Gainz, gainz, gainz!

Probably the biggest buzz word in the world of fitness right now. What does it mean though? A play on the word gains, it simply means to get more size on your muscles.

Today we are going to look at how muscles work and how to potentially grow them.


How do your muscles get bigger?

If we go back some 120 years in late 1800’s a guy called Eugene Sandow, born Friedrich Muller was the first famous bodybuilder.

Known for his muscle size and strength, he kick started a lot of the trends and methods used today in the quest to grow muscle.

Generation after generation, we have seen the changes in the shape and size of men and women, due to the effects of nutrition, exercise and lifestyle. How have we done this?, what is it that actually makes our muscles get bigger?

A quick science lesson

Muscles come in different types with different abilities. They are fibrous tissue that contract to produce movement or stabilisation in the body.

They require energy to work and can increase or decrease in size according to the application they are applied to.

Physically muscle growth is enabled by applying a load that pushes the limit of available output in a muscle.

Through this process the muscle fibres suffer micro tares, this is known as catabolism. After this stage the muscle takes on a state of repair which is known as anabolism.

This is where the torn fibres heal and grow back stronger.

how do your muscles get bigger_2Nutrition

Keeping things general, we require the three main sources of food. They are fats, proteins and carbohydrates, along with the essential minerals and vitamins. There is a desired amount of each group required to create a good anabolic environment in the body.

We are not going to get into how much of each here, what I will say is that out of them all, muscle growth requires protein above all else.

Protein when ingested breaks down into amino acids.

Amino acids are the building blocks for muscle fibres. Although carbohydrates trigger insulin release, it’s the nitrogen present in protein that determines how the body uses the protein.

A positive nitrogen balance allows the body to retain more protein than it uses. This is the desired state for optimum muscle growth.


Hitting the gym is a must to build and grow muscle. As mentioned earlier we need to challenge the muscle fibres to induce any kind of change to their size.

There are a whole host of exercise drills that we can follow.

However there are a few things that are a must.

Lifting heavy is one: whatever program you follow it must contain heavy compound lifts.

Rest is important: you must also be fully rested prior to a gym session and not be training an unrecovered muscle.

Mix up the sets: use various set types such as super sets, drop sets etc to keep the muscle stimulated and guessing.

Avoid excessive time lifting: lifting too long creates a catabolic state, breaking the muscle down. Whilst some muscle breakdown is inevitable, the key is to induce as much fibre stimulation with the minimal breakdown.


If you didn’t know, sleep is where everything comes together. Sleep allows your body to recover and regenerate. A whole host of things happen when we sleep, if we really knew them, we would get more.

There is an optimum of eight hours that is the recommended, however you may need more.

When you exercise you deplete the body of energy. The body is in a state of recovery, hence why we eat certain foods after exercise.

When we sleep our body is able to breakdown proteins and other nutrients more effectively that we have refuelled with. This will repair the muscle fibres and subsequently make the muscle stronger and larger, ready to perform again.

Balance is the key

So we have our 3 main components for building bigger muscles. They are all individually important but if you really want to see those gainz, finding the balance between all three is where you need to look.

Lack of one or all of these components are generally the reason why muscles don’t grow.

Beginners should start off by making sure they are ingesting the required amounts of protein for their size, to attain their nitrogen balance.

They should exercise in an anabolic state and start getting eight hours sleep. The more advanced athlete or person should look to micro manage the components and tweak accordingly with regards to their performance needs.

To find out more about how you can make muscles bigger connect with me. Remember Eat, Sleep, Train and Repeat!

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Pollyanna Hale Health and Lifestyle coaches
Lost 13 Kg in Total
Mel, 32y Location: London, United Kingdom Working with Pollyanna changed everything. I lost 13kg, got toned and have more energy than ever! Get same results!


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Lost 45 Kg in Total
Chris, 50y Location: London, United Kingdom Lost 45kg after the age of 50 and now competes and wins physique competitions and runs marathons Check our weight loss plans