WTF Is Hypertrophy And Should You Care?

get big, bulk up, get big muscles

get big, bulk up, get big muscles
Whenever you start reading things on weight training you come across a bunch of really long and complicated sounding words. One of these is the word hypertrophy. If you want to get bigger, stronger, bulk up and gain weight and muscle, then this is a word you should pay attention to. It’s just another way of saying increase in the size of muscles.

There are two main functions of skeletal muscles. The first is to contract and thereby cause the body to move and the second one is to provide stability for the posture of the body. As mentioned in previous posts, muscles are made up of many smaller units called fibers. It is at this level that hypertrophy occurs. It happens through the increase of muscle mass, as well as the cross-sectional area. This is done through stimulus from the outside. Muscles adapt to work load. Exercise is often used to simulate this work load. Through exercise, stress is applied to the muscle. The muscle then adapts and generates tension. This results in the increase of size and amount of contractile proteins (actin and myosin) which make up the myofibrils in the fibers. So the muscle fibers get bigger. This is hypertrophy.

There are two main types of hypertrophy: sarcoplasmic and myofibrilar. Sometimes a third type, transient, is mentioned as well, however that one is not as important, as it only means the temporary swelling of the muscle (due to fluid accumulation) after exercise.

Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy means an increase in the volume of the sarcoplasm in a muscle cell. Sarcoplasm is the gel-like fluid-like substance that is enclosed within a muscle cell. It contains all kinds of things, with the largest percentage of it being taken up by water. It also contains glycosomes (granules of stored glycogen), as well as myoglobin, which is a protein that binds oxygen. Sarcoplasm accounts for about 25% to 30% of the muscle cell’s size, so if it gets swollen up, the cell increases in size as well. Here the cross-sectional area of the muscle increases, but the actual density of the muscle fibers decreases. So this is mostly non-functional increase in muscle size. This increases the bulk size and look of the muscles. The strength of the muscle does not increase as much.
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How To Squat With Proper Form

squat to gain weight
squat to gain weight
front squat

The squat is one of the essential exercises if you want to get big, bulk up and gain weight. Squats are a heavy compound exercise and they work out several different muscles and muscle chains. This means that they give your body (and especially the lower parts) an intense workout. Unfortunately squats are also an exercise that requires a lot of care to be taken in order to do it properly. In order to get the most benefit out of it and to prevent injuries, you need to learn how to do it properly with the right form.
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The Transformation of Zyzz

gain weight and bulk up

gain weight and bulk up
Here is a transformation video of a guy who went from skinny kid to buff dude. He gained weight and bulked up in a pretty short time (although he did juice as well, and by juice I don’t mean orange juice).

The transformation of Zyzz is pretty remarkable. When starting out, you can see that he was a very skinny and nerdy kid. He described himself as being a person who spent hours playing video games and fapping it in the basement. One day he decided he had enough and wanted to transform himself to a big, buff guy. That’s when his gym transformation started. Zyzz spent hours in the gym, ate a lot, used some questionable means (steroids), but at the end he transformed himself into a huge guy. Check out the before and after of Zyzz transforming himself…

The transformation of Zyzz is something that can motivate you. I am posting this for inspirational purposes (Zyzz before and after in video):

Zyzz Transformation (before and after): Find out how you too can become like Zyzz.

A Total Pre-Beginner Routine

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So are you a total beginner who has never set foot in the gym? You probably don’t have the strength, habits or coordination to be able to do any meaningful weight-lifting exercises. You can of course start with weights straight away (of course first studying how to do everything properly), but I think it would be better if you learned workout habits and got some muscle endurance first.

So if you are a total beginner and have almost no experience in the gym or with sports, start with a bodyweight routine. The goal of this routine is to be able to do the number of repetitions specified for each exercise in a row without stopping. So after a while you should be able to do 100 pushups or 200 body squats in a row. However at the beginning you probably won’t be able to do that. So the key here is to be able to do the specified number of repetitions for each exercise in a DAY. So for example you need to do 100 pushups. You do 20 in a row and then your arms collapse and you can’t do any more. After that, you rest a little bit and then do 20 more. You don’t have time to do anymore so only come back 2 hours later and do 20 more. You are up to 60 now. You then do the remaining 40 at various intervals during the day. The same thing would happen with the other exercises. The key here is to do as many as you can on the first try. So the first week you would be able to to do only 20 in a row, the second week 25, the third week 30 and so on, until one day you would be able to do 100 in a row! The numbers below can of course be changed. If you feel that doing a 100 pushups in a day is too much for you, then you can set the daily goal at 50 or even 25. The important thing here is to pick a goal and stick to it.

