When I ask people why they continually go to the gym, their number one reason is to gain muscle. Let's face it, all those early mornings, late nights, buckets of sweat and leftover soreness are often aimed at toning up.
But how do you ensure you are getting the most out of each workout and not wasting a single rep? I break down how to structure a workout program where you’re continuously working towards your ultimate goal—gaining muscle.
How Lifting Weights Builds Muscles
I'm sure most readers have some idea of the connection between lifting weights and increasing muscle mass. The science is actually surprisingly simple.
The act of weight lifting has the ability to add muscle by "overloading" the system. Overloading simply means stressing your body in the hopes that it will adapt to the stimulus at hand (in this case, lifting weights).
Overloading the body via weight training causes specific mechanisms in your body to go into overdrive in the attempt to adapt and make it easier to perform that same exercise next time you attempt to lift the same weight. Soreness is part of your body's process in making those initial adaptations to weight training.
Our bodies are amazingly efficient—once certain adaptations occur, the weight that used to seem impossible now becomes a breeze. Every time you give your body a stimulus, it looks at the various systems and sees what it can alter or change to make that activity easier next time.
For example, when an individual starts a new weight training program, one major adaptation that occurs is hypertrophy of the muscle. Hypertrophy simply means the muscle is getting bigger. The bigger the muscle, the easier it is to lift a weight.