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Health and Appearance Training

Training for health and appearance involves training for muscular hypertrophy. Hypertrophy is an increase in the size of each muscle fiber due to resistance training. Muscular size gains are almost always the result of an increase in the cross-sectional area of each individual muscle fiber in one's body. An increase in the number of muscle fibers is called hyperplasia. It is caused by fibers splitting longitudinally and making new fibers not bigger ones. It is mostly hypertrophy and not hyperplasia that are the cause of gains in muscle size although this is still up for debate. There is evidence to support and reject both claims.

This is the type of program the majority of our clients will want to follow. As previously explained, hypertrophy programs are commonly called bodybuilding programs and are designed to improve appearance. It is through added muscle mass and subsequent strength gains that the body begins to operate with a faster metabolism and a lower bodyfat percentage thereby improving appearance.

A hypertrophy program typically involves more volume and shorter rest periods than strength training programs utilizing weights that will allow for muscular failure between 6-12 repetitions. The body can gain muscle mass without gaining any real strength. This is because hypertrophy programs can increase non-contractile elements of the muscle (things that are not used to lift the weight) such as collagen and other tissue which would make a muscle look bigger, but not be any stronger. Hypertrophy programs tend to increase the size of the Type I (slow twitch) muscle fibers to a higher degree than strength training with both programs leading to increases in the size and/or number of Type II (fast twitch) fibers. This makes hypertrophy and endurance training similar in that respect.

Take this scenario into consideration:

Mr. A weighs 150 pounds and has 20 percent bodyfat. That means he has 30 pounds of fat stored in his body and 120 pounds of bone, muscle, and internal organs. He can consume 2000 calories to maintain his bodyweight. If Mr. A were to never lose any bodyfat but gained 20 pounds of muscle mass, he would now weigh 170 pounds and have 17.6 percent bodyfat without ever losing any actual bodyfat. Now, take into consideration that for every pound of muscle added to the body, about 50 calories more are burned each day to fuel that muscle. So he also can now eat 3000 calories per day, a full 1000 more (50 calories per pound of new muscle multiplied by 20 new pounds of muscle = 1000 added calories per day) and maintain his bodyweight. And if he continues to eat right, all that added muscle will begin to burn fat as fuel also. By never even dieting and just bodybuilding, Mr. A has drastically improved his appearance and altered his dietary requirements.

Realizing adding 20 pounds of muscle is a great task, you can still make analogous gains using a bodybuilding program and proper diet. I would like to explain at this point about the issue of common misconceptions. Very often people, especially women, do not lift weights because they do not want to become "too big" or get overly muscular. I have people tell me all the time they do not want to look like this or that person. They usually point to someone in the gym when they do this. They always point to someone who has been lifting weights for many, many years and has spent thousands of hours building their body. I am telling you right now that almost all of you will not and could not ever be too muscular! It would take years and years of proper training and diet to get to the point that you carry more muscle mass than you would like. Most people do not have the genetics to ever be above average muscle mass. Women have a very hard time gaining substantial muscle mass because of the low levels of natural testosterone in their bodies. Without performance enhancing drugs like steroids, none of you will ever have to worry about being "too big." With that in mind, all of you should be training for maximum muscle mass all the time.

When people say they train for "tone" they are dealing in semantics. Training for tone means they want to have muscle definition. That is not attained by training a certain way. It is attained by keeping low bodyfat levels. The difference between mass training and toning is that mass training is after muscle gains without keeping bodyfat levels to a minimum. If you want better muscle tone, adding muscle will do it. There do exist people who maybe do not want new muscle because they are over muscled now in their opinion, but this will be such a small percentage of people, less than 1 tenth of 1 percent at most, that I will not even address that scenario here. If this is you, email us and we can discuss it further. More than likely all of you can definitely benefit from added muscle mass and you can never become overly muscled no matter what you do. You can gain as best as your genetics will allow for sure through our guidance, but don't let tricky wording hurt your progress.


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