Three Requirements for Muscle Growth

There are three key requirements for muscle growth to occur. To ensure muscle growth you need an appropriate training stimulus, proper diet with adequate protein and of course plenty of recovery. A fourth factor, not discussed here, is the important role that genetics play. We all know people who train hard, eat well and get plenty of sleep. They typically get stronger but don’t really pack on lean muscle. There are many variables that can effect (1) how much and (2) how quickly your body adds lean muscle. This ultimately depends on age, gender, genetic and hormonal factors. There is a saying out there when talking about the part genetics play: “If you want an Olympic athlete then you need Olympic parents.”

Appropriate Training Stimulus for Muscle Growth?

How do you stimulate muscle growth? When a persons muscles are challenged they adapt and change over time. Changes are dependent on the type of activity and muscle fiber types used, the load exerted on the muscle, and the velocity and duration of the contraction. (Marieb, 2004) The point is to push through all the hard workouts, because muscular growth or hypertrophy can only be accomplished through these adaptations and changes. “It takes about 16 workouts to have a noticeable ‘superficial’ effect. There is simply no other recipe to do this in a healthy, orderly, and long-lasting manner.” Try using the Jefit, a workout planner & tracker app to record all your workouts.

Is the Current RDA for Protein Enough?

This is a tough area for a lot of people. Their eating habits are just not where they need to be. In addition to eating well-balanced, highly nutritious meals, protein intake needs to be sufficient. If not, muscle growth to say the least, will be difficult if not impossible. The scientific research has shown different results over the years in terms of protein needs.

The question we should ask ourselves is – do we follow the suggested RDA of 0.8 grams/kg/day for protein intake or is it more in line with 1-2 gram/kg/day? The answer may depend partly on the volume of daily exercise you’re doing, if you’re a strength or an endurance athlete, and your age.

Adequate Nutritional Intake (Especially Protein)

A classic study was done in 1988 at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University. I was actually one of the test subjects in that study and also later worked there. The team headed by Meredith and colleagues, looked at the protein needs of 12 subjects. Six were young (26.8 +/- 1.2 yr) and six were middle-aged (52.0 +/- 1.9 yr) endurance-trained men. All subjects consumed either 0.6, 0.9, or 1.2 grams/kg/day of high-quality protein over three separate 10-day periods. They did this while maintaining their training and a constant body weight. The results of the study estimated that protein requirement was 0.94 +/- 0.05 grams/kg/day for the 12 men. The data from the study showed endurance exercise was associated with a specific dietary protein requirement. These needs were actually greater than the current Recommended Dietary Allowance of 0.8 g/kg/day.

Since then, there have been several studies on individuals who engaged in regular aerobic exercise. The exercise, more vigorous in nature, demonstrated a higher protein need more in line with 1.1 to 1.4 grams/kg/day. This by the way is about 38%-75% above the current RDA range. There is good evidence that the current recommended protein intake may actually limit muscle growth. This was seen in a study published in the Journal Applied Physiology. Some researcher’s report an optimal intake more in line with a protein range of 1.5 to 1.8 grams/kg/day which is 88% to 125% above the suggested RDA. The best way to make this happen is by ingesting 25-30 grams/protein with each meal and of course supplement with a post recovery protein drink.

Optimal Recovery (Sleep)

You can have the two other two boxes checked but if sleep is not happening, muscle growth will not occur. As a persons training intensity increases, more recovery and sleep is needed. According to the National Sleep Foundation (NSF), we need 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Are you getting that? When this happens on a regular basis for you, you can check that third box. Here are their guidelines for recommended amounts of sleep by the NSF.

  • School age children (6-13 yrs. old): Sleep range widened by one hour to 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): Sleep range widened by one hour to 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): Sleep range is 7-9 hours (new age category)
  • Adults (26-64): Sleep range did not change and remains 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): Sleep range is 7-8 hours (new age category) 

Key Take Aways

Increasing strength and building muscle can seem like a full-time job at times. You will need all the help you can get to make this happen, especially on both fronts. By checking all three boxes (training/nutrition/sleep), your odds of finally adding lean muscle will improve greatly. Be Well and Stay Strong!

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Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects in the Gym

sleep deprivation causes and effects

One factor that contributes to how well we perform at the gym is sleep. Sleep quality plays such a vital role in maintaining a healthy and active life. This is why when we lose sleep on a consistent basis, it can really impact on our gym performance and in our day-to-day lives in general. This post is going to cover sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym so you can learn just how much sleep impacts on our performance and what we can do about it.

