Life is good. That is our motto at Travelers  Health and Wellness and what makes this life so good are the people we get to live it out with. Many of you have been making great progress on your goals this year and we are honored and excited to be along for the ride. What goals have you accomplished? What have you yet to work on? January is far enough in our rear-view mirror now that it is time to reevaluate how our year is going and where we want it to be. We are not here to live life willy-nilly. We are here to live life with a purpose. What is your purpose? 

Take a moment to steal some health and fitness knowledge with your eyes below and please give us feedback regarding what we can do to better serve you, what you appreciate and what your needs are. Thanks for being a part of our family.  

For the majority of people who aren’t on a consistent workout program, simply getting on ANY program that is consistent, works on weak points, and keeps you safe will do wonders. The old saying is that if you are new to weight training, “even the worst program will make you better.” Now using the “worst” program is certainly not ideal, but what I am trying to illustrate is that when you first start working out you are subjecting the body to a lot of new stimuli. In response, your body will change so that it can better respond and perform next time. The bad news? The more consistently you work out, the more your program needs to be well designed in order to make progress. 

For those of you who are looking to increase your lean muscle mass, which should be just about everyone, I highlighted some of the scientific reasoning and strategies behind how and why our muscles grow. The following reasons are a bit in-depth and may be more than some of you are ready for, but it always helps to know WHY you are doing things. We aren’t just trainers, we are educators, and the more you know the more we think you can succeed. These concepts below were not created by us but are taken from literature-based sources. Let us know if you have any questions. 

 Factors Contributing to Muscle Development:

1) Stretching Tension. When a contracting (flexing) muscle is stretched forcefully by a weight, it creates cellular damage. Why is this good? The general principle behind weight training is that if we can break our muscle tissue down, it will build itself back up stronger and bigger to be better prepared next time. This is why “damage” to the muscle is a good thing when trying to build larger muscles.

2) Contraction Tension. When a muscle has difficulty contracting against a very heavy weight it is signaled to strengthen itself in order to meet the demand in the future. In order for this positive feedback to continue it is important to use progressive resistance. This means continually increasing your weights. If you use the same weights time in and time out, your body will eventually stop changing to meet the demand.

3) Time Under Tension. In addition to how much weight you use during a workout, the amount of time your muscles have to support that weight is also important in muscle growth. The longer your muscles are under tension, with a challenging weight, the more the muscles will be signaled to grow. The key is using a weight that is 70-80% of your maximum strength to maximize your tension AND time under tension.

4) Muscle Burn. The “burn” that you feel in your muscles towards the end of a set is your body’s way of telling you that you are creating an acidic environment in your muscle. When you perform enough anaerobic work (creating muscle energy without oxygen, like weight training) your muscles become saturated with hydrogen ions. All that is to say that your muscles are fatiguing and eventually you will not be able to go any longer, because your muscles need to clear all of that acidic environment to work effectively again. The benefit of this “burn” feeling is that this has been tied to increasing your body’s signals to increase that muscle’s size in order to better fight this fatigue next time. Enjoy the burn!

5) Muscle Pump. If you do enough repetitions of the same muscle group you will eventually notice that your muscles seem enlarged and feel “pumped up.” This feeling is due to an increased amount of blood flowing to your muscles. This occurs when your muscles are working hard and need more oxygen and nutrients to complete their work. The more nutrients your muscles get, the more they can grow and respond. Maximizing your “Muscle Pump” can be a great strategy for causing muscle grow“.

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