Bodybuilding is the use of progressive resistance exercise to control and develop one’s musculature

Competitive bodybuilding, widely known by stars like Charles Atlas, Steve Reeves and Arnold Schwarzenegger, create that image in our minds of over tanned men, appearing on-stage and in lineups doing specified poses for a panel of judges. In truth, a lot of what bodybuilders put themselves through to achieve these results would amaze you. A strict daily schedule of strength training,  specialised nutrition, rest and recuperation sounds straight forward enough, but like all professional disciplines, to be the best of the best, you have to go that extra mile.

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We have a huge amount of respect for both competitive amateur and professional bodybuilders. Looking at the science behind the profession can also help people of all fitness levels take some positives into their own strength and fitness routines. Competitive bodybuilding requires a level of bulking, which is being in a calorie surplus, for the most part of the year. This means they bulk up on muscle and fat through strength and diet. 12 – 14 weeks prior to competitions, bodybuilders will switch into a cutting phase. The cutting phase requires remaining in a net negative energy balance (calorie deficit). The main goal of cutting is to oxidize fat but also to preserve as much muscle as possible. The larger the calorie deficit, the faster one will lose weight. However, a large calorie deficit will also create the risk of losing muscle tissue.

What we can learn from professional bodybuilding

Weight training causes micro-tears to the muscles being trained; this is generally known as microtrauma. These micro-tears in the muscle contribute to the soreness felt after exercise, called delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). It is the repair to these micro-trauma that result in muscle growth. Normally, this soreness becomes most apparent a day or two after a workout. However, as muscles become adapted to the exercises, soreness tends to decrease. Weight training aims to build muscle by prompting two different types of hypertrophy, one focuses on building larger muscles, and the other which builds athletic strength.

Nutrition and diet

The high levels of muscle growth and repair achieved by bodybuilders require a specialized diet. Generally speaking, bodybuilders require more calories than the average person of the same weight to provide the protein and energy requirements needed to support their training and increase muscle mass. A sub-maintenance level of food energy is combined with cardiovascular exercise to lose body fat in preparation for a contest. The ratios of calories from carbohydrates, proteins, and fats vary depending on the goals of the bodybuilder.

Carbohydrates also play an important role for bodybuilders. Carbohydrates give the body energy to deal with the rigors of training and recovery. Carbohydrates also promote secretion of insulin, a hormone enabling cells to get the glucose they need. Insulin also carries amino acids into cells and promotes protein synthesis. It is believed that protein needs to be consumed frequently throughout the day, especially during/after a workout, and before sleep. Chicken, turkey, beef, pork, fish, eggs and dairy foods are high in protein, as are some nuts, seeds, beans and lentils.

The important role of nutrition in building muscle and losing fat means bodybuilders may consume a wide variety of dietary supplements.[31] Various products are used in an attempt to augment muscle size, increase the rate of fat loss, improve joint health, increase natural testosterone production, enhance training performance and prevent potential nutrient deficiencies. There are three major macronutrients that the human body needs in order for muscle building. The major nutrients-protein, carbohydrate, and fat-provide the body with energy. Bodybuilders often split their food intake for the day into 5 to 7 meals of roughly equal nutritional content and attempt to eat at regular intervals (e.g. every 2 to 3 hours). Contrary to popular belief, eating more frequently does not increase basal metabolic rate when compared to the traditional 3 meals a day.

Increase size and improve shape

We offer programmes that can increase your size or simply improve your overall shape and tone up.  We have skilled trainers who are very experienced in getting your great results. Gordon And Martin, Network Fitness Clubs founders, have over 20 years experience within the fitness arena: They bring their knowledge into your experience.

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