Muscle Building Basics

Muscle building is an inexact science at best.  There are so many factors that go into building a great body that it would seem foolhardy at times to try and say, “do this or do that” and pack on 40lbs of lean meat in 12 weeks.  We’ve all read about the secret tips and tricks for packing on muscle.  Do they work?  For some – yes, and yet, for some – no.  So, what is the key?  Is there a key?

But before we go any further, let me emphatically state that I am not a tripled licensed personal trainer nor am I a registered dietitian.  I am not a guru with my finger on the pulse of all things bodybuilding.  There are plenty of experts out and I will probably point you toward them, myself.

Having said all that, I have always loved working out.  And although I have never been much bigger than your average bear; I have done, seen and observed enough – long enough – to have a good idea of what works and does not work.  With a scientist background of sorts, I do enjoy testing and trying.

A lot of what I share here, and elsewhere, is what I think works (what has worked for me) and may work for you.  This is important; please look at and validate everything you read here, for yourself.  Does it make sense to you?  Does it resonate with you?

In the end, there are so many paths to gaining and realizing a healthy lifestyle; and I truly do want that for you.

Now, to be sure, there are shortcuts; but for many of us, the best and only trick is hard work backed by smart decisions.  And of course smart decisions would be based on the best available information.  And that my friend is the basis of this blog, Smart Weight Gain.  It is about gaining weight and packing on muscle for the long term, it’s about getting fit for life, and it’s about being smart in what we do and how we do it.

I believe true, long term growth and progress come from the synergistic interaction of three core elements:

  • Rest
  • Nutrition
  • Exercise

Consider each one a circle.  Where the three circles overlap is where your greatest results will lie.  Where only two overlap, you will get some results but not to the point where the three intersect.  The challenge is moving the circles until the composition of the overlap is “perfect for you.”

My objective is to help you find that overlap.  And also understand that this overlap shifts over time.  Which means you must adjust the circles – move it – to reestablish the right balance for you.

And it is just that simple.  Boy, there is a cottage industry of sorts out there that seems to strive on making this so complicated.  But, I contend that muscle building is simple; and we need to keep it simple.  At its most basic, it is this – lift progressively heavier weights, eat a nutritious diet, and get lots of rest.  Wow, can it get any easier?  Do you need to spend a small fortune to do all that?  Can you get everything you need to know to do that here without spending a fortune, or even a dime?  I sure hope so!

But how does all that happen – Muscle Growth

Mr. Kwon and Dr. Kravitz provide an excellent answer in their very technical description of what happens to make muscles grow.   You can read it here or hover over the page link.

In short, though, muscles growth happens when the rate of muscle protein synthesis is greater than the rate of muscle breakdown.  In layman’s term, you need to feed your body enough protein to allow it to rebuild.  You tear down during with training and rebuild it better with rest and nutrition (protein) – like the 6 million dollar man.  But the article is excellent, especially if you are a geek like me.

Throughout this page and subpages,  I will endeavor to provide resources that will help you achieve yoru fitness goals.

  • Rest– Discussion of means to optimize recovery
  • Nutrition – Dieting programs and supplements that feed the muscle and provide the building blocks for your body to rebuild during the rest periods.
  • Exercises – Discussion of exercises for each body part and how the exercises impact that body part.  Also include video demonstrations, muscle breakdown, and graphics to better emphasize particularly points.
  • Workout Programs – Suggested workout programs and routines are a great way to get started.  So, I will provide you with some of mine, list some of what the “greats” did, and take a look at some of what’s out there.

Websites for Your Edification – Expert Sources

Larry Scott – Check out how he looks at 66 at the end of that video montage.  Un – freaking- believable!  Larry Scott has always been the greatest bodybuilder of all time, in my humble estimation.  I remember ordering his training pamphlets from the back of my comics in 75 or 1976.  Little scrawny geek that I was, just in awe of this human being.  I still am.

About 99% of his site is selling something he’s pioneered or created – some good stuff, but I wouldn’t bother with any of that.  I just think his “about Larry” site is cool, check out his gallery of pictures.  This guy was a number one- cosmic grade stud and still is!

Mayo Clinic – I love the information you can get at the Mayo Clinic.  Obviously, it is more geared toward the general public than the animals that inhabit the gyms but the guidance and advice is still solid and comprehensive.  It is a guide for healthy living and that is fantastic.

WebMD Health and Fitness – This is really a superb site.  I almost dreaded recommending this site, as you would probably leave me and never come back!  But so be it.  There is so much good information on every aspect of fitness and health.  In addition to another angle versus, say the Mayo clinic, WebMD also has reviews of all the “as seen on tv fitness equipment.” “water v. sports drink” comparison and more.  No grunting freakoids with 25″arms – just great knowledge to help you.

Scooby’s Home Bodybuilding Workouts – Here is another superb site.  In fact, once you see this site, you will most likely never come back to me.  But that’s okay, because I know you will be in good hands.  Of course, I don’t agree with some of what he says but you can’t deny his enthusiasm and his sincere desire to help you live a healthy, happier life.  And again, some of what he suggests seems off to me, but again, if the proof is in the pudding, Scooby clearly has done things right for himself.  Because for a guy my age, he looks tremendous, and huge – heck, he looks great for any age, period.  And like my site, all his wealth of  knowledge and information is free.  Can’t beat that.


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