Hypertrophy originates from the Greek language and can be defined as “excess” +”nourishment” or the increase in blood flow to an organ or tissue due to the enlargement of its component cells and volume.
Or as I like to say- Gettin’ Swole. #WGS (We Get Swole)
There are tons of benefits of hypertrophy training such as neuromuscular strength, how quickly and effectively your body recruits muscle fibers. Other important results from hypertrophy are spine and sensory nerve recruitment which activates muscle contraction, decreases in body composition, increases in muscle size, increase testosterone production and much more.
Hypertrophy training, if done correctly is one of the best ways to get results quickly. Hypertrophy will test you, will push you and will change you.
During this phase of the training program we’re solely focusing on total ‘volume.’ Our goal is to get our neurotrasmitters to fire and increase sarcoplasimic growth. Simply put this method increase the amount of information and nutrients our muscle receive in order to produce tissue growth and chemical changes. So you will see an abnormally amount of sets and reps. It’s completely normal but requires the body some getting used to. Hang in there!
Once the body is primed and has been receiving lots of growth information, we’ll take this opportunity to take the volume (total work capacity) down a bit and increase the intensity (weight) hence the term ‘intensitfication.’ In order to maximize growth, muscle confusion and potential and minimize plateau.
Maximization is the final phase of this training program. Normally this training phase is performed for 3 weeks- But given our time frame we’ll finish off with this by bringing it all together. This is by far the most intensive phase of them all. This is where we bring it all together. Medium to high Intensity enough volume to cause change and medium rest to keep the pump will be utilized in this phase.
Tempo is one of the greatest secret weapons anyone can use to maximize their efforts in the weight room to increase strength, power and muscle size.
The First Number – The first number refers to the lowering (eccentric) phase of the lift.
The Second Number – The second number refers to the amount of time spent in the bottom position of the lift.
The Third Number – The third number refers to ascending (concentric) phase of the lift – the amount of time it takes you to get to the top of the lift.
The X signifies that the athlete should EXPLODE the weight up as quickly as possible.
The Fourth Number – The fourth number refers to how long you should pause at the top of the lift.
The point of tempo is to simply magnify when and where you want the most time under tension (TUT). Duration of stimulus and tension are key factors in determining muscle growth. By putting the muscle under longer bouts of strain, you can cause extensive muscle breakdown leading to big time muscle gain.
Week #1- Phase 1 – Accumulation- High Volume [Sarcoplasmic hyper method]- Giant Sets
Week #2- Phase 1 – Accumulation- High Volume [Sarcoplasmic hyper method]- Giant Sets
Week #3- Phase 2 – Intensification- High Volume- Descending system 886644
Week #4- Phase 2- Intensification- High Intensity descending system 886644
Week #5- Phase 3- Maximization 3
Week #6- Phase 3- Maximization 3
Muscle growth — known as hypertrophy — is the development of mass, density, shape, and function of muscle cells. This adaptation allows the muscle to meet exercise/function-induced stress.
Muscle cells are sort of like a bunch of sticks bundled up for firewood. Myofibrils are cylindrical bundles of filaments composed of sarcomeres. Sarcomeres are the fundamental unit of muscle contraction and are composed of myosin and actin.
All of these proteins comprise about 20% of muscle. Water, phosphates, and minerals comprise the other 80% of muscle.
When someone does resistance training consistently, they may notice muscle growth. The growth is due to an increased water, number of myofibrils, and connective tissue.
Scientists often break hypertrophy down into two types:
- Sarcoplasmic hypertrophy increases muscle size by increasing the volume of sarcoplasmic fluid in the muscle cell.
- Myofibrillar hypertrophy (sometimes called “functional hypertrophy”) increases muscle size by increasing the contractile proteins.
Some people in the fitness industry will argue that bodybuilders demonstrate sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, and that their muscles look “puffy”; while weightlifters demonstrate myofibrillar hypertrophy, and their muscles are “denser”.
Post-workout nutrition is an intriguing topic and rightfully so. The basic idea is threefold:
- The body deals with nutrients differently at different times, depending on activity.
- What you consume before, during, and especially after your workout is important.
- By consuming particular nutrients after your workouts (aka post-workout nutrition), you improve your body composition, performance, and overall recovery.
