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Permanent muscle growth takes several weeks.
When it comes to building muscles, they may appear larger a few hours or days after a workout but long-term growth takes time. Within minutes after working out, your muscles swell and look larger because your body transports blood into the muscles to help you lift the weight. Low-intensity workouts that don't fatigue your muscles may have no effect. If your goal is to gain bigger muscles through resistance training, this will take time, nutritious food and hard work.
Muscles swell after a workout, giving the false impression that they've grown. True muscle growth requires consistent training and proper eating habits.
Recognize Muscle Swelling
Muscle swelling often occurs within a few minutes or hours after completing an exercise. The swelling may last for a few hours, if you're new to exercise or lifting heavier weights than usual - this is known as acute muscle soreness. The swelling is often brought on from muscle fatigue, which happens when you work your muscles until you cannot complete any more repetitions. Swelling may also be a result of something more sinister, such as an exercise-related injury like a muscle strain or pull. If this is the case, swelling and significant pain will last for several days or weeks.
Feed Your Muscles Right Away
You can take advantage of the temporary swelling by feeding your muscles the right nutrients to make your muscle growth more permanent. The American Council on Exercise recommends foods such as a banana with a whey protein shake, tuna on whole wheat bread or low-fat chocolate milk. Have a post-exercise snack within 30 minutes of completing your exercise session. The carbohydrates in the snack help restore your glycogen while the protein helps repair your muscles.
Make Sense of Muscle Growth
Hypertrophy is essential to enlarge your muscle size. Muscle hypertrophy occurs when you create micro-tears in your muscle though weight training or body-weight exercises. Your body begins to repair these tears in the muscles to adapt to the weight. This is why it is important to increase the intensity of your workouts over time. Significant muscle growth requires about three months of resistance exercise. Increase your upper-body weights by 5 lbs. when completing a set is no longer challenging and add 10 lbs. for lower-body exercises.
Get the Basics Down
Keep away from the weights for two or three days after a workout session. This is when the real muscle growth occurs, and a continuous supply of lean protein such as chicken breast and complex carbs such as fruits and veggies is vital to sustain growth and repair. When weightlifting, generally aim to perform 12 to 15 repetitions in two or three sets for each exercise. The main goal is to fatigue your muscles, so the amount of reps you perform depends on your level of strength.