If you're trying to build muscle, you HAVE to believe that muscularity is a malleable characteristic. If you didn't, you wouldn't be here.
You don't go to church unless you believe in God (and are trying to shield yourself from the fact that, in the end, you will be nothing but mud).
This seems like semantic suicide. Like I'm establishing an obvious truth for the sake of nothing. Well, I got news for you. Everything is for the sake of nothing. Existence is meaningless. I wasn't kidding about that mud stuff.
Lucky for you, I surf the wave of absurdity, which means I'm able to find meaning within the meaningless, of which muscle mass is included. And thus, establishing the malleability of muscle mass is important because logic then tells us that:
My name is Logic, if you don't know by now, I'm always on my grind; And at this moment in time, I’m on a road when I write this rhyme; Sitting behind Raheem Devaughn while he’s passed out…
Oh, my bad. That was Logic, not logic. Here's what logic was supposed to tell us:
If muscularity is a malleable trait, then our bodies have the option, at any point in time, to build more muscle.
Obviously, you don't expect your body to spontaneously COMBUST-A-MUSS (my new supplement made from organic koala nose). If you thought your body was going to get jacked void of external input, you wouldn't be here.
You're here because, whether you've consciously thought of things the following way or not, you know you have to CONVINCE your body to build more muscle.
“Convince” is an important word. I like that word. It's rugged. HARSH. It implies effort. And forethought.
For instance, I know my lady-friend won't give me a foot massage unless she's happy. I also know my lady-friend hates cleaning the kitchen. But she almost always has to clean the kitchen because I cook — an unwritten relationship rule, and one of the few things humans got right.
But if I want a foot massage, I'll clean the kitchen. Unannounced. SURPRISE! This gives me appropriate leverage to convince her for a foot massage later in the day. I win.
Just think of your body as a lady-friend. You can't go in dumb and blind. I LIKE YOU I SENT YOU THIS STRAND OF YOUR OWN HAIR IN THE MAIL TO DEMONSTRATE MY LIKE FOR YOU PLEASE GO OUT WITH ME.
In order to be a good convincer you have to get inside the mind of the convincee. You have to understand the variables involved in their decision making process. This isn't about you and your ego. Set that shit aside.
You're trying to convince your body to build more muscle, so what are the variables involved in its muscular decision making process? If you don't know, you need to know. If you need to know, you're in the right place.
The super duper important energetic implications of muscle mass
Your body is using energy every second of every day. The moment your body stops using energy is the moment start becoming mud. (If your cranium cracked into crumbs because you don't know dick about energy balance, click here and double fist my energy balance guide with what you're reading now.)
Your body uses energy for a bunch of things. Beating your heart. Digesting food. Picking your nose. All of these things require energy. So let's compartmentalize things and say that your daily energy expenditure is always a totally inaccurate and imaginary (BWx10).
You weigh 160 pounds, which means your metabolic rate is 1600 calories. But you aren't satisfied with your physique. You want to build muscle and get to 180 pounds. Alright. Cool. But there are two implications.
First, it takes energy to build the muscle. Think of the aforementioned (BWx10) as the amount of energy you needed to stay alive given your former lifestyle. Building muscle requires energy on top of that, so you'd need more than (BWx10).
If your monthly mortgage is $2000 and you want to build an addition onto your house, you need to be making more than $2000. You need buy the tools and materials, and pay the people like me (Mexicans that reinforce stereotypes by dressing up as tacos) that are working for you.
Second, it takes energy to maintain and use muscle. If your metabolic rate is (BWx10), then, when you gain muscle and weigh 180 pounds, your daily metabolic rate would jump to 1800 calories. Bigger creatures require more energy.
Once you have the addition, your electric bill goes up. So does your gas bill. Property taxes, too.
So muscle mass isn't a one time purchase. There's a down payment and a recurring monthly financial impact.
Muscle is expensive, who cares?
You're probably wondering why I'm telling you this. You're smart to wonder. Just kidding. I'm the smart one. I'm the one that's force-feeding these thoughts into your head via your eye sockets. You're just a pawn.
Understanding metabolic impact of building more muscle is important because of the way your body balances its energetic checkbook. And the only way I know how to explain your body's financial tendencies is through the backdoor.
I'm going to start with something related to what I wrote earlier: the moment your body stops using energy is the moment start becoming mud.
Say hello to Emo Sapiens
Humans have been around for 200,000 years. A species wouldn't stick around that long unless it had some sort of inkling to not only survive, but also reproduce.
Imagine about a group of human things that wanted to kill themselves and despised the act of sexy time. Let’s call this species Emo sapiens.
Emo sapiens wouldn’t last long. There’s be no babies. Everyone would be dead. Unless, of course, Emo sapiens struggled with motivation for suicide the same way Homo sapiens struggle with motivation for fitness. If that were the case, Emo sapiens would never die.
But let's assume Emo sapiens didn't struggle with motivation. It wouldn't take long for Emo Sapiens to go the way of Dinosaurs. I mean, seriously, why did that show get cancelled? It was a classic. NOT DA MAMMA!
Why life is terrifying and even the amazing keeps me up at night
The cosmic joke undermining our inkling to survive is the fact that we can't sustain life by our lonesome. We need shit that we can't produce, like food, water, and oxygen. Corn isn't growing out of the pores of your skin.
Resources, for the most part, come from the world yonder. We just happen to be rocketing through the infinite universe on microscopic rock with all of the ingredients necessary to support human life.
WOW. AMAZING. HOW COOL. LIFE IS AMAZING. EVERYTHING IS AMAZING. WE'RE SO LUCKY TO BE ALIVE.
Life is amazeballs, but there's nothing warm and fuzzy about realizing that, any moment now, Earth can murder every last one of us.
