How Can I Increase Muscle Cell Volume?

how can i increase muscle cell volume

Q: What can I do nutritionally to increase the volume of my muscle cells?

A: Muscles get bigger due to cells getting bigger – it’s what we call muscular hypertrophy. This can be achieved in two ways. Firstly, by increasing the volume contained in the muscle and, secondly, by increasing the amount of contractile muscle protein that the cell is made of. Most people, consciously or unconsciously, focus on the second type of hypertrophy. The really smart trainer, however, will work hard to get both happening at the same time.

It should be noted, here, that some people believe that increases in muscular size are also due to what is called hyperplasia – that is, the splitting of muscle fibers to create new ones. Others state that humans cannot increase the number of muscle fibers in their body. Even, if we can, no one has yet to find out exactly how it can be achieved. Weight training does not promote hyperplasia though a recent study did suggest that anabolic steroids may be a step in the right direction – not that we want to go there!

We all experience the effects of increased cell volume when we get a pump during our workouts. The pump is the result of increased fluid in the cell. It feels great and looks pretty good, too. The pump, though, is a short lived experience. But, imagine if you could have a pump-like experience all the time? Well, you can by following some simple nutritional guidelines:

(1) Drink a gallon of water per day

(2) Maintain a decent level of sodium in your diet – between 2000-3000 grams. Sodium is an important cell regulator.

(3) Have a high carb meal immediately following your workout, with a main meal following a couple of hours later. This will boost insulin as well as keeping glycogen levels up.

(4) Supplement with creatine monohydrate. It has a proven capacity to increase intracellular fluid as well as boosting cellular energy output, making you stronger.

(5) Supplement with glutamine. It will go straight to the gut and immune system, thus sparing intracellular glutamine and, therefore, fueling cellular hypertrophy.