To Grow Or Not To Grow By Dean Eddy Activ Health Personal Trainer THE SCIENCE An increase in muscular tension (force) is the primary requirement for initiating muscular growth, or hypertrophy with exercise training. An Increase in muscle size through increased protein synthesis during resistance training is a fundamental biological adaptation to an increased workload in both men and women regardless of age. In good old plain English, if you eat right and train hard you will grow! Simple when you know how, isn't it. Or is it? In determining your potential for growth there are three fundamental factors that you will need to understand more about. GENETICS This starts with Morphology, or the science of Body shapes. Each of us can be broadly placed in to one of three classifications based on the physical characteristics that we display. These characteristics are determined primarily by two main components - Body Fat and Fat free mass. The classic Ectomorph Long, rectangular shape.; Flat chested, slender in hips, no defined waist. Poorly muscled on trunk and limbs. Small boned, limbs longer in relation to trunk. Relatively lower body fat than other types because of low body weight, but can have a high fat to muscle ratio due to poorly developed muscle. Faster metabolism. The classic Endomorph. Round, soft, pear shaped body: More fat distributed at the hips and thighs. Small to medium bones. Muscles not well defined. Higher fat to muscle ratio on trunk and limbs. Shorter limbs relative to trunk. Slower metabolism. The classic Mesomorph. The female may be classified as having an hour glass figure whilst the male would be more stereo typically described as having a Body building physique, broader at the shoulders and hips, narrower at the waist. Well-defined muscle on limbs and trunk. High muscle to fat ratio. Medium to large boned. This symmetrical body can look fit even without exercise. Moderate metabolism. It is the fat free mass that is our primary concern here, more specifically the type of fibre that constitutes the muscular make - up of this Fat Free mass. Human skeletal muscle tissue is made up of two very different fibre types that are classified by their contractile and metabolic characteristics. In FAST twitch fibre (which tend to predominate the Mesomorphic body shape) there is an ability to generate energy rapidly for quick powerful actions that are anaerobic in nature. The fast twitch fibre intrinsic speed of shortening and tension development is 3 to 5 times faster than those fibre classified as Slow twitch. This means that they are very efficient for physical activities that require short sharp bursts of energy such as weight training and Sprinting but not so good for endurance based activities like swimming or jogging. In SLOW twitch fibre (which tend to predominate the classic Ectomorph body shape) there is an ability to generate energy over a much longer period of time but only at about 20/30% of the speed and tension of fast twitch fibre. This means that the slow twitch muscle fibres tend to lend themselves more effectively to those activities that are more aerobic in nature such as jogging, Cycling, Swimming, Rowing and Exercise to music. So what does all this “Twitching” mean to the likes of the would be Body builder? Put simply, it means that your capacity for muscular growth is very strongly influenced by your genetically inherent body shape and more specifically the muscle fibre type that tends to predominate that body shape. Does this mean that to save a lot of hard work and even more heartache you should give up before you get started? Not at all.... We all have a tremendous potential to be realised within the constraints of our genetic make-up. Most certainly if your body shape and fibre type predominate the Fast twitching Mesomorph then with the right balance of Nutrition, Training and Recovery, the sky is the limit. For the rest of us mere mortals, the Ectomorphs among us can look forward to a “cut” (definition) that would be the envy of any top class Body builder. And what of our middleman / woman - the Endomorph - with a little more attention to body fat reduction techniques - a physique that would be the envy of any Mesomorph. DATE MUSCLE GROUP Relaxed Relaxed Relaxed Relaxed Relaxed Flexed Flexed Flexed Flexed Flexed CHEST WAIST ABDOMINALS HIPS THIGH CALF FOREARM BICEPS/ TRICEPS NUTRITION Many or us will spend a great many hours working through endless set’s and rep’s looking for that magical combination that will finally add that extra inch or bring about that much sort after line of definition. But how many of us would think about spending