Sleep Deprivation Causes and Effects in the Gym

Lifestyle Sleep Deprivation Causes

While there may be many possible underlying causes of why people are sleep deprived, most of the time, it is our bad sleeping habits that are affecting our shut-eye.

In this on-the-go lifestyle that we lead, we tend to stay up later, finishing work, watching television or staying connected to others via our social media.

It may not seem like it but this can really affect our sleep quality, which may be one of the many reasons why you are unable to get a good night’s sleep.

Maybe you have a demanding job so you find yourself working quite late all the time, checking emails. Maybe you have lots of things to do around the house that keeps you up. Whatever there is, there are many sleep deprivation causes that are based on our lifestyle choices.

The Many Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Just as there are many possible causes, there are also many effects of lack of sleep.

You Feel Lazy

Hands up if you have ever had a bad sleep and felt like skipping your gym workout because of it?

I know I have.

Feeling lazy because you have missed out on hours of sleep can cause you to skip your workout, meaning you will fall behind in your training. This lack of motivation can cause you to be unwilling to move or be active all day, and we all know how important it is to move daily.

You’re Moodier

Not only will you be feeling lazier and less motivated but you will also moodier.

This is not a great situation for you or the people around you.

You may find that you will be moodier, more irritable and grumpier because you will have less serotonin in the body.

And if you skip your training session because you are feeling lazy (i.e. see point above), you will not be active which can actually help improve your mood by releasing endorphins.

You Can’t Concentrate

Just say that you do somehow manage to make it to the gym. Is your workout as efficient as it could be? Are you able to make it through your regime like you typically can or are you finding it harder to concentrate?

Another one of the sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym include trouble focusing. You will find yourself becoming more easily distracted which means that while you managed to make it to the gym, the quality of your training will be compromised.

Your Energy Levels are Low

Not only will you have decreased concentration but you will also have less energy. This may make your usual workout seem a lot harder than it usually is.

You may find that you will be unable to hit the same weights, sets or reps as last time – all because you are feeling drained from lack of sleep.

Your Body Can’t Recover Properly

Sleep is such an important factor in your body’s rest and recovery. Without proper sleep, your muscles and bones cannot grow or repair themselves. This can perpetuate DOMS, make it harder for you to feel 100% again and back to normal. This is especially bad if you do weight training or strength training.

If you are deprived of sleep, you are depriving your body of the time that it needs to relieve muscle tension and soreness. And you will definitely feel it the next day.

Your Metabolism Slows Down

Lack of sleep slows down your metabolism and decreasing leptin – the hormone that helps keep you feeling full. In turn, this causes, your appetite to increase so you feel much hungrier than usual.

If you are trying to keep a healthy diet, then this can definitely derail your good intentions and you may find yourself reaching for an unhealthy snack.

While you should treat yourself every once in a while without feeling guilty, you may find that you feel the sleep deprivation causes and effects all day. This means that you may find that the unhealthy snack has turned into an unhealthy day.

Without consuming the adequate nutrition your body needs, especially to help your workouts, then you may see your gym performance fall.

5 Tips on How to Get Better Quality Sleep

Here are some easy steps that you can take to get longer and better sleep:

  1. Choose a time that will give you adequate hours of sleep for you to wake up feeling refreshed the next day. Make sure that you consistently go to bed at this hour. This may take some time getting used to but eventually, your body will learn your earlier bedtime. To help get you started, try going to bed half an hour/an hour earlier each night until you reach your desired time.
  2. Set an alarm an hour before that time to begin the winding down process for sleep. This includes turning off all electronics so that the blue light it emits doesn’t disrupt the body clock. This also means stop doing work and checking emails.
  3. Keep your bedroom quiet and dark.
  4. Try meditating for better sleep. Meditation can help you unclutter your mind and prepare your head and body for sleep.
  5. Exercising daily is also a great way to help get better sleep. Just make sure you don’t engage in vigorous exercise too close to your bedtime. Otherwise, you will be too worked up to sleep.

As you can see, the sleep deprivation causes and effects in the gym are plentiful. Sleep really does make such a big impact – good and bad – in your training and health in general. To get the best out of your workout each day, have better and longer sleep.

Jefit is a gym workout app that helps all gym goers and athletes keep on track with their fitness goals. It has the largest exercise library complete with free workout routines to help mix up your training. It also gives you the ability to update and share your workout log with the supportive community.

How have you found your sleep affects your training? What sleep deprivation causes and effects have you seen on your fitness journey? Let us know in the comments below!

sleep deprivation causes and effects