How to Maximize Growth & Preserve Muscle fibers!

Whether you have been an avid “lifter” or just getting started on your Fitness journey, aiming to lose Body Fat or Tighten and Tone the physique; ONE GREAT Dilemma remains the “how to” of maximizing muscle growth and preservation. Often I see my clients trying crazy deprivation diets & extreme methods of exercise to create progress, but this can only have an adverse effect.

The Truth is, Growing as well as Preserving skeletal muscle simply requires GREAT DISCIPLINE & is not as complicated as the Fitness Industry would have you believe! It is however very important to distinguish between increasing the number of muscle fibers (Hyperplasty) & increase in size of the existing Muscle fibers (Hypertrophy).

In this blog I will focus on Hypertrophy as well as Muscle Fiber maintenance (preservation) considering Hyperplasty is not a necessity for the general public.

3 steps to Optimizing Muscle Hypertrophy & preservation

1. Create a plan
To optimize growth as well as preservation of existing muscle fiber, it is absolutely crucial to ensure just the right amount of stress to the skeletal muscle to trigger progress.

  • Select one large body part per training session: training the entire body ideally no more than one per week with a split-training routine ( for Athletes less time is required for recovery & therefore training the body 2 times per week is not out of the ordinary)
    Generally, select one large muscle group (i.e. Back) per training session. Example: Back – Triceps or Chest – abs ….ect.
  • Number of exercises: generally 3 different exercises per large muscle group
  • Repetitions & Sets for growth: For growth repetition range of 12-15 is the ideal with a higher set number (volume training; i.e: 3-5 sets)
  • Rest between sets: 30-50 sec

2. Fuel the muscle
Your Results, Gains are directly linked to how you Fuel the body before & after a training session!

  • Pre-training : if your training session is longer than 2 hours after a meal, a snack of about 150-200 calories of Protein & low glycemic carbohydrate is ideal.
    Example: 1 cup of nonfat-natural Greek yogurt + 1 medium size apple or ½ cup of berries.
  • Post- training: this meal must be consumed within 30 minutes after a training session to help the depleted muscles recover for optimal results. Ideally a 150-200 calorie snack of mostly protein + some High glycemic carbohydrate & no dietary fats.
    Example: a Whey protein Isolate shake made with water + 1/3 cup of raisins or 2 dried prunes to help deliver recovery fuel to the muscle at a higher speed.
  • Protein: generally for growth & recovery the body requires 1.0-2.0 gm of protein per LB of Body weight. Under consumption of this crucial macro nutrient will be devastating to your hard working muscles.
    Supplements: as most our Nutritional lifestyles lack the necessary fuel for recovery, I highly recommend that you supplement with these 3 most important non-food replacement supplements for Pre & Post training:
    o L-Creatine
    o L-Glutamine
    o Whey protein Isolate or Non Dairy replacement such as Pea protein powder

3. Rest for growth
As much as we like to believe that the “pump” we create in the weight room is the same as growth, this is certainly not the case! During a training session the body under stress of the heavy resistance breaks down muscle fiber. It is only during rest & recovery where real gains are created.

Sleep: Yes, this is the missing link between your Hard-work & Gains!
Generally for healing & growth 7-8 hours of sleep are required. The hours before 12:00 midnight are by far the most crucial ones as during this window the greatest number naturally occurring Human Growth Hormones are created within the body to help create the gains we so desire.


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