Do you need to avoid alcohol if you want to build up your muscles

How muscles grow

In order for your muscles to grow, you need to exercise and consume enough protein. Heavy training will start the process of building muscle, and protein will serve as a building material. These factors do not depend on alcohol — you can easily go to the gym, eat protein foods and at the same time drink alcohol every night.

However, protein and exercise are only basic requirements.

Muscle building is also affected by:

    • the ability of amino acids, the building blocks of muscle, to penetrate cells;
    • the rate of protein creation and destruction in tissues;
    • the amount of hormones that help or hinder weight gain.

Alcohol affects all these factors, and below we will analyze how exactly.

How alcohol affects protein synthesis

Both high and low doses of alcohol inhibit the creation of protein in muscle cells — protein synthesis.

An hour after drinking alcohol, protein synthesis decreases by 23%, and after 24 hours-by 63%. Especially strongly alcohol inhibits this process in the muscle fibers of type II, which quickly increase in size. That is, it is in those tissues that all bodybuilders pray for.

However, most of the studies on the effects of alcohol on muscle were conducted on mice that were given huge doses of ethanol. A large amount of alcohol has a bad effect on people. Alcoholics who consume more than 100 g (2 liters of beer, 250 g of vodka) a day often suffer from myopathy – the destruction of muscle tissue. One to two-thirds of drinkers have muscle atrophy, which leads to frequent falls and difficulties even when walking.

As for moderate doses of alcohol, it is not known whether they affect protein synthesis in humans.


    • Ethanol reduces protein synthesis, but it needs to be constantly consumed in large doses.
    • Alcoholism can cause myopathy — the destruction of muscle tissue.
    • Small doses of alcohol in the future can slow down the formation of protein, but the effect is not proven.

How alcohol affects the level of hormones

Effect on testosterone

Testosterone is one of the most important hormones for maintaining good physical shape, building muscle and reducing fat.

Alcohol reduces the level of testosterone, but for significant changes, you need to drink alcohol often and in large quantities. If you drink one and a half to two bottles of beer every day for three weeks, testosterone in men will decrease by only 6.8%, and in women it will remain unchanged.

More large-scale drinking is reflected in the level of hormones much faster: after 16 hours after taking 120 g of ethanol (this is more than five cans of beer, 300 g of vodka or almost a whole bottle of wine), testosterone in men decreases by 23%.

Smaller doses of alcohol have almost no effect on hormones. A single drink of one and a half cans of beer or 150 g of vodka after training does not affect the level of testosterone, luteinizing hormone and corticotropin.

Another thing is really heavy training for strength or endurance and large doses of alcohol. 200-300 g of strong drink after such loads will significantly reduce recovery and weaken the muscles.

Effect on insulin

Insulin is simply necessary for building weight. This hormone triggers protein synthesis in ribosomes and prevents catabolism – the breakdown of protein. In addition, it helps glucose and amino acids to enter from the blood into the muscle tissue.

The higher the sensitivity of the cells to insulin, the better it supplies them with glucose for glycogen storage and amino acids for muscle building.

Moderate alcohol consumption has been shown to improve insulin sensitivity. But to increase it, you need to drink alcohol in small quantities and periodically. A single intake of small doses of alcohol does not change the level of insulin.


    • Small doses of alcohol slightly reduce the level of testosterone.
    • Testosterone drops significantly only after heavy training and taking a large amount of alcohol.
    • Moderate consumption of alcoholic beverages increases the sensitivity to insulin.

How to drink, so as not to harm the figure

The only requirement is moderation. 30-40 g of ethanol per day does not harm the build-up of muscle mass and does not lead to the accumulation of fat. In terms of drinks, it will be 700-900 g of beer with a strength of 4.5%, 300-400 g of wine with a strength of 10%, 75-100 g of vodka.

Ethanol combined with exercise reduces lipid peroxidation, which causes oxidative stress and increases the risk of atherosclerosis. So, if you can not give up alcohol and worry about your heart — go in for sports.

Moderate alcohol consumption — no more than 30-40 g of ethanol per day-does not harm your physical fitness.

Keep drinking your glass of beer or wine after your workout if it relaxes you. But do not forget that alcohol should not replace you with full meals with a lot of protein. Without dietary protein, your results will be more than modest.


How to gain muscles if you have a skinny complexion

Why it is difficult for you to gain muscle mass

Scientists have noticed that the ability to build muscle mass is different for everyone. So, some people in 12 weeks of training can gain 1.6 kg of muscle, and others in the same time will not add at all.

And it’s not just about eating habits and the amount of exercise. You’re just out of luck.

The role of muscle struction

    • You have fewer type II muscle fibers — those that work without oxygen, get tired quickly, and add a lot of volume.
    • Your muscles have fewer receptors that respond to testosterone-the hormone without which they will not grow.
    • You don’t have new ribosomes created so quickly. These are the organelles of the cell that take amino acids and, according to the instructions of the mRNA, make a protein out of them. The ribosome factory is located in the nucleolus of the cell, and your company is slightly behind in terms of production volumes.

