take inspiration from. That is why it is essential to set reasonable goals and be patient if your progress isn’t as quick as you would like.
Key Health Benefits of Exercising
This is the essential factor for optimizing your health and preventing chronic disease. Several other crucial biological effects might occur when training, including changes like:
1) Increases heart rate
Your heart rate increases as you work out to supply more oxygenated blood to your muscles. the resulting improved blood circulation helps lower the risk of heart diseases, such as coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, and heart attack. [R]
2) Improves lung capacity
As muscles call for more oxygen, the breathing rate increases. Once the muscles surround the lungs, they can’t move any faster, so you’ve reached the so-called VO2 max (the maximum capacity of oxygen use). [R]
3) Strengthens joints & bones
When exercising, we can lift as much as six times our body weight. This can help you maintain healthy bone mass as you age, and it’s actually one of the best safeguards against osteoporosis. [R]
It’s worth mentioning the incredible benefits exercising has on the brain. The increased blood flow benefits your brain, allowing you to function better and helping you be more focused after a workout. Plus, exercising regularly can stimulate the birth of new brain cells. [R]
5) Helps you quit smoking
All of us know that smoking is bad for health. What we aren’t aware of is that exercise might help you quit smoking and stay away from it. New research shows that working out can reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms, while also limiting the weight gain common during smoking. [R]
6) Boosts mental health
When you work out, your body releases substances that enhance mental health and mood, making you feel more relaxed. It can help you deal with stress, reducing the risk of misery and anxiety. [R]
7) Improves sleep
Research has shown that exercise can be as effective as prescription sleep medications in helping you doze off. Experts claim that low to medium intensity workouts improves both the quality as well as the duration of sleep. [R]
8) Can help you live longer
Exercise is the key to living longer. That is because it can strengthen your bones and joints, lower blood pressure and decrease the risk of diabetes, osteoporosis, and colon cancer. Regular exercise can also keep your stress levels in check and lower your chance of heart disease. Small wonder, then, exercise is linked with longevity and aging. [R]
Final Word – How to make exercise a part of your routine?
By doing small changes. You can take the stairs instead of the elevator, for example. Park further away from your destination, walk to your boss’s office instead of sending an email, walk in the park, etc. Be active and snatch a workout today!
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