Athletes / Sportsmen / Bodybuilders

What biochemical processes lead to muscle growth and how you can hack them to achieve your bodybuilding goals? 

Before one can understand why micronutrients are so crucial to achieving muscular growth, one must first have a basic understanding of what muscular growth is and what scientific processes are involved in creating it. Only once we understand these processes can we decide what factors can expedite this process to give us the desired results we need. 

 

Muscular hypertrophy, the correct scientific term for the way adult humans build skeletal muscle, is a highly intricate process. Only when new cells (satellite cells) fuse with existing muscle fibres, muscle growth can be possible. Intense exercise provides the necessary trauma required to stimulate these satellite cells. Once stimulated, satellite cells will divide, multiply and fuse with existing muscle fibres by donating their nuclei. This generates the production of actin and myosin, the two most influential contractile proteins in skeletal muscle. This increases the overall cell size and protein content of the muscle cell i.e. hypertrophy or muscle growth as we know it. 

 

Localised cellular damage produced by weight training is merely a trigger towards hypertrophy. Lifting heavy weights does not by itself cause an increase in muscle mass. It is the biochemical changes that occur during rest periods that cause hypertrophy. The body responds by repairing this damage caused by training, and in the process adapts by making itself stronger. That is why trainers will ask you to always progressively increase the weights you are lifting in order keep triggering the body’s adaptation processes. 

 

The adaptation phase includes a complex process involving the breakdown of the phospholipid layer of muscle cells, the release of arachidonic acid, prostaglandin formation, androgen receptor binding, and interaction with other hormones and growth factors. 

 

It is in this complex and crucial adaptation phase that the body requires all the help it can get to build the most muscle it can. The entire process leading to muscular hypertrophy is so intense that it starts draining the body for all the resources it needs to heal itself and become stronger. It is for this reason that a bodybuilder’s nutrition needs, especially micronutrients, are greatly increased.

 

To understand which micronutrients aid what part of the biochemical processes of muscle growth, see The truth about how micronutrients can bring you major results.

References

  • Llewellyn, William. (2017). The Endocrinology of Muscle Growth. In Anabolics (11th edition, pp. 56-60). Jupiter, Florida: Molecular Nutrition.

 

Why does a bodybuilder require more micronutrients to achieve desired results? 

After understanding the biochemical processes involved in achieving muscular hypertrophy, it is clear to see that the entire process leading to muscular hypertrophy is so intense that it starts draining the body for all the resources it needs to heal itself and become stronger. It is for this reason that a bodybuilder’s nutrition needs, especially micronutrients, are greatly increased.

 

Just as engine oil helps the optimal functioning of a race car, so too micronutrients aid the optimal functioning of your body. Macronutrients and calories, on the other hand, are akin to the petrol in your race car. If there’s no petrol, the car won’t function. But if there’s no engine oil, you may not notice it immediately, but over time, the performance of the car will diminish until eventually it breaks down totally. The same is true of micronutrients. It’s easy to assume that your body is functioning well until you start to see plateaus, a total cessation in progress, and then finally decompensation of muscle, the exact opposite of the result you were hoping for! 

 

The body’s adaptation processes, loss of nutrients in sweat, urine and feces after strenuous activity are all key factors that greatly increase an individual’s vitamin and mineral requirements. Literature concludes that an intense training schedule can also lead to immunosuppression in individuals putting them at risk of infection and illness. 

 

The best muscle builders in the body are hormones. The production of these hormones, related enzymes and other associated growth factors required for healing, muscle growth, and nutrient absorption cannot take place without the requisite supply of micronutrients. It is precisely for this reason that despite having a proper training regimen and eating enough protein, you may still not be experiencing the body transformation that you are working for so long and hard. Without focusing on the micros, the body’s adaptation processes will forever be sub-optimal leading to poor, if at all any gains in muscle.  

A great way to ensure that you are getting the required amount of micronutrients for optimal results is to sprinkle your meals with balanzit. balanzit contains some of the most vital nutrients your body needs on a daily basis.  

 

Learn which vitamins support which aspects of the recovery and growth process.

Learn more about the ingredients of balanzit.

References

  • Gleeson, M. (2016). Immunological aspects of sport nutrition. Immunology and Cell Biology, 94 (2), pp. 117-123.

  • Gleeson, M. (2013). Exercise, nutrition and immunity. In: P.C. Calder and P. Yaqoob (eds.), Diet, Immunity and Inflammation. Cambridge: Woodhead Publishing, pp. 652-685.