But this does not mean that you will not be able to build muscle mass. The mechanism of muscle growth is the same in all people. You just have to spend more time and money on food and a sports pit than those who won the genetic lottery and go all so athletic.

How to train to gain muscle mass

When the muscles contract, their fibers experience mechanical stress, the receptors feel it, and a chain of molecular reactions is triggered, which ends with protein synthesis. He completes the muscles, increasing their volume.

Of course, the muscles contract in any work — for example, when you get up from a chair or run a marathon. But in the first case, the tension is too small for growth, and in the second, mainly type I muscle fibers are involved, which are reluctant to increase in volume. For noticeable muscle growth, you need to work fast type II fibers (which you already have a little). And to make them do it, you need to pull iron.

How many times a week to train

Post-workout protein production increases from 24 to 48 hours. If you re-load the muscle before the synthesis drops to its previous values, some of your effort will be lost.

So exercise two or three times a week and don’t do two days of training in a row.

By exercising more often, you will not only not get the benefits for muscle growth, but you can also overwork the central nervous system. This will reduce your performance, and therefore the incentives for muscle growth.

How many and what exercises to perform

At each workout, perform 4 to 8 strength exercises on different muscle groups. Be sure to include multi-joint movements, that is, those that involve several joints and muscle groups: squats, lunges, deadlift, bench lifts, and others. They train the whole body, improve coordination, allow you to work with large weights and give the right incentive for muscle growth.

However, it is not necessary to build a training session only on such activity. So you risk to tire the central nervous system and reduce the indicators. Dilute the mentioned exercises with single-jointed ones: flexing the arms on the biceps, extending the arms on the triceps, bringing the arms together in the “butterfly” simulator (chest), and others.

In addition, at each training session, perform one exercise to strengthen the abs and back extensors. These muscles help you keep your balance and perform all the movements without harming your spine.

How many sets and reps to do

Perform the exercises in 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps. Choose the weight so that the last repetitions in the approach are given with difficulty. The final approach can be performed before the muscles fail: when you can no longer do a single time.


    • Exercise 2-3 times a week.
    • Perform 4-8 strength exercises on different muscle groups.
    • Include both multi-joint and single-joint movements in one workout.
    • Do 3-5 sets of 8-12 reps.
    • Choose the weight so that the last repetitions in the approach are given with difficulty. Do the last approach until the muscles fail.

How to eat to gain weight

To gain weight in general, you need to eat more, and to grow exactly the muscles — to monitor the amount of protein.

How many calories to consume

First, calculate your daily calorie intake using the Mifflin-Geor formula:

For men: (5 + (10 × weight [kg]) + (6.25 × height [cm]) − (5 × age [years])) × 1.55 (adjusted for training 3 times a week).

For women: ((10 × weight [kg]) + (6.25 × height [cm]) − (5 × age [years]) – 161) × 1.55 (adjusted for training 3 times a week).

Increase your calorie intake by 15%. This is how much you will need to consume every day.

That an increase of 15% will not necessarily help you gain weight. It all depends on your metabolism. Eat this way from two weeks to a month and, if there is no progress, increase the calorie content by another 15% (from the original norm). During the first month, you will get used to eating more, so it will not be so difficult to add the next portion of calories.

How many calories should come from protein, fat, and carbohydrates

To gain muscle mass, you need everything. The protein will be used as a building material and a signal for muscle growth.
Carbohydrates will help to produce the hormone insulin and insulin-like growth factor-1, without which the muscles will not grow. And they will also give you the strength to train. Fats are needed for the production of hormones, including testosterone.

Your daily diet should consist of 25% protein, 20% fat, and 55% carbohydrates. In this case, the protein should not exceed 2 g per kilogram of body weight. If you get more protein as a result of the calculations, add the remaining calories in the form of carbohydrates.

Let’s say your daily calorie intake is 2,500 kcal (a 30-year-old man weighing 70 kg). You add up 15% (2 500 × 0,15 + 2 500 = 2 875 kcal). To calculate, you need to remember that 1 g of protein or carbohydrates contains 4.1 kcal, and 1 g of fat-9 kcal.

Thus, a man from the example should eat 140 g of protein (70 kg × 2) per day. At the same time, 25% of its daily caloric content will be 718 kcal. In order not to exceed the protein norm, we calculate this way: 718-574 kcal (140 g x 4.1 kcal = 574 kcal) = 144 kcal. Add this amount to the carbohydrates. Now we consider the norm of fat and carbohydrates: 64 g of fat (2,875 kcal x 0.2 = 575 kcal-9 kcal in 1 gram of fat) and 420 g of carbohydrates (2,875 kcal x 0.55 = 1,581 kcal + 144 kcal, remaining from protein-4.1 kcal).

How many times a day to eat and when to do it

Divide your daily meals into an equal amount — for example, six meals. Each of them should contain at least 0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.

