Maximizing Muscle Hypertrophy (growth!)
I am so excited that muscle growth is becoming such a popular goal. Girls are now choosing to train for overall strength and to build muscle, which is AMAZING. This not only helps with body composition and improved total body strength inside and outside of the gym, but it boosts confidence, improves cognitive function, joint health, helps you feel more comfortable and empowered in your body.
But let's get down to the 411. Growing muscle and body recomposition is a difficult process. It requires a lot of patience and commitment. But, like any health and fitness goal, the process becomes a lot easier when you stop standing in your own way, learn to embrace the process and learn how to make necessary changes to your lifestyle and habits. So my top muscle building tips are below.
• Give yourself time, building muscle is not a quick process. It takes time, body recomposition is a slow process. Try not to quit as soon as you feel uncomfortable, that is where the growth happens! Find a program you enjoy, apply the principal of progressive overload and remain consistent. Persistence in training and diet is essential.
• To build muscle, we need fuel! If you’re spending most of your time in a deficit, you are not creating an optimal environment in your body for muscle growth. Spend time at maintenance or in a small surplus, and remember, you need to eat to grow! You can think about keeping your surplus conservative, around 5-15% extra on top of your maintenance. Focus on feeding your body with whole nutrient dense foods: carbs, fats, proteins as well as micronutrients. Ensure you are getting them all. You want to continue to nourish your body well. Protein is made up of many different amino acids which are the building blocks of our muscles, organs, bones, hair, enzymes, and pretty much all of the tissues in your body. And don't fear carbs! Carbohydrates often get a bad rap, but they are critical and the most accessible sources of energy for your body’s systems. Fats are very important to normal body functions, acting as the backbone to hormones, insulation for nerves, even skin and hair health.
• Train with a purpose, train hard. Effective hypertrophy-oriented training should comprise a combination of mechanical tension and metabolic stress. You need to ensure you are giving your body a reason to grow some muscle with sufficient training stimulus. Growing muscle happens as an adaptation to stress placed on your muscles, which means you need to be providing your body with sufficient stimulus to grow. If your body isn’t challenged, it won’t change. Always striving for progressive overload, which comes in many forms. Click here to read about progressive overload.
• Prioritize sleep. This is a BIG one. When our bodies are at rest that is when they repair, rebuild, recovery and get better. We want to help build the ultimate anabolic environment for our body, which means plenty of sleep.
• Focus on recovery. Make sure you are giving your body time to recover and build that extra muscle. When we train our bodies are breaking down, when we recovery they build back up and get stronger.
• Focus on performance. Instead of focusing on the scale or how you look, choose performance based goals instead. Time to hit some new PB’s gf!
• Embrace the changes in your body. Our bodies are constantly supporting us, so show it some love back!
(sources: PUBMED, ACSM)