Numerous studies have examined everything from the composition of the carbohydrate in post-workout drinks to exact amino acid combinations. Studies continue to reveal effective post-workout nutrition strategies for athletes and exercisers of all types.
Generally, post-workout nutrition has three specific purposes:
- Replenish glycogen
- Decrease protein breakdown
- Increase protein synthesis
In other words, athletes/exercisers want to:
- replenish their energy stores
- increase muscle size and/or muscle quality
- repair any damage caused by the workout
In doing so, they want to increase performance, improve their appearance, and enable their bodies to remain injury-free.
Proposed benefits of good post-workout nutrition include:
- Improved recovery
- Less muscle soreness
- Increased ability to build muscle
- Improved immune function
- Improved bone mass
- Improved ability to utilize body fat
These benefits seem to work for everyone, regardless of gender or age.
Availability strongly influences the amino acid/glucose delivery and transport.
In other words, in order for our bodies to use raw materials to rebuild and recover, those raw materials have to be available. And if they’re available, then our body is more likely to use them. Simply having the materials around can signal to our body that it’s time to rebuild.
We improve availability in two ways.
- Increased blood flow to skeletal muscle during and after exercise means that more nutrients are floating around more quickly.
- Providing an amino acid and glucose dense blood supply during and after exercise means that the rate of protein synthesis goes up.
Improve availability by having more blood circulating more rapidly, and by having more nutrients in that blood.
The “window of opportunity”
Some refer to this workout and post-workout phenomenon as “the window of opportunity”.
During this window, your muscles are primed to accept nutrients that can stimulate muscle repair, muscle growth, and muscle strength.
This window opens immediately after your workout and starts to close pretty quickly. Research suggests that while protein synthesis persists for at least 48 hours after exercise, it’s most important to get postworkout nutrition immediately, and within 2 hours afterwards.
If you feed your body properly while this window is open, you’ll get the benefits.
If you don’t provide adequate post exercise nutrition fast enough — even if you delay by only a couple of hours — you decrease muscle glycogen storage and protein synthesis.
As soon as you drop that last dumbbell, you should be consuming some postworkout nutrition- seriously ha!
What to eat
As we’ve mentioned, post-workout nutrition requires two things:
- Protein to aid in protein synthesis
- Carbohydrates to help replace muscle glycogen (and to enhance the role of insulin in transporting nutrients into cells)
You could certainly eat a whole food meal that meets these requirements after exercise.
However, whole food meals aren’t always practical.
- Some people aren’t hungry immediately after exercise.
- Whole food digests slowly, and we want nutrients to be available quickly.
- A whole food meal that requires refrigeration might be less practical.
On the other hand, consuming a liquid form of nutrition that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates and proteins (e.g., protein hydrolysates or isolates:
- might accelerate recovery by utilizing insulin for nutrient transport into cells;
- can result in rapid digestion and absorption; and
- is often better tolerated during and after workouts.
Data indicate that it may only take about 20 grams of protein after a workout to maximally stimulate muscle protein synthesis.
With intense workouts/training, start by ingesting 30 grams of carbohydrate and 15 grams of protein (in 500 ml water) per hour of workout time.
You can sip this during the workout or consume it immediately after.
You can either make your own post-workout drink or find a pre-formulated drink that contains rapidly digesting carbohydrates and proteins.
Once your workout is complete, have a whole food meal within an hour or two.
If priority #1 is to lose body fat, use only BCAAs as a workout drink. About 5 to 15 grams per hour of training (200 pounds or more = closer to 15 grams, 200 pounds or less = closer to 5 grams).
If you’re leaner but still want to lose fat, choose a smaller dose (like 1/2 dose) of the protein + carb combination, or opt for BCAAs.
For extra credit
The combination of carbohydrate and amino acids during/after exercise creates a stimulatory effect of growth hormone and testosterone that doesn’t happen during the rest of the day. In other words, if you just drink a carb + protein drink while sitting on the couch, it won’t have the same effect.
When choosing carbohydrates, keep in mind that glucose is absorbed faster than fructose, and solutions high in fructose have been linked to gastrointestinal distress, greater fatigue, and higher cortisol levels.
It may be helpful to add creatine to your workout nutrition.
Essential amino acids may be more important than nonessential for promoting positive nitrogen balance after workouts.