It is not necessary to consume a dose of protein immediately after training. You can do this for 1.5-2 hours before it, calmly work out for 1-2 hours, drive home and eat again. In this case, the anabolic response will be no less than when taking supplements directly in the gym.


    • Calculate your calorie allowance and add 15% to it. Eat like this for 2-4 weeks. If there is no progress, add another 15%.
    • Determine the calories you need to get from macronutrients: 25% protein, 20% fat, 55% carbohydrates.
    • Count the grams of macronutrients (1 g of protein or carbohydrates — 4.1 kcal, 1 g of fat-9 kcal).
    • Protein should not exceed 2 g per kilogram of body weight. If you get more, add the rest of the calories to the carbs.
    • Divide all the grams by the number of meals. Each time, eat at least 0.25 g of protein per 1 kg of body weight.


The important function of muscle memory

Physical activities or exercises are always more difficult to perform the first time than after even a long break. This feature is due to muscle memory.

Muscle memory is associated with the nervous system and changes in muscle fibers. It appears as a result of constant physical actions for a long time. Its main task is to promote recovery after a break, for example, related to a health condition.

To understand how muscle memory works, you can use a simple example – if a person has not driven a car for a long time, but previously often did it, sitting back behind the wheel, his muscles will remember how and with what intensity to press the pedals and how to change gears.

Muscles remember everything

For a long time, you went to your goal-the abs and biceps became prominent, the body became the way you wanted it to be. However, it is important not only to make muscle mass, but also to maintain it. Otherwise, the result of training will disappear over time.

According to research, 14 days after extreme exercise, a person loses about 12 percent of their muscle mass.

Often there is a situation when a person wants muscles, but does not go to the gym, due to the fact that the effect is only from constant training. But you can’t go to the gym regularly all your life. Moreover, after a few weeks, the effect will begin to weaken significantly.

Scientific view on muscle memory

Scientists from Norway concluded that systematic physical activity promotes the formation of new nuclei in muscle cells, and the number of genes that regulate protein for the growth of muscle tissue increases. When there are a lot of nuclei, the muscles build up.

But the most important factor of the study is that the number of nuclei does not decrease after 14 days or 3 months. They go into the waiting phase. How long the maximum can last waiting, until the end is unknown, the study continues. However, there is an assumption that the new cores do not die off at all. When a person resumes physical activity, the cores “wake up” and the former form returns faster compared to people who have just started going to the gym.

The accelerated process of returning to good physical shape is due to the fact that the body does not need to form new nuclei, wasting time on this.

Where is muscle memory located and what are its features?

There is no memory directly in the muscles. It is located in the brain, which is good at remembering information about frequently repeated physical activity. If the same action is done many times, the person begins to perform it automatically with minimal involvement of the brain. He has stored the information in his memory and will use it when appropriate.

This type of memory always works, thanks to it, people do not hesitate to walk, run, swim. Today, there is no clear answer to how many times you need to perform an action for the brain to remember it. Some scientists say that the action should be repeated 10 thousand hours, others-300-500 times.

Despite such differences in research results, experts agree that muscle memory exists. Even if a person was engaged in sports as a child, then in adulthood he will be able to quickly return to the familiar exercises once. However, it is important that the motor skill is correct. It will be difficult to retrain.

Experienced coaches know that it is better to teach an athlete from scratch than to retrain. They believe that the skill is formed in memory in about three weeks.

Why do you need to train your muscle memory?

Training such a memory reduces the risk of injury during exercise, and it also promotes rapid recovery, for example, after health problems. As practice shows, athletes recover faster after a stroke or heart attack compared to other people.

Returning to the sport after a break should be gradual. It is important to make sure that the brain does not replace the necessary muscle memory with false memories. This also happens. If there is no substitution, you can increase the load.

The importance and benefits of muscle memory are obvious. It helps not only in sports, but also while driving a car, riding a bicycle, when performing simple and complex actions.


6 things that kill your muscles

When you start going to the gym, you wait for the moment when the muscles will appear and the body will look like a picture from the magazine “Men’s Health”. But it takes half a year or a year, and the muscles have not increased much. Visually, of course, you can see the changes, the dropped pounds and the overall tightness. But the shoulders have not increased, and the muscles on the legs are also far from ideal. Most likely, mistakes were made during training.

What kills muscle growth and how to fix it

1. Cardio loads at the wrong time
Running before strength exercises reduces the effectiveness of strength exercises by 10%. It is better to separate strength and cardio training. In one day, do aerobic exercises: walking, running, ellipse. The next day-by force. This will give the body extra time to recover and speed up the process of building muscle mass.

2. Intense cardio
In the process of cardio exercise, energy is actively consumed. If there is no reserve of fat tissue, then the body takes energy from the muscles. The muscles begin to break down and you will not see the cherished biceps. If you like cardio, but at the same time build muscle, increase the daily diet. To build muscle, it is better to get calories with protein, after a workout, protein shakes or bars are suitable.

3. Calorie deficit
It is impossible to lose weight and build muscle at the same time. You need to do one thing. Don’t forget that muscles don’t grow out of thin air. To build muscle, you can not eat with a calorie deficit.

