Nutrition and rest are important to increase the effectiveness of training

Resistance training or strength training is essential to improve performance. To improve the efficacy of training, not only the content and methods of training, but also appropriate care for your body with adequate nutrition and proper rest after the training is completed are also crucial. In this section, we will provide some tips that can help increase the amount of muscle in your body.

1. Performance improves with increased muscle mass and muscle strength are improved with resistance training

Sports science data has shown that enhancing muscle function, i.e., increasing muscle mass and strength makes it easier to achieve optimum performance 1).

Figure 1 shows the relationship between the area (cross-sectional area) when the thigh muscles are viewed as a horizontal slice and the maximum muscle strength (lifting force) of the knee-lengthening movement.

Figure 1

The data shows that the larger the muscle cross-sectional area, the more force can be exerted. To increase the muscle cross-sectional area or muscle size, muscle training is required. Training increases the size of the muscles and along with the muscle strength.

1) Koopman J, van Loon LJ. J Appl Physiol. 2009; 106: 2040-8

2. What training is required to increase muscle mass and strength?

What training is required to increase muscle mass and strength? What is widely known under the name of strength training is resistance training that exerts force on the muscles (using dumbbells or other weighted objects, or bodyweight in the form of push-ups, squats, etc.). Studies have been conducted examining how resistance training can affect muscle mass and strength. Figure 2 shows the results of a study examining changes in muscle mass in 36 men (mean age 25) who underwent resistance training thrice a week for 12 weeks 2).

After training, one of the quadriceps (vastus lateralis) muscles became thicker than those observed before training.

Figure 2

Let’s look at Figure 3. This shows the data of a study that examined the change of muscle strength of 3 men and 6 women (total of 9 persons) who are 18 to 35 year-old, when they performed resistance training 3 times a week for 6 weeks. After training, the maximum strength of the bench press and squat increased compared to before training.3)

Figure 3

This suggests that proper muscle training can increase both muscle mass and strength, and can help to improve performance.

However, overdoing any type of training can cause injuries or other problems, so you should avoid doing things by yourself and receive instructions from a specialist.

2) Reidy PT, et al. Eur J Appl Physiol. 2017; 117(5): 853-66
3) Candow DG, et al. Int J Sports Nutr Exerc Metab. 2006; 16: 233-44

3. Training should be combined with good nutrition, especially sufficient protein intake

We have explained that training increases muscle mass and strength, but special attention should be paid to nutrition, in particular, protein intake (amino acids). Even if you undergo training, the insufficient amount of protein (amino acids) intake will not result in a positive balance between the amount of muscle protein produced and the amount being degraded (the net balance), and hence, the effects of training will not be observed 4). In contrast, the comsumption of protein (amino acids) in combination with training results in a positive balance, and effects of training are observed 5).

Training increases the amount of protein required in the body. In recent data published by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the amount of protein intake recommended for athletes ranged from 1.2 to 2.0 g per kilogram of body weight per day (84 to 140 g per day for a 70 kg person) 6). This is considerably higher than the typical adult protein intake of 0.95-1.01 g/kg body weight per day 7), amounting to approximately 1.3-to 2.0-fold.

Figure 4 shows the relationship between how much protein a person in training consumes per day and the amount of lean body mass (total body weight minus fat mass: which indicate the approximate muscle mass) gained 8). It results suggest that increasing protein intake to 1.6 g per kilogram of body weight per day can maximize lean body mass gain.

Figure 4

However, it has also been shown that consuming more protein than required does not change the amount of muscle. The same data showed that eating more than 1.6 g per kilogram of body weight per day did not alter the muscle mass. This indicates that some of the protein ingested was not used to increase muscle protein.

In other words, combining training with an adequate amount of protein to enhance the synthesis of muscle protein would make training more effective.

4) Biolo G, et al. Am J Physiol. 1995; 268(3 Pt 1): E514-20
5) Biolo G, et al. Am J Physiol. 1997; 273(1 Pt 1): E122-9
6) Thomas DT, et al. Med Sci Sports Exerc. 2016; 48(3): 543-68
7) Dietary Reference Intakes for Japanese (2020 version)
8) Morton RW, et al. Br J Sports Med. 2018; 52: 376–84.

4. Good rest (getting good sleep) is also an important part of training

We have explained that nutrition and rest are very important to obtain effective training results. Why is rest (sleep) so important? Data has demonstrated that lack of sleep reduces the effectiveness of strength training 9). You can see that it is important to go to bed early to get effective training outcomes.

Adequate nutrition (protein and amino acids), good rest (sleep), and the combination of nutrition and rest can further increase the effectiveness of robust training.

9) Knowles OE, et al. J Sci Med Sport. 2018 Sep; 21(9): 959-68

5. Summary

To summarize what we have described,

  • ・Increasing the amount of muscle increases the strength that can be exerted
  • ・Mass and strength of muscles are increased with proper training that is appropriate for you
  • ・It is important to obtain sufficient nutrition (especially protein) to increase the effectiveness of training!
  • ・Sleeping properly (sleeping enough) is also part of the training

Did you know that you can enhance the effectiveness of your training by combining three things: appropriate training, adequate nutrition, and adequate rest? in the nutritional aspect, consider paying special attention to protein and amino acids, which can improve the effectiveness of your training!

▼Here are the amino acids that solve this problem.
Essential amino acid-enriched whey protein increases the efficiency of the production of muscle mass with training


Supervising Editor:Satoshi Fujita


Satoshi Fujita
Professor, College of Sports and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University. ● He completed a doctorate - Ph.D. (Exercise Physiology) at the University of Southern California in 2002. ● After his position as a lecturer in the Department of Internal Medicine, University of Texas Medical School in 2006, he was appointed as Special Assistant Professor at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences, The University of Tokyo in 2007. He then assumed his post at Ritsumeikan University in 2009. He has received awards from the American Physiological Society (APS) and the American Society for Nutrition (ASN). His Specializations include exercise physiology and the metabolic response of the skeletal muscles influenced by exercise and nutrition. ● Edited publications include "An illustrated guide so interesting you won't be able to sleep" and he has co-authored "Sports Nutrition for Physical Education and Sports Instructors and Students".

■About Professor Satoshi Fujita’s Laboratory
Professor Satoshi Fujita's laboratory in the College of Sport and Health Science, Ritsumeikan University, focuses on an investigation of the effects of exercise and nutrition on body composition and sports performance. From basic research examining muscles at the molecular level to clinical research targeting a wide range of ages (from children to the elderly) and physical fitness, they continue to conduct daily research toward building evidence for sports science that can aid those in the field of exercise instruction using an integrated experimental approach. Specific studies are listed as follows:
1) Investigation of the effects of combining specific functional foods and exercise on lipid metabolism and skeletal muscle protein metabolism
2) Consideration of long-term training and nutrition interventions aimed at sarcopenia (age-related muscle attenuation).
3) Development of training methods for enhancing the sports and performance of junior athletes.

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