  • Gleeson, Michael & Bishop, Nicolette. (2000). Special feature for the Olympics: effects of exercise on the immune system: modification of immune responses to exercise by carbohydrate, glutamine and anti-oxidant supplements. Immunology and cell biology. 78. 554-61.

 

The truth about how micronutrients can bring you major results

The production of the hormones, related enzymes and other associated growth factors required for healing, muscle growth, and nutrient absorption cannot take place without the requisite supply of micronutrients. Micronutrients work together i.e. the adequate supply of one helps the functioning of the other. 

Vitamin C
  • helps in forming collagen

  • helps absorb iron for red blood cell production

  • counters oxidation due to stress of training

  • helps in decreasing DOMS (delayed onset of muscle soreness)

 

Vitamin B1
  • helps in muscle contractibility 

 

Vitamin B2
  • helps metabolise iron to maintain oxygen levels in the blood, thereby decreasing muscle fatigue. 

 

Vitamin B3
  • helps in the creation of adrenal hormones, thereby aiding recovery

  • supports blood circulation and lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood

  • helps maintain insulin sensitivity, thereby aiding the use of nutrients into muscle cells. 

 

Vitamin B5
  • aids cholesterol synthesis, a precursor in the production of testosterone, the key muscle building hormone

 

Vitamin B6
  • helps metabolise protein, and helps the body use protein for fuel through gluconeogenesis when required

 

Vitamin B7
  • helps metabolise carbohydrates and fats

 

Vitamin B12
  • helps in the repair of damaged cells

 

Vitamin E
  • helps counter oxidative stress of training

 

Vitamin K
  • helps improve insulin sensitivity, thereby improving nutrient uptake by the muscles and decreasing fat storage

 

Magnesium
  • helps in the prevention of cramps

  • can help improve sleep, thereby aiding endogenous growth hormone release, a powerful recovery hormone

Potassium
  • helps in glycogen storage, thereby giving your muscles power when they need

 

Zinc
  • helps improve testosterone levels by acting as an aromatase inhibitor

 

Phosphorus
  • helps form high energy molecules such as ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate) and Creatine Phosphate. 

Strenuous activity depletes minerals, and therefore the athlete must also ensure that his/her body gets a regular supply of minerals.

 

balanzit provides your body with all of the vitamins above along with all the required minerals along with pre and probiotics to aid absorption and key herbal concentrates to help maintain immunity during stressful exercise sessions, so that your body can function optimally day after day. 

Learn more about the ingredients of balanzit.

References

  • Maughan, Ron. (1999). Role of Micronutrients in Sports and Physical Activity. In British Medical Bulletin 55 (3), pp. 683-690.

  • Zimmerman, Michael (M.D.) (2001). Burgerstein's Handbook of Nutrition. Stuttgart, Germany: Thieme. 

 

Is slow recovery hindering your progress? 

One of the key factors that influences an athlete’s speed of recovery after an intense training session is his or her body’s nutritional reserve. 

 

Supplementation with vitamin C can reduce post-exercise muscle soreness and decreases levels of an enzyme (creatine kinase) associated with damaged muscle. 

 

The energy producing core of every muscle cell is the mitochondria. The mitochondria powers the muscles, nerves and heart, and for it to carry out this strenuous task, it needs the help of the full set of vitamins and minerals. A reduced availability of micronutrients will lead to a reduction in power output, strength, and endurance of an athlete. 

 

Vitamins and minerals facilitate the use of carbohydrate, fat, and protein. They play a helping hand in transporting oxygen and carbon dioxide, regulating fluid balance, and protect against oxidative damage. The figure below shows the intricate working that vitamins and minerals have helping an athlete’s recovery. Many B vitamins and minerals are needed to metabolise carbohydrates into energy to be expended in a workout. Iron, copper, B6, B12, and folic acid are required for red blood cell production and oxygen transport to muscle cells. Zinc helps remove carbon dioxide from working muscles. Vitamin C is required for the production of epinephrine in the adrenal gland which helps release free fatty acids from the adipose tissue. Many minerals help prevent free radical damage from the stresses of exercise. 

 

It is therefore of no surprise that research has found that athletes lacking in vitamins perform significantly worse during exercise and also have a poor ability to recover from its stresses and therefore struggle to build muscle.  

 

References

Source: https://www.nsca.com/education/articles/micronutrient-requirements-for-athletes/

 

Are you unable to build quality muscle despite eating caloric surplus? 

