If you set a goal only to lose weight, then as a result you can get something completely different from what you imagined in your dreams of a beautiful body. In addition to getting rid of excess fat, it is also necessary to build muscle, which will create those very beautiful forms.
But it often happens that all efforts do not lead to the desired result: the muscles do not grow. Why this can happen, MedAboutMe will tell.
What hinders muscle building?
In men, this process is easier for the simple reason that the growth of muscle mass depends on the level of testosterone, and it is much less in women. Therefore, the representatives of the beautiful half of humanity will have to spend twice as much time and effort on building muscle. But this is only one, and the most natural reason.
There are others: the wrong choice of exercises and loads, improper nutrition. This is something that is easy enough to fix.
It will be more difficult if there are certain diseases, and some features of the body, due to genetics, can generally put an end to the dream of relief muscles.
Let’s look at all this in more detail.
Genetics: red and white
From the school anatomy course, everyone knows that muscles are made up of fibers. But not everyone knows that fibers are different:
- red, “short action” — quickly get tired and take a long time to recover;
- white, “long-playing” — on the contrary, they get tired more slowly, and recover faster.
Muscular relief can only be obtained by building up red fibers. But the ratio of different types of fibers in the muscles is due to genetics. And if from birth white fibers in the muscles predominate, then with the build-up of muscle mass, difficulties will inevitably arise, sometimes insurmountable. But for those who naturally have more red fibers, it will be incomparably easier to achieve success in bodybuilding. But those to whom nature has measured more white fibers will be able to achieve much greater success in sports that require endurance.
To find out the structural features of the muscles, you can take a genetic test, which will help determine a further strategy. The main thing is not to give up the idea of making your body healthy and beautiful.
Hormones also interfere with women’s muscle building. Especially after 35 years, when the metabolic rate decreases, and adipose tissue is formed faster than before, replacing the lack of muscle. Finding the right path and developing a competent and effective training plan on your own is very difficult, and it is better to resort to the help of specialists than to waste efforts fruitlessly day after day.
Disorders in the work of the endocrine system
The thyroid gland produces hormones that affect many processes in the body, including protein metabolism. Dysfunction of this important organ may be associated with autoimmune diseases. It will not work to understand all the intricacies without the participation of a doctor, so you should not delay making an appointment with an endocrinologist if swelling, loss of strength, chilliness appear. Autoimmune processes in the thyroid gland are often also associated with gynecological problems: inflammation, cysts, and the formation of fibroids.
Wrong choice of training
Aerobics and step are very popular in fitness clubs, but even constant and intense exercises will not help build muscle. Because predominantly white fibers are involved, and they give endurance. The volume may also appear, but not for long: there were just missed classes, and everything will disappear. To build muscle with a predominance of red fibers, you need to devote more time not to group programs, but to strength training and Pilates.
Some believe that cardio interferes with muscle building. This is not entirely true. Cardio does not prevent muscle growth, but visually it may seem so due to a decrease in overall volume. And the volume is reduced due to fat burning.
For best results, do 3–4 workouts per week with high-intensity strength training, and the rest of the time with cardio, aerobics, and other group programs.
Wrong choice of weight in strength training
Here it is necessary to understand how red muscle fibers work and why they begin to grow.
If the muscle can handle the average weight of a dumbbell without using all its capabilities, the mass will not increase. Why, if there are already enough resources? To start the construction of new muscle fibers, the muscles must work with maximum load, on the verge of their capabilities. Then the body will receive a signal that “resources are scarce, it needs to be added,” and new fibers will begin to grow, increasing muscle mass.
Therefore, multiple repetitions of an exercise with an average weight do not give an effect, and several repetitions with a maximum weight do. But here, too, it is important to keep the momentum: the weight must constantly increase so that the process of muscle building does not stop.
Strength training will also help you burn fat effectively. And for those who have problems with high blood sugar levels due to type II diabetes, you should remember: glucose is also burned during strength training.
Even if you want to lose weight, with intense training, you need to provide the body with a balanced diet. Not only enough food, but all the necessary components: proteins, carbohydrates, fats. With three workouts per week, up to 1800 kcal can be added to the diet, and if there is an intention to build muscle mass, then another 10 to 25% of calories must be added to the daily diet, depending on the number of workouts.
It is very important to correctly compose a diet, in compliance with the balance of the most important nutrients. Increasing the amount of protein while reducing carbohydrates interferes with the growth of muscle fibers.
A much better effect can be obtained by leaving 10% fat, 45–50% carbohydrates and no more than 30% protein in the diet. Moreover, such an amount of protein is permissible only during the period of training of the greatest intensity. At high loads, you can increase the proportion of carbohydrates by 10–15%.
“Fast” carbohydrates are best consumed in the morning and afternoon, “slow” — 2 hours before training, and after it, it would be best to eat protein foods in combination with vegetables.
As for the protein shake, it can be consumed after training once a day. One serving of a protein shake is equal to 150 g of meat in terms of protein content.
Rudy Mauer, sports nutritionist and trainer
To achieve your goal, you must make a clear plan. Otherwise, you risk losing due to unsystematic training. The plan should include everything from nutrition to training schedules.
It is necessary to provide an increase in the load. Progressive overload is a major factor in increasing muscle size and strength. Programmed into your plan are times when you increase one of three variables: weight, reps, or sets.
It is also necessary to change the exercises, because the body gets used to the same movements and stops responding to them with an increase in muscle mass.
Layne Goodwin, bodybuilder, author of fitness and bodybuilding books
Very often, you cannot achieve muscle growth simply because you do not give them time to recover and grow. There should be breaks of a day or two between intense workouts. Also, work on different muscle groups.
It is also important to do the exercises correctly. Because you can repeat them as much as you like, but if you do it wrong, there will be no sense.
You need to drink enough water. If the body does not have enough moisture, the muscles will not be able to use the protein that you eat with food for their growth.
And the last thing: you should sleep at least 7–8 hours. If you don’t get enough sleep, muscle growth will either be slow or not at all.