I am training 6 days a week and 2 hours every day. What more do I need to do to build muscle?
So yesterday, I was talking to this guy. He is a trainer in a gym and works part-time to support his bodybuilding goals.
Trainer: Bro! I am working out 6 days a week and 2 hours every day. But still, I’m not gaining any muscle! What more do I need to do?
Me: You are already doing a lot. So, What you need now is to do less.
Trainer: I didn’t get you Bro!?
Me: Do you understand how your body builds muscle?
Trainer: Yes! When we exercise, our muscles get bigger!
Me: Hmm. I meant, what really goes inside your body and how your muscles get bigger?
Me: Let me explain it in a very broad level.
You have to look at three things,
Net anabolic state: When you eat more food than you are burning, you are in an anabolic state and when you eat less food then you are burning, you are in a catabolic state.
Positive nitrogen balance: Throughout the day, our body does a lot of work both external and internal repair and growth work. And a lot of protein we consume is utilized in this. So the bare minimum amount of protein you need to maintain your current body is called PTOR or protein turn over rate. You must eat more protein than this minimum to gain muscle and maintain a positive nitrogen balance.
Muscle hypertrophy: When you lift heavy weights in the gym, cells inside your muscle gets swelled and their size increase provided you have enough protein in your diet.
Now if you workout 6 days a week for 2 hours every day, you are burning all the calories that you have consumed. So you are in a net catabolic state.
You are not consuming enough protein to cross PTOR and move into a positive nitrogen balance.
You are giving enough opportunity to your muscle to grow through your workout. But, since protein and calorie intake are not sufficient, they are not growing.
Trainer: Phew! What do I do now?
Me: Cut down your workout time to less than 1.5 hours per day. Take a day off and increase your protein intake and come back bigger and stronger next time.
Until next time!