What are Muscle Men?

Summer Banks

The term muscle men often refers to bodybuilders. Bodybuilding involves working muscles of the body to a point of extreme hypertrophy, or growth. Both men and women can practice bodybuilding techniques to increase muscle size.

Bodybuilders are sometimes referred to as "muscle men".
Bodybuilders are sometimes referred to as "muscle men".

The beginning of bodybuilding as a sport is credited to Eugen Sandow. In the late 1800s, Sandow allowed carnival viewers to watch him flex and pose his physique. These displays were called muscle display performances. Sandow worked to achieve his impressive body by using Greek and Roman statues as a guide. These figures were considered ideal and beginning bodybuilding competitions would use these same figures as a basis for judging contestants.

Creatine is a popular supplement among muscle men.
Creatine is a popular supplement among muscle men.

By 1901, muscle men were gaining in popularity, and Sandow chose to hold the first bodybuilding competition. In addition to Sandow, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Sir Charles Lawes were judges at this event. The first of the crowned muscle men was William L. Murray. He was given a bronze statue created in Sandow’s image, and this same trophy is given today to the winning Mr. Olympia in the United States.

Muscle men typically alter their diet and fitness regimens to promote muscle growth. These diets are often high in protein and low in fat. It is not uncommon for a bodybuilder weighing 200 lbs (90.7 kg) to consume more than 200 grams of protein per day. Experts suggest protein amounts be increased based on the amount of daily exercise.

While exercise and proper diet can contribute to muscle growth, the severe hypertrophy seen on most muscle men requires years of weight lifting and cardiovascular fitness. In order to increase muscle size, weight lifting is required. When weight is lifted, muscle tissues tear. This is what typically causes a warm feeling, or burn, when exercising. Tears heal by filling the resulting spaces with new muscle tissue.

Muscle men typically supplement high protein diets with protein powders and carbohydrates. Protein powder works to increase the amount of protein grams available for muscle repair, and the carbohydrates consumed after working out help to move proteins into muscle fibers. In addition, bodybuilders often add creatine and other blood volume increasing supplements to the shakes they usually consume, to increase blood flow to muscles.

Natural bodybuilders tend to refrain from using prohormones or diuretics in competition. Prohormones can increase testosterone and decrease estrogen, promoting muscle growth. Diuretics reduce the amount of water trapped between skin and muscle, increasing muscle definition.

Using anabolic steroids is prohibited in bodybuilding competitions in the United States and other countries. Urine and blood testing is often used to determine whether steroids have been taken to increase muscle size. Anabolic steroids can cause negative side effects and death.

A person may seek to increase their muscle hypertrophy through weight-lifting exercises.
A person may seek to increase their muscle hypertrophy through weight-lifting exercises.

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