even half as much time, effort and dedication in looking at what we eat? In my experience, unfortunately, not enough. The importance of good nutrition cannot be overstated in any physical pursuit but particularly when it comes to increasing muscle mass. Without a well thought out eating plan that is balanced in carbs, proteins and fat, all that time and effort spent in the gym will be in vain. PROTEIN Of all the nutrients available to the potential body builder protein is probably one of the most controversial in terms of the quantity and quality required to sustain muscular growth. In short most studies indicate that the R.D.A. (recommended daily allowance) for the general population ranges from about 0.75 - 0.83g per Kg of body weight per day up to 1.63g/Kg/day for individuals involved in high intensity strength, endurance or weight training. Just as important perhaps is the frequency with which protein is consumed, especially when training. EGGS FISH MILK CHEESE MEAT OTHERS WHITE 2.68 TUNA 8.3 WHOLE CHEDDAR BEEF 7/8 YOGHURT 0.93 7.05 PLAIN 1.49 YOLK 4.76 HADDOCK SEMI 0.94 EDAM CHICKEN 8 NON FAT 7.14 7.07 1.62 POACHED COD 6.0 TURKEY 8 SOYA 3.5 SCRAMBLE 2.88 The above figures represent the grams of protein per ounce. Careful consideration should be given to cholesterol levels of the above products. PROTEIN; THE FACTS 1) Proteins are formed from sub units called amino acids. 2) The body requires 20 different amino acids. 3) Eight of the twenty amino acids cannot be synthesized in the body. These are known as essential amino acids and must be consumed within the diet. 4) Proteins are found in the cells of all animals and plants and are generally referred to as: - Complete (higher Quality) containing all of the essential amino acids in the correct balance for the body. And Incomplete (lower Quality) containing less than all of the essential amino acids, which may not necessarily be in the correct balance for the body. 5) Proteins provide the building blocks for synthesis of cellular material during anabolic (growth) process. 6) Protein breakdown (catabolism) during exercise becomes most apparent when the bodies carbohydrate stores are low. This perhaps enforces the need to maximise carbohydrate levels during strenuous exercise. 7) Excessive intake of protein over and above the bodies daily requirement does not lead to continued muscular growth and strength gains. Surplus protein represents an excessive burden on the body because it subsequently has to be broken down into other substances and either removed from the body or stored. When stored it merely becomes a further source of body fat. THE ROLE OF CARBOHYDRATES What is carbohydrate, and is it important in determining your ability to increase your lean tissue mass? What are carbohydrates? Carbohydrates used to be divided into two main categories. Those that where SIMPLE, sometimes referred to as sugars, and those that where COMPLEX more often referred to as starches. At a molecular level these terms referred to the complexity of their structure (a full description, of which, falls outside the boundaries of this text). On a more practical note these products where and quite often still are more readily identified from the examples below. SIMPLE Fruit sugar (glucose, fructose), Table Sugar (Sucrose), Milk sugar (lactose) White bread, jam, sweets, chocolates, biscuits, cakes, fruit, honey and sauces. COMPLEX Pasta, rice, noodles, potatoes, breakfast cereal, pulses and flour. Which was thought to be better for you simple or complex? Although both could provide us with the energy to carry out physical activity, it was believed that the complex variety of carbs would provided us with a far greater spread of other nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, proteins and fibre. The simple variety where, more often than not, associated with processed foods that where generally higher in fat. Why do we need either of them in the first place? In short, without sufficient carbohydrate intake you will not have the fuel to provide your body with the necessary energy to exercise and to provide you with the physical changes that you are looking for. An adequate carb intake also prevents much needed protein from being catabolised to provide energy. How many of these carbohydrates does the average person require to sustain adequate energy levels? The specific number of calories required varies from person to person depending on activity levels, genetics and lifestyle. It is therefore perhaps more prudent to look at the percentage of carbs in the diet. Current guidelines indicate that for an individual who is working out