How Muscles Grow:
There are hundreds of muscles spread throughout our bodies, but they are all made up of 2 types of muscle fibres, slow and fast twitch fibres.
1. Slow twitch fibres (Type 1) are packed with capillaries to supply them with oxygen and are mainly used in aerobic, endurance activities like long distance running.
2. Fast twitch fibres (type 2) are the ones that convert the stored glycogen into glucose, which is what the muscles uses to fuel explosive, powerful movements for things like heavy lifting.
Because fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create fuel, they are better at generating short bursts of strength or speed than slow muscles. However, they fatigue more quickly. Fast twitch fibres generally produce the same amount of force per contraction as slow muscles, but they get their name because they are able to fire more rapidly. Having more fast twitch fibers can be an asset to a sprinter since she needs to quickly generate a lot of force.
Type IIa Fibres
These fast twitch muscle fibers are also known as intermediate fast-twitch fibers. They can use both aerobic and anaerobic metabolism almost equally to create energy. In this way, they are a combination of Type I and Type II muscle fibers.
Type IIb Fibres
These fast twitch fibers use anaerobic metabolism to create energy and are the “classic” fast twitch muscle fibers that excel at producing quick, powerful bursts of speed. This muscle fiber has the highest rate of contraction (rapid-firing) of all the muscle fiber types, but it also has a faster rate of fatigue and can’t last as long before it needs rest.
The number of fast and slow – twitch muscle fibres you have is not something you can change or enhance, this is why you find that some people can put on muscle faster or easier than another person. It doesn’t matter how much of each type of muscles fibres you have, because at the end of the day you CAN still build muscle.
In order for muscle to grow, you need to first make sure that you put them under the right amount of stress, this will create tiny microscopic tears in the muscle fibres which will repair and cause the muscles to grow. This is backed up with the right amount of rest and nutrition and the fibres will repair themselves to be bigger and stronger this process is called: “Hypertrophy“.
EATING FOR MUSCLE:
- EAT AFTER YOU WORKOUT: Weight training can seriously deplete and fatigue your body’s energy supplies, so you need to make sure you give your body the right type of fast acting carbs inside you along with good quality protein based food which will aid the muscle repair. Your body also responds a great deal to foods you eat straight after a workout so try eating a healthy snack like a banana and peanut butter sandwich (yes i said a banana and peanut butter sandwich lol) or maybe a cream cheese and tomato bagel at least 30mins after a session.
- HAVE A PROTEIN SNACK BEFORE BED: Try eating protein based snack if you’re peckish before bed like some cottage cheese or maybe some low-fat yoghurt instead of a slice of left over pizza or packet of crisps that we can be fond of. The protein based snacks are full of ‘slow acting proteins‘ which help regeneration of your muscles as you sleep.
- ALWAYS HAVE BREAKFAST!! Skipping breakfast is a No U.S. Study shows that people who ate breakfast were less likely to be overweight than those who skipped a meal. A good breakfast is one based around complex carbohydrates and protein, which helps cut the cravings for sweet or starchy food and its a good way to give your metabolism a boost. Good breakfast foods can be: Porridge, whole grain cereals, eggs on wholemeal toast and fruit foods like this help the body to stop storing fats and helps give you long last energy.
- EAT SMALL AND EAT OFTEN: The most proven and effective way to sustain even energy levels across your day is to spread out your meals and calories. This can be done over 5 to 6 small meals instead of 3 large set meals. Eating small meals help keep your metabolism burning constantly and keeps your blood sugars nice and stable, plus eating regularly helps to prevent dreaded fat storage, keeps hunger pangs at bay and provides better support for muscle recovery!
- CUT DOWN ON THE ALCOHOL: The phrase “Beer Belly” is not just a phrase its a fact. The average pint of lager has 200 ’empty’ calories and empty calories mean they have no use for inside the body and are usually stored as fat causing drink induced ‘Love handles‘ so if you’re serious about loosing fat and replacing it with muscle than loose the sessions in the pub or keep it to a minimum.
- EAT PLENTY OF FRUIT AND VEG: Your body needs to be stocked with the much-needed vitamins and minerals to keep your energy levels up and boost immune system. Fruits and veg are also really filling because of the high volumes of water they contain so you end up filling with fewer calories and absorb more fat-absorbing fibres.
- TREAT YOURSELF: Once you got a grasp or mastered your eating with the nutritionally balanced meals and you got your exercises on ‘lock-down’ you can then start to introduce some treat foods now and then, you just gotta make sure you have nice healthy treats and then plan your CHEAT meals so you can eat whatever you like and enjoy it by allowing yourself the odd pizza or bowl of ice cream thus helping you to satisfy your cravings without sacrificing your hard work.