The recipe for developing muscle mass lies in the combination of three inseparable elements: an adapted training, a diet to nourish the muscles and sufficient and qualitative recovery phases to "build muscle".
How to increase muscle volume?
The creation of muscle mass, also called anabolism, follows the phenomenon of catabolism which corresponds to the destruction of muscle proteins following a training that has caused microtraumas causing the breakage of structural or contractile proteins of the muscle and the wear of other elements such as tendons or ligaments.
When the body is not sufficiently prepared to support an effort, there is a catabolism of the muscle structures solicited. The body's reaction is to repair these structures by integrating the need to adapt to the effort it has just experienced in order to be able to cope with it without destruction of proteins the next time it is subjected to a similar effort.
Thus the body uses different strategies to adapt to the effort. It can strengthen cells by repairing and replacing damaged elements. He can opt for hypertrophy, that is, increase muscle volume by thickening the cells in order to improve the structure of the muscle. Finally, it can do hyperplasia, that is, create new muscle cells.
What exercises to practice to gain muscle mass?
In order to gain muscle mass, the goal is for the body to trigger the phenomena of hypertrophy and / or hyperplasia. To do this, it is essential to choose exercises of a particular type and of sufficient intensity to trigger this reaction of the body to the effort. Thus each training session aims to destabilize the body in order to trigger the phenomenon of adaptation leading to the increase of muscle capacities.
The weight, whether towed, pulled, pushed or lifted, commonly known as the load, must increase with each session to increase muscle volume. It must be remembered that it is the intensity of the movement that must be increased, taking care not to increase the load if the movement is helped by momentum, other muscle groups or an acceleration of the speed of execution. Thus, small increases in loads may be sufficient to force the muscle to adapt. The average series of 8 to 12 repetitions are to be preferred in order to gain muscle volume unlike the shorter series performed at a maximum intensity which will develop more strength.
This phenomenon is based on regularity, muscle gain can slow down, stop or regress if the sessions are interrupted, too spaced or less heavy. Similarly, if the sessions are always identical, the body no longer needs to adapt and muscle mass gain stagnates. Thus routine is a formidable enemy, it is necessary to vary and regularly change exercises and movements for the same muscle group, in order to force the body to constantly adapt and avoid injuries at the same time.
The first gains can be observed with an adapted training program over three months, indoors, at home or outdoors, with appropriate weight training equipment. Bodybuilding is one of the best practices to build muscle mass with targeted exercises such as bench press, loaded squats and lunges, deadlifts...
Cardio training exercises on the other hand are not indicated in a lean mass gain objective.
What caloric intake to take dry muscle?
As a result of the catabolism caused by training, the body needs macronutrients and micronutrients in order to repair muscle cells and increase muscle volume. Diet is a central part of success in gaining dry muscle. It is therefore necessary to increase caloric intake in this perspective, which must be higher than energy expenditure, including protein intake.
Thus the protein needs of a sedentary person amount to 0.8g / kg of body weight, those of a person practicing a power sport between 1.6 and 1.8g / kg of body weight, for an endurance sport or maintain his muscle mass, the needs oscillate between 1.2 and 1.6g / kg of weight while to develop his muscle mass it would take between 1.6 and 1.8g of protein per kg of body weight on a daily basis.
The intake of dietary protein will be ideally spaced and divided into different meals and snacks. This is why it is advisable to take 4 to 6 meals (including snacks) a day as part of muscle mass gain programs.
Taking a protein-based snack right after training would be decisive to increase muscle mass.
In addition, it is essential to integrate carbohydrates into your diet, which allow a better assimilation of proteins because they trigger the secretion of insulin which acts as a key to bring proteins into cells, especially muscle. It is also advisable not to neglect the intake of good quality lipids, essential for the proper functioning of the body. Dietary restriction is not compatible with a goal of mass gain, on the contrary it is essential to gradually increase food intake by gradually adjusting according to the results obtained.