Workout nutrition guidelines by goal and body type
|Body type||General goal||Pre-workout||During workout||Post-workout|
|Ectomorph||Muscle gain or endurance support||Eat normally 1-2h prior||1 P+C drink, BCAA drink, or water during||Eat normally 1-2h after|
|Mesomorph||Physique optimization or intermittent sport support||Eat normally 1-2h prior||1 P+C drink, BCAA drink, or water during||Eat normally 1-2h after|
|Endomorph||Fat loss or strength sport support||Eat normally 1-2h prior||1 BCAA drink or water during||Eat normally 1-2h after|
I specifically put this in the FAQ because I understand that not everyone wants to learn about this stuff, they just want to throw weights around but for those of you interested in learning even more, dig in!
First we’ll cover what’s happening during the pre-exercise, during-exercise, and post-exercise time periods.
Pre-exercise nutrition needs
What and when you eat before exercise can make a big difference to your performance and recovery.
In the three hours before your workout, you’ll want to eat something that helps you:
- sustain energy;
- boost performance;
- preserve muscle mass; and
- speed recovery.
Here are a few ways to ensure you’re meeting your requirements.
Protein before exercise
Eating some protein in the few hours before exercise:
- Can help you maintain or even increase your muscle size. That’s important for anyone who wants to improve health, body composition, or performance.
- Can reduce markers of muscle damage (myoglobin, creatine kinase, and myofibrillar protein degradation). Or at least prevent them from getting worse. (Carbohydrates or a placebo eaten before exercise don’t seem to do the same thing.) The less damage to your muscles, the faster you recover, and the better you adapt to your exercise over the long term.
- Floods your bloodstream with amino acids just when your body needs them most. This boosts your muscle-building capabilities. So not only are you preventing damage, you’re increasing muscle size.
Before you rush off to mix a protein shake: While protein before a workout is a great idea, speed of digestion doesn’t seem to matter much. So any protein source, eaten within a few hours of the workout session, will do the trick.
Carbs before exercise
Eating carbs before exercise:
- Fuels your training and helps with recovery. It’s a popular misconception that you only need carbs if you’re engaging in a long (more than two hour) bout of endurance exercise. In reality, carbs can also enhance shorter term (one hour) high-intensity training. So unless you’re just going for a quiet stroll, ensuring that you have some carbs in your system will improve high intensity performance.
- Preserves muscle and liver glycogen. This tells your brain that you are well fed, and helps increase muscle retention and growth.
- Stimulates the release of insulin. When combined with protein, this improves protein synthesis and prevents protein breakdown. Another reason why a mixed meal is a great idea. No sugary carb drinks required.
Fats before exercise
Fats before exercise:
- Don’t appear to improve nor diminish sport performance. And they don’t seem to fuel performance — that’s what carbs are for.
- Do help to slow digestion, which maintains blood glucose and insulin levels and keeps you on an even keel.
- Provide some vitamins and minerals, and they’re important in everyone’s diet.
Pre-exercise nutrition in practice
With these things in mind, here are some practical recommendations for the pre-exercise period.
Depending on what suits your individual needs, you can simply have normal meal in the few hours before exercise. Or you can have a smaller meal just before your exercise session. (If you’re trying to put on mass, you may even want to do both.)
Option 1: 2-3 hours before exercise
This far in advance of your workout, have a mixed meal and a low-calorie beverage like water.
If you’re a man, here’s what your meal might look like:
If you’re a woman, here’s what your meal might look like.
Note: Your actual needs will vary depending on your size, goals, genetics, and the duration and intensity of your activity.
Option 2: 0-60 minutes before training
Rather than eating a larger meal 2-3 hours before exercise, some people like to eat a smaller meal closer to the session.
The only issue with that: the closer you get to your workout, the less time there is to digest. That’s why we generally recommend something liquid at this time, like a shake or a smoothie.
Yours might look like this:
- 1 scoop protein powder
- 1 fist of veggies (spinach works great in smoothies)
- 1-2 cupped handfuls of carbs (berries or a banana work great)
- 1 thumb of fats (like mixed nuts or flax seeds)
- low-calorie beverage like water or unsweetened almond milk
Here’s a delicious example:
- 1 scoop chocolate protein powder
- 1 fist spinach
- 1 banana
- 1 thumb peanut butter
- 8 oz. chocolate, unsweetened almond milk
It probably goes without saying, but with pre-training nutrition, choose foods that don’t bother your stomach. Because… er… you know what happens if you don’t.
