A HFLC diet will give you more than enough protein to build muscle, but what exactly is protein, and how does it build muscle?
And…why do we need to know this stuff? Well, if you understand the mechanism behind muscle-building, you’ll be able to do so more safely and effectively.
You’ll know what makes your muscles tick and grow thick!
And isn’t learning about the body cool? (I’ll don my lab coat and cute horn-rimmed glasses now…)
Protein is literally the ingredient fueling muscle mass, so it will be the backbone of your muscle building workout plan.
It’s a nutrient that everyone actually already has a bunch of in their body, to the point that it makes up 15% of your body weight! To make things just a little more confusing, not all protein is created equal…
All protein is made up of amino acids, and our bodies can make most of those by itself. But the ones we can’t make ourselves and have to get from food are called essential amino acids. You can get those from eating meat, but also from quinoa or chia seeds! Try to obtain your protein from sources that contain the essential acids.
So now that we know what type of nutrient protein is and how to get only the best, how does it help muscle growth?
Every time you work out, your body is actually a little “damaged” but in the best way possible. Your body gets straight to work repairing damaged muscle fibers by taping them together with stronger protein strands.
Yep, after you’re done exercising, your muscles start on the hard work of replacing damaged muscle fibers with thicker, better fibers. It’s only when your workout is done that the second phase of the muscle building workout plan actually begins!
Some people build muscle faster than others just due to genetics. There are helper cells that take protein to the muscle fibers, and for some people those cells are more active than for others. Whether you’re a natural muscle gainer or your body has a little more difficulty activating those cells, there are certain exercises you can do that are more guaranteed to activate them:
Squats, deadlifts, curls, bench presses, butterflies, hanging leg raises — these are just some of the great exercises to target key muscle groups.
(But remember, there are also a lot of misconceptions out there about muscle groups, and sometimes people overcomplicate things!)
If you’re not familiar with these exercises, a great way to introduce yourself to the basics is by joining a local circuit training program, or by taking advantage of Beachbody coaches!
BOD coaches can give you the rundown on the equipment you’ll need, and show you all the strength training and cardio exercises you’d ever want to know!
Plus, with a coach’s help, you’ll know you’re using proper form so you don’t hurt yourself.
Plus, it’s cheaper than getting a personal trainer, and less time-intensive than teaching yourself.
These exercises may sound a little scary to those of you just getting started, so I also put together a list of super-easy everyday workouts, too!
If you lift heavier weights over time, the tension and contraction encourages your muscles to change their chemistry in order to keep up. Also, if you’re getting sore, that’s a good sign! It means that your muscles have endured temporary damage, which causes the helper cells to get woken up by inflammatory molecules that are almost like alarm clocks saying, hey, we need your help over here!
However, rest is also an important part of your muscle building workout plan.
If you try to overwork, your body gets thrown into what’s called a “catabolic state,” where it panics and doesn’t think it should expend the protein needed to grow new muscle. Train hard, but remember that your muscles need a sec (i.e. 24 – 48 hours) to catch up to your fit new lifestyle.
Soon enough, all your hard work will start to reflect on the outside!