What natural food supplements to accelerate muscle mass gain?
Dietary supplements can help optimize the results of a muscle mass gain program. These are neither miracle products nor placebos.
It is interesting to take a complex combining several vitamins and minerals in order to provide the micronutrients essential for the proper functioning of the body and the different chemical reactions that preside over anabolism. These complexes also limit the effects of acidification of the body post-workout and improve recovery. Vitamin C will limit muscle fatigue, vitamin D is essential to fix calcium that participates in muscle contractions, vitamins of group B participate in the proper functioning of the nervous and immune systems among others. Minerals and trace elements also play an essential role; we will remember the importance of magnesium, zinc and selenium in the synthesis of testosterone, a hormone that promotes muscle development.
Then it is essential to optimize your protein intake as seen in the previous paragraph, which is perhaps facilitated by natural food supplements rich in protein. It is possible to use vegetable proteins to be consumed in smoothies for example with fruits (sources of carbohydrates providing energy and allowing a better assimilation of proteins) and sources of good fats, such as almond puree. The most concentrated vegetable source of protein is the squash seed with 60% protein content. It also has the advantage of being well tolerated at the digestive level. Hemp seeds are also very interesting for their protein content and digestibility.
The undisputed stars of the field remain proteins of animal origin such as whey, whey protein and casein. Regarding whey, which corresponds to a filtered milk protein, separated largely from lactose, milk fat and casein, it has the advantage of being concentrated in amino acids and being digestible. It is recommended to opt for the isolate, which corresponds to the ultra filtered version, which is better suited to people intolerant to dairy products and has a greater assimilation than whey (about 1 hour).
Regarding casein, unlike whey it is a slow assimilation protein (more than 6 hours). It is well suited for people wishing to gain dry muscle or lose weight, because of its long digestion which provides a lasting satiety effect. It is often recommended for the afternoon snack or before bedtime, while you will take whey rather at breakfast or after training.
Third star, BCAAs which correspond to a combination of three amino acids: L-Leucine, L-Valine and L-Isoleucine, which are the amino acids most favorable to muscle anabolism, allowing to fight against catabolism while promoting protein synthesis and muscle recovery. As a reminder, amino acids are the elements that make up proteins. It is interesting to add glutamine also which corresponds to the amino acid most used during sports practice.
Finally, creatine is the fourth star of this list, and corresponds to a molecule that the body produces naturally (which is neither a carbohydrate nor an amino acid). It makes it possible to produce ATP within the muscle, therefore energy necessary for muscle contraction. It thus makes it possible to hold the effort over time, improves the definition of the muscle and recovery. In addition, it allows a better assimilation of carbohydrates and the storage of glycogen in the muscles.
It is also important to take care to protect your joints as part of muscle practice if you want to hold on over time and achieve your goals.
A good natural combo is the superfood we have been hearing about for a few years, namely spirulina which combines both proteins (with a very interesting content of 60%), vitamins (including provitamin A and vitamin E), minerals (for its richness in non-heme iron in particular) and antioxidants (phycocyanin and beta-carotene).
Maca for its intake of protein, non-heme iron and vitamin C that increases iron assimilation.
Finally, guarana is a super energizer to support muscle effort during practice, allowing a sustainable increase in energy thanks to the caffeine it contains and which diffuses slowly unlike the whiplash effect of coffee. It also increases concentration, thus avoiding the risk of injury.
Recovery and sleep: essential ingredients for successful muscle mass gain
The third pillar of successful muscle mass gain after training and proper nutrition is recovery, which is essential in mass gain. Indeed it is during the recovery phases that the body anabolizes, that is to say that it repairs the microlesions of the muscles to strengthen and increase them.
Recovery consists not only of having rest phases between bodybuilding sessions but also of having a quality sleep. Indeed, it is during sleep that growth hormone with a recognized anabolic effect, is secreted at its highest dose. The challenge is therefore to have sufficient and quality sleep time.