4. Small weights
In order for the muscles to start growing, the body must feel an overload. Working with the same weight constantly, the muscles adapt and no longer increase. Make a training plan and enter into it a gradual increase in the load. You can enhance the result by either adding weight or the number of repetitions.

5. Lack of sleep
If you think that the muscles grow during a workout in the gym — it is not so. In the gym, the muscles receive a signal that it’s time to build muscle mass. Muscles grow during rest and especially intensively during sleep. So it’s time to forget about the lack of sleep and start getting enough sleep. The norm is 8 hours of night sleep.

6. Stress
Delayed muscle growth is sometimes associated with great psychological overload of the body. Constant stress increases the production of the hormone cortisol. The hormone increases the breakdown of muscle fibers to amino acids and compensates for the lack of energy.

If you are constantly nervous and under stressful conditions, your muscles will simply not be able to grow.

To build muscle mass, you need to eat properly and in a balanced way, get enough sleep, increase the load and stop with stress. Only an integrated approach will help you get the right terrain and volumes.


How certain amino acids affect the body

The importance of amino acids

The topic of the importance of amino acids for muscle recovery (and muscle mass growth) after exercise is well studied. And we usually consume different amino acids together when we eat protein-rich foods — meat, fish, milk, cheese, eggs, nuts, beans, and so on.

But modern technologies allow the production of isolated amino acids.

Key neurotransmitters are synthesized from amino acids — for example, serotonin (its low level is considered one of the main factors in the development of depression) is formed from tryptophan.

Therefore, the use of individual amino acids can affect the brain and hormonal balance in a way that the use of a mixture of different amino acids will not affect. In the latter case, they will compete to overcome the blood-brain barrier, which will not significantly increase the level of a particular amino acid.

Can some amino acids in isolated form affect performance in sports, changing the ” brain chemistry” and hormonal balance? And what research is there on this topic?

Amino acids and affection on performance


It is a precursor of dopamine and norepinephrine, and in theory, its consumption should have a positive effect on functioning under stress. But the results of studies with athletes are mixed.

In one case, cyclists in very hot conditions took 150 mg of tyrosine per kilogram of body weight 60 minutes before the test, and this improved the time “to failure”. The study’s authors concluded that tyrosine helped cyclists cope with the physical stress of heat and exercise; and reduced levels of tyrosine in the brain impair performance in sports in hot conditions.

And another study did not show an improvement in athletic performance, but there was an improvement in memory and information processing, so the author concludes: for those who are important for cognitive functions in difficult conditions, tyrosine can help. These are, for example, ultramarathoners, participants of adventure races, etc.

Another study in military personnel found no positive effects from the use of tyrosine before exercise.


Not so actively researched in the light of exercise. But there was something: it showed a significant effect on fat burning during exercises with submaximal intensity when taking 3 g of phenylalanine before them.

Although it can be useful at the beginning of the season for fat burning, this approach is not recommended when participating in competitions, when you need maximum results and the intensity is also maximum, and the availability of carbohydrates plays an important role.


It is added to many drinks and is claimed to have an effect on focus and performance. But there is no convincing evidence. 6 grams of taurine did not help runners in one study improve their performance in high-intensity exercise, just as 1.7 grams did not help cyclists in another study.

A relatively recent review of seven studies showed little effect on performance in endurance sports. And there is no evidence about the effect of taurine on mood, cognitive function, or performance in sprints or high-intensity exercise.


It is found in small amounts in tea. It has a positive effect on cognitive function, especially when combined with caffeine. It has been proven that 100-200 mg of theanine, coupled with 50-150 mg of caffeine:

– improve mood and cognitive function;

– promote the concentration of attention on external stimuli and reduce distraction;

– contribute to increased vigilance during the execution of task on attention.

Although further research is needed, there is already evidence that theanine with caffeine before exercise can be beneficial for athletes who need skills, attention, and concentration combined with physical effort.

General recommendations

Those who compete in challenging environments and who value cognitive function may benefit from taking tyrosine supplements. Phenylalanine may promote better fat burning during submaximal-intensity endurance exercises, but it definitely won’t help and can hurt during high-intensity exercise. Athletes in endurance sports may get small benefits from consuming taurine, but the evidence for its effectiveness is weak. Theanine in combination with caffeine can be useful for athletes who need concentration, visual processing, and motor skills — for example, during training, learning new movements and skills.


How to make training with your own weight more effective

In this article, we will look at four ways to change training with your own weight to increase its effectiveness for gaining strength and improving your body structure. In addition, we will give you some nutrition tips to support your workouts.

Are self-weight training effective?

Before we dive into the subtleties of increasing the intensity of training with your own weight, we will dispel one popular misconception — that such training is suitable only for “beginners” and can not provide serious results. This is a completely baseless claim.

It is based on the assumption that training with your own weight is less effective than strength training, since you do not exert yourself as much. Obviously, the last statement is true. However, this omits the fact that training involves more than just gaining strength.