Imagine if oxygen deleted itself from the air for five straight minutes tomorrow. That's all. Five minutes of non-oxygen. 93.75% of humans, myself included, would become mud.
It's natural so it must be good
Oxygen pulling a Houdidi sounds absurd, but animals die by the thousands on a regular basis because of changes in the ecosystem. National geographic said so.
In nature, mass mortality sometimes happens. More than 200,000 saiga antelopes in Kazakhstan drop dead in a matter of weeks; 337 dead whaleswash up in a remote fjord in southern Chile; some 300 reindeer in Norway are felled by a single bolt of lightning— all that has happened since 2015. There’s evidence such spectacular displays of death are increasing in frequency due to climate change.
Suffice to say, the environment of generations past has influenced how us smelly ooze discharging humans behave today. For instance, if oxygen did pull a Houdini for five, not everyone would die. Those with superior lung capacity (or something) would survive.
They would go on to reproduce and pass their iron lung genes into the next generation, and then from that point on not having iron lungs would be weird.
This is an example of natural selection, which is to say: some creatures have traits and adaptations which allow them to better survive a certain environments. Those with said traits and adaptions live and pass their genes (which contain said traits and adaptions) into the next generation.
Those without said become mud. Their genes do, too. MUD jeans. I'm teaching you the meaning of life, are you paying attention?
Your body's gollumness towards energy
Now that you understand natural selection like a sage understands how to add a fragrant, woodsy aroma to food, I can reconnect to where I left off earlier.
You use energy. But you can't produce energy yourself. You need to get it from the world yonder, which you do via food. Food contains the energy your needs to stay alive. If you stop eating, you'll eventually die.
In today's world, you have to make a conscious decision to not eat if you were to die from starvation because food is hyper available. But, in reality, food is a finite resource. Not eating wasn't always a choice.
History books are filled with droughts and famines. And not the “I can’t take a shower today” kind of drought, or the “supermarket was closed at 4AM so I couldn’t get eat my hangover curing empanada” kind of famine. I’m talking about the “CHARLIE AND SUZY DIED YESTERDAY” kind of droughts and famines.
Given this (and natural selection), you now have a backboard for understanding your body's financial abilities, tendencies, and one last word that ends in ies.
First, you're able to store and stockpile excess. The fact that you're able to do this is a miracle when you think about the oxygenated Houdini hypothetical mentioned before.
Being able to store energy allows you to survive a longer time without an immediate food intake. In general, humans can survive three weeks without food. (Compared to three minutes without oxygen.)
The ability to store is one thing. The propensity to store is another thing. And, boy, does your body have said propensity. When your body is given excess, it'll store the excess.
This is a microcosm of being an all around metabolic miser. You don't waste energy. You're efficient with what you have. You take energetic shortcuts when possible. In other words, your body has a certain gollumness towards energy. It's preeccciouuussss.
The muscular wildcard
I don't know if you've been paying attention (probably not, this shit is boring and I'm making most of it up), but the situation isn't looking good. On one hand, muscle mass is metabolically expensive. On the other hand, your body is a metabolic miser.
These ends oppose each other, which is why you're here. This shit isn't easy. If you're trying to build more muscle, you're fighting an uphill biological battle.
But don't quit on me now. You aren't Anakin Skywalker, so don't listen to Obi-Wan Kenobi. Having the high ground doesn't mean shit because there's a wildcard.
Your body is a metabolic miser, but it doesn't have a hoarding disorder. Your body is using energy every second of every day. It's not afraid to spend, so long as the juice is worth the squeeze.
Beating your heart. Digesting your food. These things require energy, and your body gladly fronts the cost. But why?
Because we aren't Emo sapiens.
Remember that whole survival inkling? Your body knows the difference between investments and wastes. Investments cost money up front, but there's a greater return on the back end. Wastes, however, are expenses without utility.
The prospect of staying alive another day versus not staying alive another day is one way to turn a waste expense into an investment.
The two variables in control of your muscularity
You have all of the information you need to start making sense of things.
- Muscle is metabolically expensive.
- Your body is a metabolic miser.
- Continued survival justifies spending.
Throw these three factoids into a pot, and you cook up the two variables in control of your body's muscular decision making process.
The first variable is <NEED>. Your body has to feel that building more muscle mass is a necessary expense. An investment, rather than a waste. Otherwise, it won't willingly raise its monthly metabolic bill.
The second variable is <FEED>. Your body needs to have the shit necessary build more muscle mass. If you don't have the materials, tools, and (wo)(man)power, the job won't get done. Your body also needs to know it'll have the shit necessary to maintain and use what's being built. Your body won't build itself into something that it can't sustain.
These two variables are always working in tandem, but <NEED> comes first. If you <FEED> without <NEED>, then you won't gain muscle. You'll just get fat, for reasons I won't get into now.
What you need to know about <FEED>
If you're trying to gain more muscle you can work through the following flowchart.
- First, ask: are you in a state of need?
- Second, ask: are you handling feed?
Although both of these variables are important, I'm going to ditch <FEED>. I've written about it many times before.
The cliffnotes: you have to continually assure your body that it'll have enough resources to support the investment. In other words, you need to eat enough food. I know “eating enough food” is vague. You shouldn't necessarily eat everything in sight. You shouldn't necessarily shove your face with shit food.
If you're in the dark with <FEED> and want more direction, click here to buy a thing I made that tells you what to eat if you want to be ripped, lean, and jacked.
This leaves us with <NEED>. And the big question with <NEED> is: how do you convince your body that it needs to build more muscle mass?
In order to answer that question, you have to know what purpose muscle mass serves. And that's exactly what I'm going to dive into next.
→ Click here to read Part 2: Using this TRIGGER is how you CONVINCE your body to build MORE muscle mass oh geez CAPS LOCK sure is FUN and EXCITING