You know that exercise and diet can affect the development of your muscles, but do you know why? There is a scientific reason why your muscles grow the way they do, and knowing how it works can help you in the muscle building process. Here’s a complete and thorough breakdown on the scientific reason for muscle growth, the ways in which you can get more out of the process, and some tips for integrating new techniques into your daily exercise routine.
Making Use of Trauma
Believe it or not, an intense workout is actually causing trauma to your muscles, but it is doing so in a way that is helpful to your body. Muscle building exercises cause trauma to the muscle fiber, which your body reads as an injury in the area. The body responds by putting more resources into the building of supporting muscle fibers and the creation of satellite cells. These satellite cells replicate themselves through division. That means that the more trauma they detect, the more they replicate in order to counter the trauma. The real different between building muscles and taking damage is that you exercise in a controlled way, creating enough trauma to stimulate growth but not doing long-term damage.
Hormones and Growth Factors
How do the satellite cells know to start the muscle building process? They get the message based on certain hormones released by your body. These hormones or hormone-like chemicals are also known as growth factors. Some of the main growth factors include Hepatocyte growth factor, or HGF, and Fibroblast growth factor, or FGF. These factors combine with glucose, which is a kind of sugar found in your blood, to provide the satellite cells with the fuel they need in order to create new muscle fibers. Some supplements and treatments add HGF or FGF to your body, but most just focus on stimulating the creation of more of these growth factors.
Building versus Breaking
When it comes to muscle building on a scientific scale, it’s essentially a constant battle between muscle growth and muscle decomposition. When you exercise, some muscle fibers become damaged and useless. At the same time, if you are receiving the proper amount of nutrition, the growth factors around your muscle will stimulate the growth of new tissue. This means that eating the right foods becomes extremely important, since without enough carbs, proteins, and healthy fats your muscles won’t be able to replenish what they lose. Stretching is also important before and after exercise, as it can help reduce the amount of muscle fiber that becomes damaged as a result of your workout.
Ultimately, the workout process is essentially a matter of building versus losing. The more you focus on maintaining a healthy diet, stretching routine, and intensive workout habits, the better-equipped you will be to develop your muscles. Knowing how this all happens on a scientific level is a great step to making sure that you are aware of exactly how to bulk yourself up in a reasonable way.