It is often assumed that just because one is eating a surplus of calories that one must be getting an adequate supply of micronutrients to help process the intake of all that extra protein, carbs, and fat. But the reality is that vegetables and fruits are often ignored because of their lack of calories. As a result, caloric surplus diets often lack in vital micronutrients needed by the body to process the extra macronutrient intake. 

 

Just as engine oil helps the optimal functioning of a race car, so too micronutrients aid the optimal functioning of your body. Macronutrients and calories, on the other hand, are akin to the petrol in your race car. If there’s no petrol, the car won’t function. But if there’s no engine oil, you may not notice it immediately, but over time, the performance of the car will diminish until eventually it breaks down totally. The same is true of micronutrients. It’s easy to assume that your body is functioning well until you start to see plateaus, a total cessation in progress, and then finally decompensation of muscle, the exact opposite of the result you were hoping for!

Bonus

US National Library of Medicine: The Malnutrition of Obesity: Micronutrient Deficiencies That Promote Diabetes

 

Learn how to hack your own body’s natural insulin and testosterone levels to aid fat loss and muscle gain

Insulin is one of the most important hormones when it comes to building a great physique. Insulin regulates how much quality nutrition is given to the muscles to help their development. Consequently, insulin levels dramatically impact both fat loss and muscle gain. 

 

Micronutrients play an important role in the body’s ability to produce and use insulin efficiently. Researchers have proven that lower levels of micronutrients in the body can lead to insulin resistance, which will lead to fat gain in the short run and diabetes in the long run.  

 

Micronutrients indirectly impact fat loss and muscle gain by regulating the production and usage of many of the bodies hormones, including insulin in particular, which regulates both fat loss and muscle gain.

Similarly, an athlete’s testosterone levels often determine his/her physique transforming potential. Research shows that testosterone levels can increase by as much as 30% when adequate levels of Vitamin A, Magnesium, Vitamin D or Vitamin E are reached. If you now consider the smaller impacts the other vitamins and minerals have on promoting testosterone levels, then there remains no doubt as to the tremendous importance of micronutrients in achieving one’s athletic goals.  

Bonus

US National Library of Medicine: Magnesium boosts testosterone levels of martial artists

 

How are endurance athletes more prone to deficiencies? 

Endurance athletes sweat more. As a result, they lose many important minerals. Some of the key nutrients important for athletes that are lost in sweating are: -

 

Sodium

 

Endurance athletes lose a lot of sodium due to sweating and are subsequently running low on that nutrient.  This is compounded if the athlete is consistently training in warm weather conditions. Sodium is an important nutrient that helps the nervous and muscular system. 

 

Iron

 

For the same reason, endurance athletes are found to have depleted iron levels. Iron is important for athletes since it helps deliver oxygen to the muscles. 

 

Magnesium

 

Magnesium is also lost through sweating, and is important for optimal muscle contraction. If an athlete wants to continually increase his or her strength levels, then he needs to ensure a higher level of magnesium intake. 

 

B vitamins

 

Certain studies have found endurance athletes to be low on a few of the B vitamins, and this was linked to a high carbohydrate intake that the athletes were consuming in order to recover faster. B vitamins help with the following: -

Vitamin B1

  • helps in muscle contractibility 

 

Vitamin B2

  • helps metabolise iron to maintain oxygen levels in the blood, thereby decreasing muscle fatigue. 

Vitamin B3

  • helps in the creation of adrenal hormones, thereby aiding recovery

  • supports blood circulation and lowering triglyceride and cholesterol levels in the blood

  • helps maintain insulin sensitivity, thereby aiding the use of nutrients into muscle cells. 

Vitamin B5

  • aids cholesterol synthesis, a precursor in the production of testosterone, the key muscle building hormone

 

Vitamin B6

  • helps metabolise protein, and helps the body use protein for fuel through gluconeogenesis when required

 

Vitamin B7

  • helps metabolise carbohydrates and fats

 

Vitamin B12

  • helps in the repair of damaged cells

balanzit provides your body with all of the vitamins above along with all the required minerals along with pre and probiotics to aid absorption and key herbal concentrates to help maintain immunity during stressful exercise sessions, so that your body can function optimally day after day. 

Learn more about the ingredients of balanzit.

References

  • Weaver CM, et al. Exercise and iron status. J Nutr 1992 Mar;122(3 Suppl):782-7.

  • Rodriguez NR, et al. American college of sports medicine position stand nutrition and athletic performance. Med. Sci. Sports Exerc. 2009;41(3):709-731.

  • Ruxton C, Cobb R. Benefits of Iron for Sport and Exercise. Network Health Dietitians Magazine. 2015;108:44-47.

 
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