Exercise & Training

3 Basic Requirements to Muscle Development

I recently got a letter from a guy who was discouraged about his muscle development. When going over his program his issue became apparent. He didn’t quite understand what his body required to change.

First, you must be consistent. For example, when you rake the yard, you don’t immediately get calluses. Instead, you get tender skin and bleeding blisters.  Your skin will go on to heal and basically return to its previous state. A callus only forms when the skin is consistently being worked and, more importantly, given time to repair.

Secondly, your program must be challenging. You only get blisters if you give your body more than it can handle on a regular basis. If you had only raked a small portion of your yard, I doubt you would get a blister all. Even if you raked the yard for thirty seconds every day, I doubt it would be challenging enough for your skin to build up much of a callus at all. Consistency and challenge are both equally necessary to produce change.

If you are not challenging your body, you are not changing your body. If you are challenging your body every once and a while, like a blister that heals, your body will also heal with little change. Your body reacts to the demands you place upon it and responds appropriately.

A musician understands this probably more than anyone. Not only does regular practice keep a pianist’s fingers nimble or keep calluses on a guitarist’s finger tips, but a musician understands each musical piece must be more challenging than the last to improve in skill. If a musician were to play the same thing over and over, there would be very little chance of improvement.

Think of the gym member who you’ve seen everyday since you’ve joined. You know the one I’m talking about – all clubs have them. It’s the member who does the same routine using the same weight everyday and their body looks exactly the same. This person has the consistency part down, but they quit challenging their body a long time ago.

Lastly, the same way blisters don’t appear overnight, you can’t expect muscles to pop up overnight either. Weight training requires patience, which many of us lack – including me! I want results now – doesn’t everyone? Giving up is simply not an option. Your body is more predictable than you think. Reshaping your body is not smoke and mirrors, it is basic science and it works.

Owner of Lift Vero and motivational "pfitness, pfood and pfaith" blogger in Vero Beach, Florida.


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