During-exercise nutrition needs
What you eat or drink during exercise is only important under specific circumstances. But if you are going to eat during exercise, your goals will be similar to those for pre-workout nutrition. Above all, you’ll want to maintain hydration.
Goals of nutrition during exercise:
- stay hydrated;
- provide immediate fuel;
- boost performance;
- preserve muscle; and
- improve recovery.
Protein during exercise
Eating protein during exercise:
- Helps prevent muscle breakdown. This can lead to improved recovery and greater adaptation to training over the longer term. And this is especially true if it has been more than three hours since your last meal. You only need a small amount of protein to control protein breakdown — around 15 grams per hour. If you’re the type of person who prefers to exercise on an empty stomach, then 10-15 grams of BCAAs during training can be helpful.
- Is really only necessary for some people: athletes doing long, intense training bouts, multiple daily training sessions, and/or people trying to gain significant amounts of mass.
Carbs during exercise
Eating carbs during exercise:
- Provides an immediate fuel source. This helps boost performance and facilitate faster recovery. It keeps our stress hormone cortisol down, and beneficial hormones up.
- Is only beneficial in certain circumstances: endurance athletes on long runs, for people who want to gain a lot of muscle, and for highly active people who need every calorie they can get to increase size, strength, and/or performance.
How many carbs should you eat?
That depends. The maximum amount of carbohydrates that can be digested/absorbed during exercise is 60-70 grams per hour.
However, if you include protein in the mix, you can achieve the same endurance benefits with only 30-45 grams of carbohydrate per hour. Note: the protein also protects against muscle breakdown so it’s typically a good idea to add some in.
Fats during exercise
Eating a bit of fat before and after exercise can be a great idea. (And tasty, too!)
But you should try to avoid eating fats during exercise. That’s because fats can be more difficult to digest. And during training, you don’t want to give your stomach more work than it can handle.
During-exercise nutrition in practice
Do you need to eat during your workout?
That depends on how long it’s been since your last meal and the length/type of exercise you’re planning on.
Exercise lasting less than two hours
For training that’s less than two hours long, the main focus should be hydration. This is especially true if you’re using good pre- and post-training nutrition. So make sure you bring plenty of water.
But what about sports drinks? They don’t offer much benefit for events less than two hours long. Especially if you ate a good pre-exercise meal.
There are some exceptions, though.
- If you’re exercising in the heat and sweating a lot, sports drinks may be useful since they have electrolytes that help speed hydration and recovery.
- Also, if you’re going to be competing or training again in less than eight hours, sports drinks may jumpstart recovery before the next session.
- If you’re trying to gain maximum muscle, then including a protein and carbohydrate drink or some BCAAs during training could provide a small advantage.
- Finally, at the highest end of sport or competition, while it may not help, it certainly won’t hurt to sip on a sports drink during competition to ensure maximal hydration and energy supply.
Exercise lasting more than two hours
For training that is longer than two hours, sports drinks can be a huge help. Every hour you’ll want to consume:
- 15 grams protein
- 30-45 grams carbs
This can come in the form of liquids, gels, or even some solid food.
Many endurance athletes prefer to drink water and eat fruit and other foods to supply their energy even on really long runs. Either approach is fine, as long as you ensure you’re getting enough protein, carbohydrates and electrolytes, especially sodium.
If you are exercising intensely for longer than two hours, especially in the heat, do not rely on water alone. This will decrease your performance and your recovery. And it could also lead to hyponatremia, a condition in which the sodium levels in your blood become too low. Hyponatremia causes your muscles and heart to contract erratically, and can even lead to death.
Under these conditions, when you’re sweating a lot, go with sports drinks.
Post-exercise nutrition needs
Now let’s take a look at post-exercise nutrition.
Post-workout nutrition can help you:
- build muscle; and
- improve future performance.
Protein after exercise
Eating protein after exercise prevents protein breakdown and stimulates synthesis, leading to increased or maintained muscle tissue. So it’s a great strategy for better recovery, adaptation, and performance.
In the past, most fitness experts recommended fast acting proteins like whey or casein hydrolysate. This is because early research indicated that the more quickly amino acids get to your muscles, the better the result.