Do all the exercises below. You can try to do them all in one day every day of the week or pick a few to do a day, only exercising 3 days a week. It’s up to you and how busy you are. However once you pick a schedule, then stick to it religiously!

100 pushups

100 situps

200 body squats

100 dips

100 glute bridges

10 pullups

Some people argue against doing a lot of repetitions of single exercises, however we are not going for total strength here, but instead muscle endurance and the formation of good habits. Repetition was what our ancestors did and they were probably more robust than us. A lot of old martial arts routines were also based on long high repetition body work.

The above exercises should form the base of your routine, but you can throw in other exercises as well if you want to. For example the exercises here are good for any age. You can also throw in a mild stretching routine and maybe some slow cardio on a stationary bike.

After forming a strong base with these exercises, then you can move on to a more structured lifting routine composed of compound exercises .

Muscle Fiber Types

Introduction
Each person has a different body and each body has a different composition of muscles. There are several types of muscle, but probably the one most well known by normal people are the skeletal muscles. These muscles are made up of different cells called myocytes. Myocytes are what we are talking about when we discuss muscle fibers. Muscle fibers and myocytes are two words for the same thing. These myocytes are in turn held together by connective tissue.

Blausen_0801_SkeletalMuscle
Muscle fibers form in a process called myogenesis. In this process different myoblasts are fused. This fusion results in long cylindrical cells that have more than one nucleus and are called myofibers. Myofibers are further made up of myofibrils, which are in turn made up of sarcomeres, which are the basic units of cells in muscles. These sarcomeres repeat one after another to form the muscle.

Sarcomeres are made up of different types of protein. The different proteins that make up the sarcomeres can be described as long and fibrous and function by sliding past each other when the muscles contract. There are several types of protein that make up sarcomeres, however the most important are myosin (which is thick) and actin (which is thin). They are the primary building blocks and also very important for muscle contraction. Myosin and actin bind to each other, while the myosin head also binds to ATP (source of energy for muscle movements). Myosin and actin act on each other and this makes the muscle fibers generate tension. With the aid of motor neurons this tension is what creates muscle contraction. While myosin and actin are probably the most important proteins that make up the sarcomeres, there are also other proteins, for example titin and also nebulin.
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What Is Fat?

Fats are a big topic of discussion these days. Everybody wants to lose fat. Everywhere you go, you see things like “low fat”, “no fat” or “fat free”. What are fats and do they deserve the bad reputation that they get?

Fats are one of the three main macronutrient types for your body, together with proteins and carbohydrates. Unlike carbohydrates, some types of fats are considered essential for your body and life. This means that you need to get them from the outside by ingesting food, otherwise your body cannot produce some elements necessary in order to keep functioning. Fats are often misunderstood by the general public. They have a very bad image, however in fact, many types of fats are good for you and your health. Your body needs fats in order to perform its functions. The key here is in the types of fats that you consume and also the amount. If you want to gain weight and muscle, then fats should definitely be a part of your diet.

Fats are a wide group of compounds that are usually soluble in organic solvents, but insoluble in water. They are also called triglycerides, because chemically they are triesters of glycerol and any of the several types of fatty acids. When triglycerides are metabolized, the glycerol in them gets converted to glucose, which means usable energy for the body. The enzymes that break them down are called lipases and are produced in the pancreas.

Fats are a subset of a wider group of compounds called lipids. Lipids include triglycerides, phospholipids, and also sterols (one type of sterol is called cholesterol). You get all of these types of lipids when you eat, however triglycerides make up the most significant group of lipids in our diets. They make up around 95% of the lipids in our food and bodies.

Sources of Fats
Fats come in two forms: liquid and solid. The ones that at room temperature come in liquid form are called oils. Most oils come from plants (edible plant fats). Examples of these oils include ones from: palms, soybean, rapeseed (a subtype of rapeseed is for example canola oil), sunflower seeds, peanuts, cottonseeds, palm kernels, coconuts, olives, corn…etc. Solid fats usually come from animals. The main example are the fats from under the skin of different animals. In some cases, fats from animals can also come as oils, for example fish oils.

