A Short History of Bodybuilding
Bodybuilding, the art of increasing one’s lean muscle mass, through a strict regiment of weight lifting, diet and rest, is a fairly new Western phenomenon.
During its early years the sport of bodybuilding was shrouded in mystery. It was practiced by a small group of individuals, mostly men, who were perceived by the rest of society as less than athletic.
Today, however, this image of the sport of bodybuilding and those who practice it, has changed drastically. This change is mainly due to the fact that today health conscious individuals all around the world have come to appreciate and strive for the many health benefits of possessing a lean, muscular body. As a result, the sport of bodybuilding has become one of the fastest growing sports in the world.
At any local gym one can observe individuals of all ages and both genders practicing bodybuilding. These individuals’ skill in this sport and dedication to it range anywhere from amateur to professional. Those who choose to practice this sport at a more serious level soon come to realize that it requires an astronomical amount of dedication, determination and organization. It is common knowledge that bodybuilders must follow a very strict exercise and nutritional plan in order to achieve their goals.
Building Lean Muscle Mass
However, what is not common knowledge regarding this sport is that bodybuilders must also follow a very strict rest schedule. Without adequate rest periods between workouts it is virtually impossible to increase one’s muscle mass as muscle fibers damaged during workouts need at least seventy two hours of rest to repair, strengthen and ultimately grow.
Our muscles are made up of millions of microscopic fibers. During any given workout bodybuilders strive to stretch and ultimately create microscopic tears in these fibers which leads to what is commonly referred to as “soreness”. After these fibers are torn during a workout our bodies begin the strenuous work of repairing the torn fibers. Protein is one of the key factors used by the body to help repairs its damaged muscle fibers. Thus, following a balanced diet rich in protein is essential in the sport of bodybuilding.
Often, amateur and professional bodybuilders find it necessary to supplement their protein intake with low-calorie protein shakes. This is because most high-protein diets are also high in fat and calories which hinders the bodybuilders’ dual goal of reducing body fat and increasing muscle mass.
Phase One of Muscle Recovery
Muscles heal in two phases. Phase one of muscle healing involves repairing the microscopic tears in the muscle fibers and recovering the muscles from the stress of the workout commonly referred to as “relieving the soreness”. Typically, this phase is completed by the body in seventy two hours.
Phase Two of Muscle Recovery
Phase two of muscle recovery involves the actual strengthening of the muscle which consequently leads to its growth. Workouts that tear the fibers of the muscles shock the muscles into preparing themselves for the next stressful episode. As the body repairs the torn fibers of a given muscle group it increases the strength of the fibers to protect them from further tearing. This strengthens the muscle and increases its mass. This phase is typically completed in one hundred twenty hours. Without this rest period muscle growth is impossible as the individual will be breaking down his/her muscles at a faster rate than the body can repair.