However, new research shows that hydrolyzed, fast-digesting proteins may get into our systems too fast. Because they’re in and out of the bloodstream so quickly, they might not maximize protein synthesis or maximally inhibit protein breakdown after all.
What’s more, hydrolyzed casein is preferentially taken up by the splanchnic bed (i.e. our internal organs). Which means it isn’t maximally effective for improving protein synthesis elsewhere.
And the protein you ate before training is still peaking in your bloodstream, so how quickly this protein gets there doesn’t really matter.
In other words, there’s no real evidence that protein powders, especially the fast-digesting kind, are any better for us than whole food protein after training.
They’re probably not worse either. Which means you can choose whichever type of protein you want for your post-workout meal.
Want fast and convenient? Make an awesome post-workout protein shake.
Want real food? Then make an awesome high-protein meal.
Any high quality complete protein should do the job, as long as you eat enough. That means about 40-60 grams for men (or 2 palms) and 20-30 grams for women (1 palm).
Carbs after exercise
Contrary to popular belief, it’s unnecessary to stuff yourself with refined carbohydrates and sugars to “spike” insulin and theoretically restore muscle and liver glycogen as rapidly as possible after your workout.
In fact, a blend of minimally processed whole food carbohydrates, along with some fruit (to better restore or maintain liver glycogen) is actually a better choice, because:
- it’s better tolerated;
- it restores glycogen equally over a 24-hour time period; and
- it might lead to better next-day performance.
Research shows that muscle protein breakdown is most inhibited and muscle protein synthesis happens best when insulin is at 15-30 mU/L. This is only about three times above fasting levels of 5-10 mU/L.
These levels are easily reached if you eat a mixed meal or drink Super Shake a few hours before and after training. Plus, with mixed meals, your levels should stay at this rate for about four hours after consumption.
Fats after exercise
Dogma has it that we should avoid fats after exercise because they slow the digestion and absorption of nutrients.
While this is true, in most cases, it’s also irrelevant. We’ve already seen that speed of digestion of protein and carbs is not necessarily as important as we once thought. The same with fats.
In fact, one study compared what happens when people drink skim milk rather than whole milk after training. Participants drank either 14 oz. of skim milk or 8 oz. of whole milk (that equalized the calories, for those of you who love calorie math).
The skim milk drinkers got the same number of calories — along with six extra grams of protein. So you’d think they’d have the advantage.
Yet the whole milk drinkers actually ended up with a higher net protein balance! And the researchers had no explanation other than the fat content of the whole milk.
Additional research shows that eating as much as 55 grams of fat post-training, and another 55 grams in the two subsequent meals did not get in the way of glycogen replenishment compared to lower fat meals with the same amount of carbohydrates.
Clearly, fat doesn’t reduce the benefits of protein and carbohydrate consumption around training. In fact, it actually might provide some benefits of its own!
Post-exercise nutrition in practice
While you don’t have to rush in the door and straight to the fridge the minute you finish at the gym, you shouldn’t dawdle and poke around forever before eating. Failing to eat within a two-hour window following training can slow recovery.
But this is context dependent; what you ate before your workout influences things.
If your pre-training meal was a small one or you ate it several hours before training, then it’s probably more important for you to get that post-workout meal into your system pretty quickly. Probably within an hour.
If you trained in a fasted state (say, first thing in the morning before breakfast) then it’s also a good idea to chow down as soon after your workout as you can.
But if you ate a normal sized mixed meal a couple of hours before training (or a small shake closer to training), then you have a full one to two hours after training to eat your post-workout meal and still maximize the benefits of workout nutrition.
So go ahead — spend an hour in the kitchen cooking up a feast.
0-2 hours after exercise
The approach to recover from training is the same as your preparation for a workout: have a mixed meal of real food.
Again, here’s how men might build it:
- 2 palms of protein;
- 2 fists of vegetables;
- 2 cupped handfuls of carbs;
- 2 thumbs of fats;
- low-calorie beverage like water.
And here’s how women might build it:
- 1 palm of protein;
- 1 fist of vegetables;
- 1 cupped handful of carbs;
- 1 thumb of fats;
- low-calorie beverage like water.
Sometimes after training you might not feel hungry. And that’s okay. If you don’t feel like eating, you can go with liquid nutrition.