The Four Pillars of Body Building
If you are looking to increase muscle mass, it is important to understand the basic ideas behind how this process works. Muscle growth can also be called hypertrophy, and is the increase in the size of the muscle cells caused by the stress that we place on our muscles.
Hypertrophy results by placing stress on the muscle, and the muscle reacts by enlarging the cellular size to cope with the increased load.
In a separate but related process known as hyperplasia, the cells will increase in number following injury to repair themselves and gain more strength. This will increase the size of the muscle along with its capacity to reduce the amount of damage that the stress imparts on the muscle.
Conversely, over time, muscle fibres will both shrink and break down if they are not being used, which will reduce the size of your muscles. This is known as muscle atrophy.
This is where exercise, food, and specifically protein come into play. Without correct nutrition, atrophy can happen even when you are working out every day. High levels of stress on the muscles will tear down muscle fibres, but without adequate nutrition your body will not be able to create adequate amino acid chains to replace these fibres. As a result, your muscles will shrink. This is why bodybuilders will maintain diets that are high in protein, and use products that promote the release of growth hormones. These diets and supplements will help the body not only maintain but also build muscle mass.
Along with working out and diet, our muscles are affected by our bodies’ natural hormonal balance. When you are looking to build large muscles, you need testosterone. However we are limited by our own genetics. Production tends to be stable in most individuals peaking in youth and declining over the years as we age. Without assistance we are going to hit a point where our muscles will not grow any larger. However you can affect the amount of hormones that your body is producing with your diet and using supplements that stimulate or replicate the affect of these hormones.