Sources of “good fats”:
avocados
olives
tofu
sunflower oil
canola oil
olive oil
nuts
peanut butter
sunflower seeds
pumpkin seeds
flaxseeds
fish
seafood
milk

Structure of Fats
All triglycerides have similar structures, being composed of a glycerol molecule and three fatty acids attached to it. Fatty acids are one of the main constituent parts of fats, but what are they? A fatty acid is a type of carboxylic acid and consists of a long hydrocarbon chain capped by a carboxyl group (COOH). They can serve as fuel and also form adenosine triphosphate, otherwise known as ATP. ATP can basically be described as the engine of the body, as these enzyme molecules can store energy and then release it when it is necessary.
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Compound Exercises To Do If You Want To Gain Weight And Muscle

compound exercises to gain weight

compound exercises to gain weight
Many rookies in the gym trying to bulk up and gain weight make the mistake of doing the same routines that they find in bodybuilding magazines. These magazines have articles on the routines of professional bodybuilders. The routines usually consist of tons of isolation exercises for various individual muscles. Gym rookies follow these routines and then wonder why they see very little gains. The reason is that a novice to the gym has different needs than a pro bodybuilder. Instead, the beginners (and also intermediates) should follow a routine based on heavy compound movements.
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What Are Carbohydrates?

carbohydrates for weight gain
Carbohydrates make up a very important part of our daily diets, and most people consume the majority of their calories from them. Much has been written about what role they should play in our diets and much of this is contradictory. These contradictory pieces of information serve as a source of confusion for many people who want to find out about what types of dietary guidelines they should follow. Some people say you should eat a lot of them, while others say you should eat a low carb diet. All these strategies have their merits, but might not be for everyone. Your basic strategy on the amount of carbohydrates depends on what type of a person you are, what your goals are and also what your activity levels are. What might be the “right” carbohydrate strategy for one person, might not be the best one for another person.

So what actually are carbohydrates and what do they do? Carbohydrates are macromolecules with various combinations of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen. Together with proteins and fats, they form one of the three main nutrient types in the human diet. Unlike the other two however, no carbohydrate type is considered essential, as the human body itself can manufacture any type of carbohydrate that it needs.

There are two main roles of carbohydrates in organisms: to serve as storage of energy, and in some organisms carbohydrates also serve a structural role and provide structure (for example cellulose in plants, chitin in arthropods). There are also other roles that carbohydrates play. One type of carbohydrate, ribose, also forms part of coenzymes and can be found in the structure of RNA. Another carbohydrate, deoxyribose, forms part of DNA. Carbohydrates also participate in things like fertilization, blood clotting, development and also play a role in the immune system. Furthermore, scientific studies also show that an adequate supply of carbohydrates (glucose) has a positive effect on the brain.

Most carbohydrates in our diets come from plants, although milk (comes from different types of mammals) also contains lactose (which is a carbohydrate). In terms of energy, a carbohydrate is about 4 calories per gram.

Carbohydrates can be divided into 4 chemical groupings (with each grouping containing several types of carbohydrates):
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Everybody Wants To Be A Ninja

CropKotoNinjaToyokuniUtagawa

Seriously, who hasn’t thought about becoming a ninja? That is something that every kid dreams about! 🙂 As kids we have a very vivid and wild imagination and there are a lot of things that fascinate us. I remember that as a kid, I loved to listen to my grandfather’s stories of times long gone and especially his war stories. I also watched many movies and when I learned to read, I also read a lot of things. Somehow I learned about ninjas. Whether it was through my fascination with the movie “Karate Kid”, or through watching the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, or just trading stories as kids, the subject of ninjas grabbed my attention very early on.

These ancient Japanese warriors could use their hands and other parts of their bodies to defeat much larger and stronger opponents and use their tricks to do all kinds of cool things. They could climb walls, throw shurikens (metal stars), create different potions and disappear in clouds of smoke. I was not the only kid that had this fascination and the ninja sparked the imagination of many a kid. We all wanted to be ninjas, playing games where we pretended to be powerful ninja warriors or spies on a mission. Whether the image of the ninja that we have is accurate or not, it is a powerful image and one that still fascinates me to this day.

The theme of ninjas was reflected in many different things during the 1990s. There were movies, cartoons, books, video games and martial arts classes. For example, characters based on ninjas played main roles in such popular cultural phenomenon as Mortal Kombat (mostly video games, but also movies), the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (where the word ninja was even in the name), even G.I. Joe (cartoons, action figures), where several of the characters strongly resemble ninjas.

These characters then sparked our wonder in the real ninjas that they were based on. With ninjas, it is hard to separate fact from fiction. Much of what we hear about ninjas is based on legends passed down from generation to generation. Some of the images of the ninja are, on the other hand, based on modern myths invented only recently. Even the term “ninja” is of more recent origin, as older texts usually refer to shinobi. However all these myths and legends are based on real events and real people.
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