on a regular basis you should be aiming for approx 60% of your daily calories from carbs. But which ones, those that used to be referred to as simple or complex To answer this question, you will first need to understand a little about what is referred to as the glyceamic index. Until recently it was believed that dramatic increases in blood sugar where as a direct result of the ingestion of foods high in SIMPLE carbohydrates, however it would now appear that it is not quite as straight forward as this. More recently it has been discovered that it is not necessarily the molecular make up of the sugar that determines how quickly a carbohydrate gets into the blood stream but a combination of other factors such as the presence and balance of other nutrients and fibre contained within the foods consumed. Not to mention that different starches are absorbed at different rates. To take all of these factors into account the concept of the Glyceamic index was born. It works on the basis of the time that it takes for 50g of a particular food to cause an increase in blood sugar levels. This time is measured against a reference food such as glucose which has an index of 100 (sometimes white bread is used as the main indexer) and then indexed accordingly .The higher the index, the quicker the rise in blood sugar and the greater the insulin release. It is this subsequent insulin release that has tremendous implications for: - General well being Weight Loss (body fat reduction) Sports Performance Blood Sugar Regulation Reduction of Heart Disease On the next page is a brief guide to some of the more common foods and their associated index. This list is by no means exhaustive and continues to grow as more foods are studied. It is for this reason that we strongly recommend you regularly check for an update on those foods that are as yet unlisted HIGH MEDIUM LOW 70 PLUS 55 - 70 55 AND BELOW kellogs coco pops 77 Kellogs sustain 68 Allbran 42 kellogs cornflakes 84 Croissant 67 Muesli toasted 43 Rice crispies 82 Crumpet 69 Porridge 42 Bagel 72 Pita bread 57 Fruit loaf white 47 White bread 70 Rice basmati 58 Heavy grain bread 46 Brown rice 76 Taco shell pasta 68 Pumpernickel bread 41 White rice 87 Ryvita 69 Buck wheat 54 Crisp bread puffed 81 Arrowroot biscuits 63 Noodles 46 Water biscuit 78 Shortbread biscuit 64 (comm) Egg fettuccini - pasta 32 Morning coffee biscuit 79 Wheat meal biscuit 62 Ravioli meat pasta 39 Waffles 76 Beetroot 64 Spaghetti -pasta 41 Parsnips 97 New potato 62 Vermicelli -pasta 35 Potato baked 85 Sweet corn 55 Oatmeal biscuit 55 French fries 75 Fanta 68 Apple muffin 44 Pumpkin 75 Squash diluted 66 Banana cake 47 Swede 72 Cantaloupe melon 65 Sponge cake 46 Broad beans 79 Honey 58 Green peas 48 Watermelon 72 Sucrose 65 Carrots 49 Jelly beans 80 Pineapple 66 Sweet corn 55 Glucose 100 Pea & ham soup 66 Sweet potato 54 Maltose 105 Raisins 64 Apples 38 Mars bar 68 Apricot 31 Muesli Un-toasted 56 Cherries 22 Wholemeal bread 69 Grapefruit 25 Weetabix 69 Grapes 46 Kiwi 52 Mango 55 Orange 45 Peaches fresh 42 Peaches canned 30 Plums 39 Pear 38 Butterbeans 31 Baked beans 48 Haricot beans 38 Soy beans 18 Chick peas 33 Lentils 28 Lentil soup 44 Kidney beans 27 Chocolate 49 Lactose 46 Fructose 23 Milk whole 27 Milk skimmed 32 Yoghurt 33 Ice cream low fat 50 Exercise and Muscular Hypertrophy The range of exercises available to the individual wishing to improve their physic is phenomenal. And would no doubt allow us to extend this article by another dozen pages, however there are some very important principles that we can apply to these exercises that are well within the realms of this text. Free - Weights or Machines? Both have positive and negative aspects. As far as free-weights are concerned, on the positive side they are extremely versatile allowing for a greater inclusion of accessory musculature than the majority of modular resistance machines. Because of this, the calorie expenditure and intensity, exercise for exercise, is perceived by many as greater in free weights than in modular equipment and probably accounts for the popularity of free weights in general. On the negative side the risk of injury with free weights is much greater than with resistance machines, particularly when training alone. From a mechanical perspective, in any free weight exercise you are only as strong as the weakest point in the arc of movement (leverage). As far as machines are concerned, they are very safe and muscle specific allowing for changes in leverage via off set cams and pulleys. On the downside resistance machines tend to be so muscle specific that the total work carried out by associated