If you have been asking, how does lifting weights build muscle, you have come to the right place.
We have all seen those bodybuilders that look unreal with the amount of muscle that they have. But how did they get there? Most people don’t want to look like that, but what if you want to put on a little bit of muscle?
The principles are all the same, which we will cover in this post.
Lifting weights builds muscle by micro tears
When you lift weights, you are essentially disturbing your muscles on a cellular level. I have also heard this described as traumatizing your muscles.
Lifting weights essentially makes small micro tears in your muscles when you workout. Then your body rushes to prepare them. Over time, your muscles are going to grow because of this tear and repair method.
Do not be worried about the tears. This is not a big muscle tear. It is part of the process.
Sometimes, especially with beginners, we might experience a burning sensation in our muscles up to a week after a strenuous session of lifting weights. This is due to the micro tears being repaired. And there are a lot of them.
You can learn to combat muscle soreness by reading my article, why do your muscles burn when you exercise?
This tear and repair process is something that we need to take advantage of. This is the answer to our question, how does lifting weights build muscle? Be consistent with lifting weights, and the results will come. But what if they don’t come? Our next section is ready to explain that.
Lifting weights is not enough
So all you need to do is lift weights and the muscle will come, right? Unfortunately, that is not the only part of the equation. Lifting weights is definitely necessary for building muscle. But you will find that eating enough food to fuel those muscles is actually more important.
Why is nutrition more important than lifting weights? Because without eating enough food, you simply will not build any muscle.
A caloric surplus is necessary to build muscle. Which means you have to eat more calories than your body burns. You can find out how much your body burns by calculating your maintenance calories. From there, you will want to start by eating at a caloric surplus of 500 calories per day over your maintenance.
I need you to understand this more than anything. You cannot build muscle in a caloric deficit.
I unfortunately know this truth from the 7 years I spent working out with no results. I figured that was just the way it was and I was going to be skinny for the rest of my life. It turns out, my maintenance calorie number is well above average. Which of course means that I need to eat well above average.
How does lifting weights build muscle while in a caloric surplus? Well, when your muscles tear during weightlifting, they need nutrients ASAP. If you are not in a caloric surplus, those nutrients are going to take their time getting there, or maybe not at all.
This will lead to an extended repair time and less nutrients going to your muscles.
Your body prioritizes other vital organs before your muscles. Therefore you can understand that your muscles are the last stop. This is why a caloric surplus is so important. Your body has nutrients waiting to repair your muscles.
Focus on consistency
All of the information in this article would essentially be useless if we didn’t talk about consistency. Consistency is the key to success for everything in life. Building muscle is no exception.
Remember the micro tears that we talked about in the first section? Well, those micro tears are so small that when they are repaired, you are not going to notice a difference over a week, or sometimes even a month.
Stringing together many months of consistency, you are going to see serious changes to your body.
Here is some advice for you if you are trying to build muscle. Lift weights at least 3 days per week and eat at a caloric surplus of 500 calories per day over your maintenance.
If after 2 weeks, you haven’t gained any weight, add another 500 calories per day to your daily intake. Keep doing this until you are gaining at least a half pound per week.
This type of consistency is what it is going to take if you want to build some solid muscle. How does lifting weights build muscle? Micro tears, caloric surpluses, and consistency is what is going to build muscle. And of course lifting weights is the main source of the tears.
Before you even get started, learn how to make exercise a habit. And while you are at it, learn how to make eating at a caloric surplus a habit. Anything can be made into a habit with enough effort and consistency.
If you are struggling with the caloric surplus part of all this, check out my 1000 calorie protein shake recipe. I created this recipe after I struggled to eat at a caloric surplus consistently. Now I drink one every morning for breakfast and it helps me hit my goals with ease.
Main Point: How does lifting weights build muscle?
By now, you should understand the answer to our question, how does lifting weights build muscle?
In its most basic form lifting weights builds muscle by disturbing your muscles, creating micro tears, and then your body repairs those micro tears. Over time, these microscopic tears are going to add up.
This is why consistency is so important. We live in a world where everything we want is a click away. Therefore instant gratification is the expectation. This is why so many people give up on building muscle.
There is no magic pill that is going to get you shredded overnight. Building muscle takes consistency and effort over time.
The fitness industry is rife with false claims about losing weight quickly or building muscle quickly. Unfortunately this has many negative consequences on those who consume these advertisements.
For one, these ads give people the false impression that it is easy and quick. They can just lose weight when they want and be done with it. Then they give it a shot and they haven’t lost 50 pounds in a month and they give up. It’s a vicious cycle.
Building muscle or losing fat is going to take a type of consistency that maybe you haven’t experienced yet. You have to trust the process and adapt to the changes. As you see the results coming in, don’t give up. Keep going and alter your goals if necessary.