Bodies and the Buff Factor
Packing on muscle is easy for some and difficult for others. As with weight loss, body type and genetics largely determines the degree of difficulty in accomplishing a significant muscle gain. You may see physiques in the media that you would like to attain; however, you must take into account who you are, and who (or what body) you are aiming for. For example, if someone is 6’3 and 140 pounds with a goal of looking ‘buff’ they have a long road ahead of them. In order for this hypothetical individual to obtain the physique he desires, he’ll probably have to gain 60-80 pounds of muscle. It will take a long time for him not only to grow that muscle, but to build up the strength required to lift the weight that will allow his muscles to become the size that he wants. Our 6’3 man has long limbs, which means that his muscles are longer. The longer the limb/muscle, the more potential it has for strength gains; however, aesthetically speaking a long arm that can lift the same amount of weight as a short arm will look ‘weaker’ because in order for the long limbed among us to become ‘buff’, they must lift more weight. Their strength is spread out across their long muscles. (The reverse is also true. This might explain why shorter men tend to look more in shape than taller men. Less weight is required for them to obtain their physiques.) In order for the tall and short among us to make the muscle gains that they desire, they will have to lift weights that they find significantly heavy. It is important to be challenged while lifting because this forces the muscles to grow. Heavy weights and short reps employ fast twitch muscles and encourage your body to grow more of them. Generally speaking everyone has two basic types of muscles; fast and slow twitch. While fast twitch muscles take on short amounts of extreme stress, slow twitch muscles work well over long periods of time under less stress. Depending on genetics and body type, your body may be more prone to one than the other. This will make the task of lifting heavy weights either more or less difficult. Even if you’ve lost this genetic lottery, you can train your body to lift heavy weights. It will become easier because your body will (likely) adapt and grow more fast twitch muscles. It is harder for some than others to change their bodies. Don’t be discouraged. If you work and train hard, you will eventually see positive results.