FITBODYUSA: build muscle
Showing posts with label build muscle. Show all posts
Showing posts with label build muscle. Show all posts
Nutrition is still full of myths. But sports training is not an understatement either. So you can imagine what happens when we unite both spheres and talk about sports nutrition: a jumble of beliefs and legends.

Meal Schedule, Bodybuilding and Sports Performance

A few weeks ago, the International Society of Sports Nutrition published its position on a popular topic of sports nutrition, the influence on sports performance and muscle development of the timing and composition of meals and their synchronization with exercise (nutrient timing). The document is entitled "International society of sports nutrition position stand: nutrient timing (2017)" and for those who prefer a shortened version, these are its conclusions translated into Spanish:

1. Endogenous glycogen reserves are maximized by following a high-carbohydrate diet (8-12 g of carbohydrate per kg body weight per day); these reserves are depleted primarily by high exercise volume.

  • If rapid glycogen recharge (<4 hours) is required, the following strategies should be considered:
  • Carbohydrate intake (1.2 g / kg / h) with preference for sources with high glycaemic index (> 70)
  • Adding caffeine (3-8 mg/kg)
  • Combine carbohydrates (0.8 g / kg / h) with protein (0.2-0.4 g / kg / h).

3. Prolonged (> 60 min) high intensity (> 70% VO2max) exercise challenges energy supply and fluid regulation, so carbohydrates should be consumed at a rate of ~ 30-60 g of carbohydrate / h at 6-8% (180-360 ml) every 10-15 min throughout the exercise, particularly in those exercise sessions that go beyond 70 min. When carbohydrate supply is inadequate, the addition of protein can help increase performance, improve muscle damage, promote euglycemia and facilitate glycogen re-synthesis.

4. Carbohydrate intake throughout strength exercise (e.g., 3-6 series of 8-12 maximum repetitions using multiple exercises targeting all major muscle groups) has been shown to promote euglycemia and increase glycogen stores. Consuming carbohydrates alone or in combination with protein during strength exercise increases muscle glycogen stores, improves muscle damage and facilitates greater training adaptations, both short and long term.

5. Achieving total daily protein intake should be considered important, preferably with evenly spaced feeding (approximately every 3-4 hours during the day), .

6.Ingestion of essential amino acids (EAA, approximately 10 g), either in free form or as part of a protein bolus of approximately 20-40 g, has been shown to stimulate muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

7. Pre- and post-exercise nutritional interventions (carbohydrates + protein or protein alone) can work as an effective strategy to support increased strength and improved body composition. However, the size and timing of a preexercise meal can affect the need for protein feeding after exercise.

8. Post-exercise (up to 2 hours after completion) intake of high-quality protein sources stimulates muscle protein synthesis (MPS).

9. In a scenario without exercise, changing the frequency of meals has shown little impact on weight loss and body composition, and there is some evidence that the frequency of meals can favorably improve appetite and satiety. More research is needed to determine the influence of combining an exercise programme with changes in meal frequency on weight loss and body composition; preliminary research indicates potential benefit

10. Intake of a 20-40 g protein dose (0.25-0.40 g/kg body mass/dose) from a high-quality source every three to four hours appears to affect the rate of muscle protein synthesis more favourably than other dietary patterns and is associated with better body composition and performance results.

11. Consuming casein (~ 30-40 g) before sleep can increase muscle synthesis and metabolic rate throughout the night without influencing lipolysis.

The document is freely accessible, so if you are interested in the subject, I encourage you to read it in its entirety.

RELATED: Muscle Hypertrophy vs Strength - Yes, There is a Difference

On the other hand, I would remind you that you do not need to spend money on supplements, shakes and pills to comply with these recommendations, you can also follow them (I would say even healthier) by simply planning your diet properly.

In addition, these are conclusions on which experts have found evidence of some strength, so I would forget any other statements or advice we may have heard regarding meal times, sports performance and bodybuilding. They probably don't have enough evidence behind it.

Meal Schedule, Muscle Development and Sports Performance

People wonder about the difference between muscle hypertrophy and strength and how the two are related.
I will discuss the both of them and how to train for each.