There are different types of power. And if training with your own weight is really not the best option for increasing the result by one repetition, then they can be incredibly effective in improving muscle endurance and metabolism. In addition, they can significantly increase the time of muscle tension, ensuring muscle hypertrophy and improving such indicators as stability, balance and coordination.

Don’t underestimate training with your own weight. If you “lack” them, then you just need to increase their intensity. You need to change the exercises so as to increase their complexity. In the long run, simply increasing the number of repetitions will not be effective in training with your own weight.

Four ways to Optimize your Own Weight Training for Muscle Strength and Volume

There are a few simple changes that you can make to your own weight training to gain strength and increase muscle hypertrophy.

Change the pace
A certain pace of exercise is a great way to increase the time of tension of the desired muscle groups. You should set a target time for performing the exercises and stick to it to increase the time in tension. By increasing this time, we load the muscles more and strain the muscle fibers, which can increase hypertrophy.

To set the tempo, use the following four-number diagram to set the target levels for performing the movements. For example:

Temp: 4110

4 seconds-eccentric force/downward movement
1 second-pause at the bottom
1 second-concentric force/upward movement
0 seconds-pause at the top

For more hypertrophy, increase the time for eccentric and concentric effort. To gain strength, extend the pauses.

Do one and a half reps
Another great way to increase strength and tension time is to do one and a half repetitions. The implication is that you do a full repeat, then another half-repeat, and count it all as one repeat.

For example, doing push-ups you go down in the normal way, then do not rise to the top just to the middle,and then go down again , and then a rise. And it all counts as one” one-and-a-half ” repeat. An incomplete repeat can also be done at the beginning of a general repeat. For example, when squatting, you can go down to the middle, stand up, then perform a full squat, and count it all as one repeat.

Training with your own weight on power
Training with your own weight is very effective for increasing power. The necessary exercises are safe and involve almost no risk of injury, as they can be easily changed as necessary. For example, you can change the height of the jump when squatting with a jump so that you jump to a convenient height for you to avoid injury.

To increase the power when training with your own weight, simply add an element of increased body distance from the point of contact (ground). When doing push-ups, push off from the floor so that your hands leave the ground. When squatting and lunging, jump up until your feet are off the ground.

To increase the difficulty and power of your own weight exercises, slow down the eccentric phase until it comes to a complete stop, then quickly perform the concentric phase. For example, when squatting with jumps, go down slowly and stop, keeping control of the body, then push off the ground sharply and powerfully.

Endurance training with your own weight
In addition to increasing repetitions, how else can you increase muscle endurance when training with your own weight? Here are two great ways to achieve this.

First, do the combined movements. To do this, simply combine two or more exercises. It’s like doing a circular workout, where you do one exercise after another in a deliberate and purposeful way, but there are some small differences. With a combined movement, one complete repetition consists of repetitions of individual exercises.

For example, one squat, one push-up, and one lunge count as one total rep. This approach is convenient because the total number of repetitions is reduced.

Secondly, limit yourself in time. This is a relatively simple change. Focus not on the number of repetitions, but on the time. To increase endurance, you need to do more in the same period of time.

Let’s say we want to increase the endurance of the lower body and for this we decided to do squats and lunges. Usually we will set a goal for repetitions with the allocation of time to rest. When you focus on the time we will just keep doing the exercises, occasionally pausing to rest. For example, with a goal of 15 minutes, you need to do a squat and lunge constantly, resting only when you have no strength left at all.

Four Nutrition Tips for Training with Your Own Weight

Since training with your own weight is effective for developing strength, improving physical fitness and body structure in the vast majority of trainees, they deserve the same attention to nutrition as regular training.

We will not discuss the subtleties of nutrition before and after training. Let’s just take as a basis the fact that we need sufficient recovery and energy to make progress. Many fall into the trap of delusions about training with their own weight: “They are so simple, they can be done more often and do not think about nutrition after training.”

This logic can lead to some problems, so it is definitely worth eating well and maintaining the body. If you regularly do thoughtful workouts with your own weight, then use these three tips.

1. Maintain consistency
At first, this advice may seem strange, but try to keep the same meal schedule and diet as with normal strength training.

The simpler, the better. Eat natural and high-quality foods, try to make your meals rich in nutrients.

2. Remember about protein
Supplements can help with intense training with your own weight. As with traditional strength training, protein is important for muscle recovery and growth. If you don’t feel like you’re eating enough protein every day, try a protein shake that gives you the right amount of calories and essential nutrients.

3. Try Creatine
Creatine is an excellent supplement for increasing strength, endurance and power. Although weight training may not seem as heavy as traditional strength training, creatine can still be useful if you want to improve your overall fitness.

Creatine is easily absorbed. In addition, it is one of the few supplements on the market, the benefits of which are described in many studies.

‌‌‌‌4. Consider taking BCAAs
If you want to enrich your diet with amino acids and are looking for a delicious drink that will provide the body with essential amino acids and help in the fight against hunger, then you should definitely consider BCAAs, or branched chain amino acids. They can help increase your intake of leucine, an amino acid thought to play a role in muscle protein synthesis.

