Regardless of your goal, the importance of muscle mass is extremely well documented.
I'll start this post by explaining reasons you may be interested in increasing muscle mass, covering topics of aesthetics, strength, injury preventions and nutrition.
The primary reason the majority of people get into training is simply to do with they way they look. The reasons behind this are largely irrelevant if the desired outcome (looking better naked) is the end goal. Some will do it for confidence, some will do it because they believe it's what the opposite sex want to see, some will do it simply for themselves, but they're all driven by the aesthetic factor of muscle hypertrophy (Building muscle). Often this ties in with a desire to lose bodyfat as well in order to achieve a leaner physique.
This tends to be more popular with a crowd that have either started training already or slightly older (after 25) population. The interest can be piqued by a desire to get better at a specific sport, or simply wanting to understand the boundaries of what their body can achieve. It's where my own training often resides as the Look good factor is often outweighed by the performance factor. In the older generation this is often expressed as a desire to be a little more resilient, not worry about whether picking up a box will put their back out or whether they can recover from a fall. This should in every aspect be an underlying goal of all individuals when undertaking a programme.
A little more specific than the last one, but a lot of people simply want to be able to continue doing the things they love doing until the day they die. Surrounding a joint in a larger volume of muscle is a great way to protect that joint.
So now we've looked at the three most common reasons for wanting to build muscle mass, let's take a look at some of the common bi-products:
Those that properly undertake a muscle building programme often are lightly pushed into drawing attention to the way they eat. Lightly educating someone around the benefits of certain food groups vs others is never going to be a negative.
Increase Calorie Expenditure
For people who have trained a lot and spent time working on their frame, they will often hear from their peers "oh you're so lucky you can eat that." When I hear this, my internal demon wants to say. Do you know how many compounded hours It's taken for me to be able to eat "Whatever I want?"
People with larger quantities of muscle mass have a higher daily caloric need. Meaning, the girl who trains, can likely get away with drinking the beer vs the diet soda and vodka. All of this in moderation of course, but it's quite a good way to turn the mindset out of avoiding certain foods to enjoying foods you want to eat without the negative consequences.
Why I have chosen to undertake a bodybuilding cycle.
My personal interest is strength training, I enjoy Olympic weightlifting, tougher gymnastic feats and am less inclined to jump on a rower for an hour than I am to move a barbell.
In increasing muscle mass (Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy), what you are effectively doing is increasing the space availability to build myofibrillar muscle fibres (Strength). We often see bodybuilders turn to powerlifting despite having spent many years lifting sub maximal loads, and their strength rockets. I like a good analogy so here goes.
Car analogies are my favourite as most people have driven or been in a car.
When you lift a weight for the first time, you are teaching your brain to contract that muscle in order to move the weight from A to B. Liken this to getting behind the wheel for the first time. If you don't know which pedal is the brake and which is the gas, the likelihood is that your first time driving experience is not going to end well for you. So you start to build you knowledge of the car and learn how to drive in a safe environment. This is effectively what we are doing when we introduce people to weight training for the first time, we teach the basics and the fundamentals of movement. IF the person has never done this activity before, no matter what the rep range, they are going to start building muscle mass.
As your knowledge of driving becomes a little better, your potential to drive quicker increases, this is the simply you effectively making brain gains, your car is still the same. You have gone through the "beginner gain phase" .
So you've had your ford fiesta now for 3 years, and you've actually maxed out your cars speed. You've taken it to the track and raced around but you can't seem to drive any quicker. Time for an upgrade. You decide to upgrade the engine of your ford fiesta and increase it's potential to go quicker. This is the muscle building phase. By increasing our body's muscle mass, we give it a little more potential to get stronger. Each time we upgrade our body with a little more muscle mass, we give it a little more potential to get stronger. Specific strength training is how we then fill out that unused potential.
Incredible bi products of this is we also shield our body's structures from external forces, meaning we're less likely to get injured.
During this quarantine phase, I haven't been able to do as much strength training as I'd have liked. Before I head back into a gym in the next few weeks/months I want to make sure that my body is resilient enough and I have a nice bit of unused potential to tap into. The effects of this will be that my nervous system when I come back to training won't feel like it's being utterly battered and my training progression can look a little bit more linear.
Nice little bi products? I'm going on holiday in October and wouldn't be so bad to look a little better on the beach. Sue me, I'm human.
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