Understanding How Muscle Growth Works

Muscle Growth Facts – Why You need Protein

Muscles are an important part of the body but there are too few who know exactly how they work, and maybe you are such a person. Here are some muscle growth facts.

We know that we need to exercise in order to build our muscles, but how does exercise help them? How does the burn contribute to muscle growth? The process is much simpler than we think.

Understanding Muscle Burn and Repair 

The first thing we need to know is that during your workout, the body begins to take damage, hence the burn.

Our muscles are literally torn, though not so much that you experience extreme pain. Rather, we will feel sore, and we will feel as such until the body is able to begin the repair process.

Keep in mind that the process generally needs to happen while we are asleep or at rest but it can indeed occur at a slower rate while we are awake. 

During the repair process, our body repairs muscle fibres by fusing them together and creating new muscle protein strands – these strands are much thicker their predecessors and can therefore take more punishment.

Muscle growth will happen when the rate of protein synthesis exceeds the rate of muscle protein breakdown


The Rise of Satellite Cells

Now we know the general process, but let’s get more specific in discussing how muscle growth works.

Satellite cells are responsible for much of the growth; they often act as stem cells within the muscle, and there are many who believe that ‘activating’ these cells can help you to gain even more muscle.

This belief is not without merit; a study did show that responders had at the very least a 20% growth in muscle, which is huge when we think about it.

The Three Muscle Growth Factors 

There are three different mechanisms that are directly responsible for the growth of muscles within your body, and these include:

  • Muscle Tension – If we want to gain muscle then you need to shock your body, and that means taking on a load greater than what our body has adapted to. Don’t start off on the extreme end of the spectrum by choosing the heaviest possible weights; lift progressively, work your way up, and most importantly, be proud of your accomplishment.


  • Metabolic Stress – This factor causes cell swelling around the muscle, contributing to muscle growth even though the individual in question is not making hard progress.


  • Protein – Fun fact, your muscles are comprised of 25% protein and 75% water. Let that sink in for a moment. It only makes sense that consuming protein in the proper amounts would contribute to muscle growth.

As a matter of fact that is not only accurate, it is absolutely essential. 


Protein Intake Requirements for Muscle Growth

Currently, the American Dietetic Association’s RDA regarding protein stands at 0.36g per lb of body weight.

We should also note that it may not make much of a difference at the beginning of our routine.

It has been shown that the intake of protein does make a difference after some time, which makes it no less essential to your routine (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25169440). 

Sedentary vs. Active

The recommendations on the part of the RDA come in two parts. Some of us lead a more sedentary lifestyle, and it is thought that a 180lb male would need just 65 grams of protein per day.

Those who are active, will need to consume about 0.8g per lb of body weight.

The more active we are, the more our need increases, and with that being the case, if we are actively trying to increase our muscle mass, we would automatically fall on the latter end of the spectrum. 

Muscle growth is not an overnight process, and while consuming protein will help, you should always make sure to chart your progress to determine if you are making any significant gains.

If it helps, try consulting a nutritionist or perhaps looking into a personal trainer if you feel that your progress is negligible or stagnant.

Protein is a great way to increase your muscle growth so long as it is done right, and so long as you are willing to stick to your exercise regimen. 

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