Muscle Hypertrophy vs Strength - Yes, There is a Difference

The Difference Between Muscle Hypertrophy and Strength

Muscle Hypertrophy

Muscle hypertrophy, otherwise known as muscle synthesis, is a process where the muscle gets bigger, mainly through sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Although there is also myofibrillar hypertrophy (Also known as sarcomere hypertrophy) which is a bit different from sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. Hypertrophy relies on nutrition a lot more than strength does in the long run. Muscle can't be built with nothing.

Muscle hypertrophy is started off when a muscle is damaged after a workout. There are certain hormones that effect this process such as testosterone, growth hormone, insulin-like growth factor and insulin. When the muscles are repairing a few things happen. First the muscles swell up. This causes the blood to circulate through them. This means that more nutrients and oxygen are delivered to help repair the damaged muscles.


Strength is a different type of gain. It's a process where the muscles get used to being activated. The body gets used to muscles firing via neural adaptions, which means that to get stronger you need to rely less on hypertrophy and more on neural adaptions. Strength is also a bit easier to improve, especially in the short term. Some studies showed that people that are new to training could lift up to double the original weight used in a matter of weeks via a phenomenon called "noob gains". Another fun fact is that the muscle gets a bit denser via myofibrillar hypertrophy which unlike sarcoplasmic hypertrophy helps with performance.

To be more exact, this is how strength is improved: when you train, the body "remembers" the movement patterns for each exercise making you more efficient at activating the muscle groups used during that specific exercise.
There are however a few well known supplements that can help increase performance short term. A few of those supplements are citrulline-malate, beta-alinine and caffeine.

How to Train

Now that we have everything covered, lets talk about the most interesting part on this topic - how do we train for each of these? The answer is simple, more reps with less weight for muscle hypertrophy and less reps with more weight for strength. I would recommend 15 to 20 reps for muscle hypertrophy and 1 to 5 reps for strength.

Some research states however, that for strength gains it is optimal to do 1 set per exercise, while for muscle hypertrophy it is generally recommended to go high on the volume and do about 4 sets per exercise, so further into the details, I would recommend the following:

Muscle hypertrophy

Reps: 15-20 (Go higher if you are a beginner and lower if you are intermediate/advanced)

Sets: 3-5 (Go lower if you are a beginner and higher if you are intermediate/advanced)

Exercises: 5-7 (Go lower if you are a beginner and higher if you are intermediate/advanced)

Rest: 30-120 seconds (Go higher if you are a beginner and lower if you are intermediate/advanced)

General tip: choose a few compound exercises for a bigger growth hormone release and to get the muscles ready to work and then a few isolation movements to cool down at second half of the workout, to get the blood flowing into the muscle (Via the phenomenon called "The pump" and generally through contraction with high reps). You should also consider adding slow eccentrics.

Who is this optimal for: this approach is optimal for bodybuilders and teenagers looking for an aesthetic look. It is a very good approach for teenagers as the low weight training reduces the risk of injury.


Reps: 1-5 (Go higher if you are a beginner and lower if you are intermediate/advanced)

Sets: 1-3 (Go lower if you are a beginner and higher if you are intermediate/advanced)

Exercises: 3-5 (Go lower if you are a beginner and higher if you are intermediate/advanced)

Rest: 90-180 seconds (Go lower if you are a beginner and higher if you are intermediate/advanced)

General tip: try to get rid of isolation exercises and aim for compound exercises. I must also add that quick and explosive concentric movement is the best way to go for strength and power.

Who is this optimal for: this approach is optimal for people trying to compete in strongman, powerlifting, playing sports or who do manual labor. This type of training will promote muscle activation efficiency which in turn might mean saving a bit of energy doing things like manual labor or sports.


As we can see, they are both different and are both trained differently, and fun part is, we can combine them to get the best out of both worlds. To combine them you can simply just follow a split such as the push/pull/legs split, first three days you would do strength training then the next three days you would do hypertrophy training. With this type of training you can be a power-builder, a mix between a bodybuilder and a power-lifter.

NOTE: When I say a specific amount of reps, I do not mean picking up pencil weights and just flinging that weight for the specified reps, but I mean that you should use a weight at which you would struggle to do the needed amount of reps.


Muscle Hypertrophy vs Strength - Yes, There is a Difference