Catabolism

Also known as destructive metabolism, catabolism is the process of cellular synthesis that creates energy that the body uses for all activity, from exercise to maintaining core temperature.

It works by breaking down larger molecules into smaller molecules and is the opposite of anabolism.

It is a vital part of the metabolism process in the body.

See Also: Anabolism

Carbohydrate

What Is Carbohydrate?

Carbohydrate is one of the three main macronutrients and is the preferred source of energy in the body, because it can be metabolised and used very quicky.

When you eat carbohydrates, they get broken down into glucose to provide energy to your body with any unused glucose being converted into glycogen and stored in your muscles and liver for future use.

It’s believed that your liver can store approximately 100g of glycogen which is used to maintain blood glucose levels between meals. Whereas, your muscles can typically store 400 – 500g of glycogen which is used to provide energy to enable movement.

Carbohydrates also aid in the proper function of your heart, brain, kidneys, and muscles, and is important for intestinal health and digestion.

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Useful Resources

What Is the Meaning of Carbohydrates? via livestrong.com

Do Carbs Make You Fat? Thoughts On Exercise & Fat Loss via liftlearngrow.com 

Essential Guide to Carbohydrates via  myfitnesspal.com


Branch Chain Amino Acids (BCAA)

BCAAs are 3 of the 9 essential amino acids that cannot be produced by the body and therefore must be obtained in the diet.

  • Leucine

  • Isoleucine

  • Valine

BCAAs are often taken as a supplement for those training in a fasted state as they can increase muscle protein synthesis, prevent muscle breakdown and may increase muscle growth over time.

However, they can also be found in many dietary protein sources like meat and eggs.

 

Anabolism

Also known as constructive metabolism, anabolism is the process of cellular synthesis that allows your body to maintain and grow new cells/tissues.

It works by constructing larger molecules out of smaller molecules and is the opposite of catabolism.

It is a vital part of the metabolism process in the body.

See Also: Catabolism

Eccentric Contraction

Any movement where there is tension in the muscle as it lengthens i.e. the downwards movement of the bicep curl or the lowering of the bench press.

Eccentric contraction can be voluntary;

  • Controlling the downward movement of shoulder press

or involuntary;

  • Being unable to control a weight to heavy for you.

Energy Balance

What Is The Energy Balance Equation?

The more you eat the more you calorie (energy) input is increased and the more active you are the more your calorie (energy) output is increased to fuel this activity.

If your calorie input is higher than its output you will gain weight and if your input is lower than your output you will lose weight.

This change in energy is called the energy balance equation.

The energy balance equation is the relationship between the calories you consume through food/drink and the calories you expend through maintaining homeostasis and any activity you perform.

The energy balance has 3 basic rules:

  1. You will gain weight if your energy input is greater than your energy output
  2. You will lose weight if your energy input is less than your energy output
  3. You will neither gain nor lose weight if your energy input is equal to your energy output

These rules are the reason why calories are so important when it comes to weight manipulation.

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Useful Resources

All About Energy Balance via precisionnutrition.com

Energy Balance And Its Components via.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov


Hypertrophy

What Is Hypertrophy?

The term used to describe the increase in muscle size associated with muscle growth. There is research that suggests there are in fact two types of muscle growth:

Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy

Sarcoplasmic muscle growth refers to muscle growth through an increase in the volume of the non-contractile muscle cell fluid (sarcoplasm). This means that whilst the size of the muscle increases through training there is no increase in muscular strength due to an increase in the cross-sectional area but a decrease in density of muscle fibres.

This type of muscle growth is associated with a swelling of the muscles as the number of fluid increases and is usually described as “bodybuilder” training; higher reps with light to moderate load.

Myofibrillar Hypertrophy

On the other hand, myofibrillar muscle growth refers to an actual increase in the number and size of muscle fibres. This enlargement of the muscle is caused by an increase in myofibrils which in turn allow the muscle to produce a greater amount of force.

This muscle growth is associated with a denser looking muscle sported by, for example, gymnasts and other athletes with good aesthetics and a high level of relative strength who train using moderate reps and moderate to high load.

Are There Actually 2 Types Of Muscle Growth?

There is a lot of debate about the validity of sarcoplasmic muscle growth and whether it exists or not.

Sarcoplasmic muscle growth has research on both sides of the fence and appears to have come to the forefront as an explanation for the discrepancy in strength between bodybuilders and weightlifters, i.e. why a 200 something lb bodybuilder can get out-lifted by 100 something lb weightlifter.

The idea is that bodybuilders have ‘non-functional’ sarcoplasmic muscle growth which allows them to get bigger but not stronger.

This leads people to argue that if you want to be strong with dense muscles you should train using moderate reps and high load to create myofibrillar hypertrophy and if you want size irrespective of strength then you should use high reps with a light to moderate load.

However, there are other reasons for this difference in strength between bodybuilders and powerlifters.

Namely, the skill component of lifting, for instance, if you lift very heavy loads when squatting frequently, then you’ll get better at doing exactly that. It’s no secret that bodybuilders lift differently with a focus on volume and not strength which helps to explain this difference in muscle size and relative strength.

Whichever way you look at it there are arguments and research for and against the existent of sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, see 'useful resources' for more on this.

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Macronutrients (Macros)

What Are Macronutrients?

Macronutrients, also known as macros are the 3 primary source of calories for us humans.

Each macro plays a specific role in the body and provides a number of calories per gram.

  • Protein has 4 calories per gram
  • Fat has 9 calories per gram
  • Carbohydrate has 4 calories per gram

Each of the above macronutrients provides both calories and nutritional value to the body. However, there is a fourth macronutrient that provides calories but no nutritional value.

  • Alcohol has 7 calories per gram but no nutritional value

Knowing the number of calories provided by each macronutrient allows you to effectively meet your daily calorie needs and in turn; lose, maintain or gain weight.

To determine how much of each macronutrient, you need in your diet you first need to understand the roles they play in your body once they’ve been eaten.

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Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT)

What Is Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis?

NEAT is the name for all the activity you do which is sleeping, eating or exercising. It refers to the kind of job you work, how much you move during the day (i.e. do you take the stairs or the lift), housework and how much you fidget. (1)

NEAT can vary wildly between different people and for some, it can account for a large amount of additional calorie output daily and can often explain why some people struggle to put on weight (because they underestimate their calorie needs).

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