A colleague of mine at a major bodybuilding magazine once wrote that "bodybuilding is not rocket science." What he meant by that was his feeling that too many bodybuilders often made the process of building muscle far more complicated than it needed to be. A corollary to this is that anybody, even a mentally challenged person, can build a lot of muscle simply by following certain established bodybuilding principles. This fits well with the public persona that bodybuilders are just a bunch of narcissistic muscle heads. But in truth, successful bodybuilding isn't that simple. For one, science evolves all the time, and yesterday's scientific fact could be today's science fallacy as new information emerges about exercise and nutrition. Indeed, one of the primary purposes of Applied Metabolics is the keep readers apprised of new and practical information that can benefit their training and diet. Unless you are a genetic freak who is able to build muscle merely by thinking about it, it takes some experimentation to determine the training and nutrition techniques that will work for you. Some may say that using a large array of various anabolic drugs, such as anabolic steroids, growth hormone, and others takes the thinking out of bodybuilding. But I would counter this by noting the countless bodybuilders I've observed over the years who used the same anabolic drug regimes as elite bodybuilding champions but didn't show even a fraction of the same results. My point here is that successful bodybuilding is a trial and error process that occurs over time. You have to try many styles of training and experiment with various diets to figure out what works best for you.
That being said, there are a number of established bodybuilding training principles that have stood the test of time, but even some of these are open to question because of recent research. For example, according to numerous sports scientists, the best way to build added muscle is to lift a weight that corresponds to 70 to 85% of one-rep maximum and do a range of 8 to 12 repetitions per set. This training must be progressive in the sense that once your repetition goals are met on your heaviest set, you need to slightly increase the weight to keep the muscle stimulation constant. In short, to build muscle you have to "push" your muscles by constantly imposing a level of stress on them. In turn, the muscle accommodates this imposed stress by undergoing physical changes, such as increased satellite cell activity that results in an increase in the diameter of existing muscle fibers. This is the basic accepted muscle hypertrophy reaction to exercise.
According to exercise physiology textbooks, there are two primary types of muscle fibers (these fibers have subdivisions, but for purposes of simplicity I will only discuss the two major types of human muscle fibers). These muscle fiber types are referred to as slow . . .