Note: Before you start a new type of training, change your diet, or start taking new supplements, you should always consult your doctor!

General recomendations

Training with your own weight is an effective way to increase your strength, power, endurance, and overall tone. Do not think that they are suitable only for beginners. Be creative and increase their complexity — and they will be effective for you, too. Treat them like regular workouts and don’t forget about proper nutrition and adequate recovery.


All you need to know about creatine

Creatine and it’s functions

Creatine is a naturally occurring substance found mainly in muscle cells in the human body. Creatine is obtained from food, mainly from meat and seafood, a small amount is produced by the body.

Without the supplementation of creatine in the muscles, as a rule, be around 60-80%. Vegetarians don’t get enough creatine from their diet, so they tend to have even lower creatine stores in their muscles, which is why creatine supplements are all the more beneficial.

The main function of creatine is to replenish the stores of adenosine triphosphate (ATP), a molecule that is used for energy production in cells. During short, intense sets of exercises, the ability to quickly restore ATP is partially limited by the creatinine available in the muscles.

Creatine has been extensively studied since 1980. More than 1000 studies have been published. The main benefit of taking creatine supplements is to improve performance in the gym and in life. Most studies that have studied performance enhancement have found that taking creatine during high-intensity exercise improves performance by about 10-20%.

For example, in a study of strength training in men, the group that received creatine was able to perform an average of 1-2 additional repetitions in each of the five bench press sets before muscle failure. It may seem that 1-2 additional repetitions is not much, but over time, the ability to do 10-20% more repetitions leads to an increase in endurance and muscle mass.

Does creatine work for everyone?

Although creatine has been studied primarily in men, most studies involving women seem to show similar benefits of creatine for women. In addition, many studies have been conducted on the effects of creatine on the elderly, and similar results have been obtained. Unfortunately, the effect of creatine is not universal. The response may vary from person to person, ranging from an almost complete lack of performance improvement to a very pronounced improvement.

Is creatine harmful?

Creatine is one of the most studied performance-enhancing supplements. Data on it has been collected for more than 30 years. So we have a lot of evidence to support his safety. There have been claims that creatine can lead to dehydration and muscle cramps, but the best research does not support this information.

In addition, there is a misconception that creatine can contribute to kidney problems. Studies of both short-term and long-term creatine intake in different populations among young and healthy people, as well as among patients and the elderly, have not shown any negative effects of creatine.

Are there any side effects?

The only side effect that is mentioned in all the studies is a small weight gain-mainly due to an increase in the amount of water in the muscles. Not everyone gains weight from creatine, but most studies have shown an average weight gain of just over 1 kg in people who weigh about 75 kg. Weight gain ranges from < 1 kg to > 3 kg.

How do you take creatine?

Creatine is available in different formulations. The cheapest, most popular, and most well – studied is creatine monohydrate. Creatine monohydrate is usually available in tablet and powder form, which are equally effective. The effect of creatine becomes noticeable only when the muscles become sufficiently saturated with creatine. There are two options for taking creatine: “loading” and “no loading”.

Loading: 0.3 g / kg body weight 5-7 days, then 5 g daily. Loading allows you to saturate the muscles with creatine in about a week, when the results will become noticeable. The disadvantage of the loading method is that you have to take a lot of creatine a day.

The most reliable scientific studies do not show a tendency to the occurrence of gastrointestinal disorders on the background of creatine intake. However, the authors of one study suggested that the incidence of gastrointestinal disorders is higher at a dosage of more than 5 g at a time.

Without loading: take 5 g per day. As a rule, muscle saturation with creatine occurs within about 3-4 weeks. Please be patient.

The timing of creatine intake regarding training is often discussed, however, there is no strong scientific argument about what time creatine intake is most useful. If you usually consume a protein shake after a workout, you can add creatine to it for potential benefits, but do not worry if you are used to taking it before a workout.

Unlike supplements such as caffeine, to which the body develops an addiction and their effectiveness decreases over time, the effect of creatine is permanent and the intake of creatine in cycles is not required.

Some advocate the use of creatine in combination with a large amount of carbohydrates to improve absorption and increase the total supply of creatine in the muscles. It is true that carbohydrates help to deliver creatine to the muscles, but studies have not been conducted to prove the positive effect of such a strategy on improving performance.

In addition to creatine monohydrate, there are other forms of creatine, such as creatine hydrochloride (HCl) and creatine ethyl ether. The idea of the advantage of these forms over creatine monohydrate is not confirmed in the modern scientific literature.

The main advantage of creatine hydrochloride is that it is easily soluble in water, although it costs a little more. Some claim that the total required dosage of creatine HCl is lower than that of monohydrate, but this has never been studied. Finally, creatine ethyl ether does not appear to be as effective as creatine monohydrate. Its effectiveness is equal to the placebo effect.


