"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

"The best way to predict your future is to create it." Abraham Lincoln

Lincoln High School Statesman

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The science behind “getting gains”

Using+free+weights+is+the+easiest+way+to+get+started+lifting.
Leah Mannes
Using free weights is the easiest way to get started lifting.

When I went back to the gym after New Year’s Day, something was different. The parking lot was full. As people enter the new year, they set goals and resolutions, and a common goal is to start working out and get fit. Dedication, consistency, and hard work are essential to achieve this goal. Yet, understanding the science behind building muscle and getting in shape makes the process easier, so here is the basic information that one should know.

1. Incorporate lifting

Lifting more efficiently builds and tones muscles more than cardio or HIT workouts alone, so it is smart to include lifting in one’s workouts. Progressively lifting heavier weights applies greater stress than what one’s muscles were used to, activating muscle cells. According to Medical News Today, lifting weights damages and injures one’s muscle fibers. However, after the workout, the fibers fuse and form new muscle protein strands, increasing muscle mass. Muscle growth is essential to getting in shape because having more muscle increases one’s metabolism since muscle burns more calories than fat. 

2. Eat more protein

Another way to build muscle is by including more protein in one’s diet. Good sources of protein are meat, fish, eggs and dairy products. In the article “Nutrients”, Dr. John Carbone writes that increasing protein intake is the best way for free amino acids to get into one’s body and build muscle. During muscle growth or muscle protein synthesis, amino acids latch onto skeletal muscle proteins and repair damaged muscle fibers. Thus, eating more protein will build muscle quicker.

3. Take rest days

Surprisingly, spending hours at the gym every single day could limit progress instead of helping one achieve their goals. This is because muscle growth and muscle protein synthesis occur when one is not working out. After a workout, the muscles are torn and damaged, and they need time to recover and repair themselves. This usually takes 24 to 48 hours, so one shouldn’t train the same muscle group every day. Additionally, many people find that taking at least one rest day a week is beneficial for letting their muscles recover and grow. Still, one can be active on a rest day by completing a light activity such as taking a walk or doing some yoga. 

Starting to go to the gym for the first time can be intimidating, especially if one does not know how to start. However, knowing how the body works can make it easier, and one will understand how to get the gains they want.

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About the Contributor
Leah Mannes, Staff Writer
Leah Mannes is a junior and a first-year staff writer for the Statesman. She is a part of the LHS soccer and basketball teams and participates in SNHS and MNHS. Mannes can often be found blasting Zach Bryan in her car, rewatching “The Notebook” or using her digital camera to capture moments with her friends. If she seems lost in her own world, it is probably because she is daydreaming about moving to the mountains.
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