1. Train Hard
Train hard and more than 3 times a week if you can. Train until your extremities shake like spaghetti. Then take the necessary rest to recover from muscle soreness and let your body rejuvenate. It’s well known between athletes who aim to increase their muscle size that time under tension “TUT” is a required part of building muscle. This stressful time ensures that the muscles are obtaining enough of the stimulant needed to spur changes in size. In fact, putting your muscles under longer bouts of strain can cause extensive muscle breakdown which consequently leads to larger bulk. This unusual mechanism of building muscle has a strong biological basis. As noted in multiple studies, the total free intracellular amino acid concentration is elevated immediately after exercise., This breakdown is balanced by a subsequent stimulation of muscle protein synthesis in recovery where amino acid uptake by the muscle is increased (1). This fact brings me to our second important tip for lean muscle building:
2. Protein Timing
“Protein is one of the preferred nutrients of athletes because of its ability to stimulate muscle protein synthesis”, Dr. Christine Rosenbloom declared, professor of nutrition at Georgia State University. She has over 20 years of experience as a sports dietitian and has answered an important question about protein timing, which appears to be the most critical factor in achieving positive training goals for athletes. Dr. Rosenbloom emphasized the importance of the period immediately after exercise for consuming protein and how this is related to building muscle and muscle recovery.
This advice makes sense as protein ingestion is vital to replenishing broken protein from muscle break down (2).
One of the multiple studies that confirms this line of thinking was conducted at The Institute of Sports Medicine in Copenhagen. Researchers there designed a study to investigate the rates of protein synthesis in the human patella tendon and quadricep muscles after exercise when infusion of amino acids takes place. The results showed that the fractional synthetic rates of all proteins were elevated post-exercise while collagen synthesis in muscle increased by ~ 3.5 folds. This is one of the major proteins synthesized biologically in tendons and muscles post-workout.
Skeletal muscle protein is made from myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins (the bulk/mass of a muscle) and collagen protein that constitute the connective tissue (the skeleton of a muscle) which is considered to be “the most abundant protein in mammals.”
Critics afirmed the results commenting that any increases in the mass of muscle fibers can only be fully functional if there were remodeling of the connective tissue surrounding them, as well as of the tendon connecting the muscle to bone (3).
Too much can be as bad as too little when it comes to any exercise. The recovery process is a very serious part of any fitness program and in particular when it comes to bodybuilding.
"There will be times when a body part lags behind because you are overtraining it, hitting it so hard, so often, and so intensely that it never has a chance to rest, recuperate, and grow." Arnolds Schwarzenegger states, one of the greatest bodybuilders of all time. A crucial rest period involves a decline in strength and muscle mass. One of the best-recommended strategies to minimize this loss is to have a well-balanced diet rich in protein.
Inadequate protein ingestion will hinder wound-healing and increase inflammation to potentially harmful levels. In fact, the healing process is heavily reliant on collagen synthesis and other proteins so getting enough protein is a must (4).