All types of protein powder: from whey to vegan

There are many forms of powdered protein, and each of them contains several amino acids that the body needs to replenish its energy supply and ensure muscle growth.

Protein powder is best absorbed within the first 30 minutes after a vigorous workout. Since a person usually has no appetite after a heavy load, smoothies are a great way to replenish the supply of important proteins.

Whey Protein

Whey is one of the two main proteins found in dairy products. It is more easily absorbed by the human body than the other main milk protein — casein. In addition, the serum is easy to buy, and it is inexpensive, making it a favorite product of both bodybuilders and those who are trying to lose weight by following a high-protein diet.

Whey comes in two main forms: whey protein concentrate and whey protein isolate.

Whey Protein concentrate is made using the traditional cheese production process by separating milk into two components: liquid whey and solid cottage cheese, or milk fat and casein. This liquid whey is then dried into the most common type of whey powder. This version is easy to make and therefore generally cheaper than whey isolate.

Whey Protein Isolate (WPI) is obtained from liquid whey through a special filtration process that removes fat, cholesterol, and lactose from the solution. This process allows the use of whey powder without side effects for those who suffer from lactose intolerance.

Egg White Protein

Egg white protein is exactly what the name says — the dried, powdered form of chicken egg protein. For some people, it has several advantages over whey protein.

For example, people who suffer from allergies to lactose, you can use this protein powder. Although most of the lactose is removed from the whey protein isolate, it may remain in some amount. Egg white or albumin is digested at a moderate rate, which distinguishes it from fast-digested whey or slow-digested casein.

This means that its beneficial effect will last a little longer than when taking a cocktail with whey protein. It is also one of the few complex proteins on the powder market, as it contains all 10 essential amino acids.

Ready-to-use bone broth

Bone broth is a broth with a high protein content, which is prepared from bones and a small amount of meat. It is simmered long enough to extract a lot of collagen, minerals, and other nutrients from the bones. It is easy to prepare at home or purchase in a powder or liquid version.

Bone broth has become a favorite form of protein for many people. It can be drunk as a delicious soup, which is ideal for those people who do not like sweets. Collagen supplies the building blocks for healthy skin, hair, and nails. Because of this, it can slightly improve the situation with thinning hair, brittle nails, wrinkles and dermatological problems.

Bone broth is widely used as an ingredient in savory dishes, as a drinking broth, or as a base for soup.

Vegan and Vegetarian Protein

There are a wide variety of vegan protein options available. Each has its own advantages and taste profiles. Many of them are either sprouted or fermented, which opens up access to many of the nutrients in food and facilitates a person’s ability to digest them.

Pea protein powder provides a powerful and highly hypoallergenic protein boost. It contains a wide range of branched-chain amino acids. .

Soy protein powder is the most widely used vegan protein available. It is better to use fermented and organic powder, as it denatures the xenoestrogen hormones that are naturally present in the plant.

In many cases, vegan protein powders are also mixed together to produce a more complete plant-based food source.

General recomendations

Protein powder is a great product that can be consumed in a variety of other forms. It can be added to recipes for cookies, protein bars, cupcakes, or any other baked goods.

These products are great to take with you on long hikes or use as a snack during an active day. Not only do they taste good — they can also help speed up a person’s metabolism and fully activate the body’s fat-burning generators.

As a result, a person will be able to get rid of more fat and build more muscle.


3 main rules to gain muscles

Let’s be honest, we all want a nice toned body with strong arms, glutes and abs. And more of that, please. More muscles. So if our goal is to grow muscles then we need to take the right steps to achieve that goal.

For example, the way you train for muscle hypertrophy will be slightly different from training to increase strength, power, and so on.

When we talk about muscle mass gain, we define it as hypertrophic adaptation and the response of muscle fibers through progressive overload.

‌‌‌‌The basics of gaining muscle mass

Let’s discuss the three main principles of gaining muscle mass that everyone needs to consider in order to make progress.

1. Choose a high-quality training program for gaining muscle mass.

Why this is important: A proper training program will take into account several variables needed to build muscle, such as progressive overload, adequate volume gain, and an effort tracking system. And these are just some of the main aspects. If they are not included in your training program, it may be worth reviewing such a program or resorting to the help of a trainer.

What mistakes do powerlifters make?: as a rule, when an athlete, despite frequent training, does not gain muscle mass, this is due to the inconsistency of various aspects of his program. Changing programs when gaining muscle mass reduces all efforts to nothing. The result will be frequent transitions from program to program in the hope of finding the “best” or “perfect” plan, whatever it may be.

Social media, as well as a lack of patience and understanding of how muscle gain actually occurs, can affect the frequent change of programs. Without a balanced program (s) to track progress, we miss our opportunities to build muscle.

2. The role of nutrition in gaining muscle mass.

You can go to the gym and work out, stick to your current diet, and build muscle. This is because you are giving the body a new stimulus, and as you continue to do this, the body will adapt.