musculature is far less than there free weight counterparts. I think it would also be fair to say that they do not have the versatility that is generally associated with free weights. How often should I train? This to a large extent is flexible around the time that you have available. Successful regimes can range anything from training one muscle group per day six days per week through to the more common four day split and alternate day training for the full body. The amount of evidence based research on muscular Hypertrophy and optimum work / recovery ratio’s is very limited. This unfortunately gives rise to a lot of personalised “systems” that may or may not work for you. On that note my best advice to you would be to experiment with both work and recovery periods bearing in mind that there is growing consensus (again, as yet, not evidence) that after a heavy resistance work-out a muscle may require as much as four to five days to recovery completely. How hard do I need to train? Heavy weight and low rep / Lighter weight and higher rep? Both methods have staunch advocates and again research seems to be split. Those who believe that muscular growth or overload is best created by taking the target muscles to failure using whatever means necessary. And those who believe that it is best created by maximising the tension in a muscle without necessarily going to failure but more volitional fatigue. To throw yet another hat into the ring I believe (and at this stage it is only my humble opinion) that in the same way that we all pre - dominate a particular body shape and muscle fibre type the methods for training should be different. An example of this might be: - Mesomorph 3-5 sets 8 - 12 reps to failure Ectomorph 3-5 sets 12 - 20 reps to volitional fatigue. Endomorph 3-5 sets 8 - 12 reps to failure. Per anatomical movement that each muscle group is responsible for. RECOVERY Recovery is very closely linked to frequency and intensity. However the most important aspects of recovery are adequate sleep and nutrition. SUPPLEMENTATION One of the most commonly asked questions by individuals who are embarking on a weight gain or body building programme is; - What supplements do I need? The question they should really be asking is; - Do I need supplements? To answer this question effectively we must first clarify the purpose of supplementation. The purpose of supplementation is to compensate for any dietary or nutritional shortcomings in an individuals normal daily eating routine. This means that the requirement for dietary supplementation is as individual as each person and the balance and quality of their respective diet. With this in mind I have listed some of the more widely accepted advantages and dis- advantages of supplementation. ADVANTAGES CONVENIENCE Allows for a large calorie intake without the associated bulk from foods containing a high proportion of fibre or fat. PSYCHOSOMATIC Quite literally the mind body link. There is much research into the positive effective of belief. In short if you are taking some thing that you believe will make you bigger, stronger, faster and more energised then it is most certainly possible that you will elicit a positive benefit from it. ERGOGENICS These are supplements that enhance physical performance. They can, as indicated above provide a psychological improvement to performance but more importantly their are a number of tried and tested products on the market that have proven to enhance an individuals performance or response to training. These range in nature from the carbohydrate drinks and bars that are quite readily available in the high street through to more specialised products like creatine. OPTIMUM NUTRITION With more and more publicity being given over to the negative effects of today’s methods of processing foods. More recently with the concerns expressed about genetically modified food products it is more important than ever before to ensure that we are obtaining all the essential vitamins, minerals and nutrients required for optimal health. Some supplements are able to provide this in a convenient and cost effective manner. DISADVANTAGES COST A large proportion of the supplements available today are very well marketed and extremely overpriced. Anything obtained in supplement form to improve health or performance can be obtained through a well balanced diet at a fraction of the cost. SUBSTITUTION One of the major problems with supplementation is that it quite often leads to substitution and as a result of this a deficiency in many important nutrients and micro - nutrients.
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