Building additional muscle mass is a relatively complex process that hinges on a number of variables. Many individuals will often combine a standard, high-calorie eating plan with high-intensity exercise in order to put on lean mass. This method has significant anecdotal and experimental evidence, which makes it almost universally efficacious. Yet, such eating plans can provide wildly varying muscle accretion results. This large difference can only be accounted for by examining the different factors that limit muscle growth.
The Natural Limits of Muscle Growth
Human evolution is the result of constant ecological pressure towards energy efficiency and energy storage. This genetic fact is consistently proven by way of the growing population of overweight, low muscle mass individuals. Muscular growth is genetically programmed through a variety of limiting agents.
The primary regulating factor in muscle growth is myostatin, a protein that inhibits muscular hypertrophy and hyperplasia. Defective coding of the myostatin gene results in spontaneous lean tissue accumulation. This effect is most notable within the Belgian Blue breed of cows.
Testosterone synthesis and responsiveness is also a considerable factor. Reduced testosterone production in females results in both reduced muscle gain and lower total muscle mass.
Training experience and previous muscle growth is also highly influential. Experienced lifters have much more difficulty growing lean tissue than beginners. This factor is believed to be dependent on myostatin.
Any loss of previous muscle mass also contributes to future muscle gain. Athletes who attempt to regain lost muscle can expect increased gains up to their previous limit. This effect is attributed to changes in mitochondrial DNA within muscle cells.
Expected Muscle Growth
While mutations in myostatin coding, endocrine dysfunction and training restriction can create unnaturally low or high muscle growth, most individuals can expect a certain amount of growth per length of time. Different experts provide different amounts of average growth, but two pounds of lean tissue growth per month is the norm. It should be noted that 68 percent of the population is genetically average in this respect.
Creating an Environment for Growth
The previously mentioned rate of muscle accretion should only be expected while undergoing high intensity training, eating hypercalorically and consuming adequate amounts of protein. Failing to adhere to this minimum of discipline will yield subpar results.
Additionally, maximizing testosterone production through proper nutrition and vitamin D intake is necessary. Although myostatin production cannot be currently manipulated, testosterone synthesis is highly dependent on outside stimulus and nutrition.