Why this is important: after a period of what we call “beginner progress” (rapid increase in muscle mass/strength due to the novelty of exercise), it becomes increasingly difficult to gain muscle mass. As with training, we ultimately need to put in a little more effort to continue to succeed — in this case, it dictates the nutrition strategy.

By controlling your total daily calories, macronutrients (protein, fat, carbohydrates), and even the number of meals you eat, you can accelerate your rate of muscle building. For example, if you do not monitor the amount of macronutrients, do not consume enough calories or do not get the right amount of protein, your rate of gaining muscle mass will be much lower than that of other athletes who take these factors into account.

Protein is extremely important for gaining muscle mass. Eating enough protein can help increase muscle mass with a supportive diet and when calories are in excess, and can also help maintain muscle mass when calories are in short supply.

There are many different ways to add more protein to your diet. In addition to animal sources such as beef, poultry, fish, and dairy products, there is a wide variety of protein powders available. For those who consume protein from animal sources, whey protein and casein protein are great options. For vegetarians and vegans, there are many different types of plant protein, including pea protein, soy protein, hemp protein, and many others. Many post-workout muscle recovery mixes also contain protein, along with muscle-supporting nutrients such as the BCAA complex (branched-chain amino acids) and other important amino acids.

What mistakes powerlifters make: what works at the beginning of training doesn’t work afterwards. The more we load the body with training, the more important it is to remember about nutrition and how it fits in with our goals.

For example, with a calorie deficit, the gain of muscle mass is much slower than with a supportive diet or with a small excess of calories. With this in mind, we can precisely align our goals with how we eat to gain muscle mass.

3. Remember that recovery (sleep) is extremely important for gaining muscle mass.

To gain muscle mass, it is not enough just to go to the gym, train and eat right. It should also be remembered that aspects of recovery, such as sleep, can also play a big role in building muscle.

Why this is important: while we sleep, our body produces growth hormone (HGH), which plays a major role in the growth of muscles and their adaptation to power loads. In addition, sleep can improve muscle recovery and growth through the synthesis of muscle protein. Our body thus uses protein to rebuild and restore muscle fibers.

In addition to these two key points, during the REM sleep phase, the body shows a tendency to increase blood flow. Increased blood flow has a beneficial effect on the transport of beneficial recovery products to the muscle fibers. Sleep also helps the muscles relax and relieves tension that occurs during the day and during training.

In addition to sleep, recovery techniques such as massage, ice baths, sauna sessions, and meditation can help us achieve our muscle-building goals.

What mistakes powerlifters make: very often athletes follow the first two aspects described above, but forget about the importance of sleep and other recovery methods. If we don’t provide our muscles with the tools they need to recover and adapt, even the best training plans won’t produce the desired results.

In addition, even a great diet can be useless if you lose sight of aspects of recovery, such as sleep. Lack of sleep can cause an increase in the level of hormones such as cortisol (the stress hormone), which is really detrimental to muscle growth and muscle gain. Cortisol is a catabolic, which means it breaks down molecules, so increasing levels of this hormone can interfere with the synthesis of muscle protein in the body.


Why you train and not muscles grow but fat

Peple who train and want to gain weight face a situation when the weight grows, but not the muscles. You keep training and get more calories and see yourself just getting fatter. Let’s understand the reasons for that and find the ways to avoid that.

How muscles grow?

The reason for the increase in excessive fat is obvious – the consumption of too many calories. But muscles need extra calories to grow? Right. The problem of  “mass growing” people is that they do not quite understand how much energy the muscles need to grow.

For the synthesis of 1 gr. of muscle tissue, approximately 20-22 kilocalories are required. The growth of a kilo of muscle will require about 20,000 calories. This is a lot, so why does so much fat build up, since the requirements are so high?

Because muscles grow very slowly, and increased calorie intake does not affect the speed of muscle growth in any way.

If you are a beginner, you have the highest potential for muscle growth. But 5-6 kg of muscle per year is a good indicator for good genetics. Most can count on 3-4 kg.
Let’s calculate: 5 kg of muscle is 100 000 kcal. For a year. Divide by 365 = 274 kcal per day. Total! How much do you eat extra?

Anything eaten beyond that will go into fat. And these are numbers for beginners. For people experienced in training, the potential for muscle growth is even lower. If your experience is 5+ years of training, you can count on a kilo of muscle per year, maximum. This is an additional 20,000 kcal per year. 50-70 kcal per day extra.

The connection between fat, muscles and calorie intake

So, if you have a large amount of fat (more than 20% for men and more than 30-35% for women), and you want to build muscle, do not try to “sit on the mass”. Reduce your calorie intake by 15%, and exercise actively, increase your protein intake.

If you have been training for a long time, your fat percentage is about 15% (for men), or about 20-30% (for women), you also do not need to “sit on the mass” to build muscle. You need up to 100 kcal per day extra for your muscles to grow.

If you notice that a sharp weight gain begins, this is a sign to reduce the calories intake.

The only case when it is necessary to decently increase the caloric content of food for muscle growth is when the percentage of fat is very low. Less than 10-12% for men and 15% for women.