1. You have all the muscle fiber you will ever have by the time you’re in your early teens! You can make the fibers bigger (more toned) or they can shrink, but once damaged they cannot be replaced.
2. You have as many muscle fibers as the biggest body builder guy you can think of. His are just bigger. :)
3. The term ‘ripped’ is derived from the process that makes your muscles grow. When you hurt yourself, your body sends cells to repair the damage (like a scab). When you work your muscles, you cause tiny little tears (ripping them). Your body sends cells to help heal these tears, causing the formation of proteins which increase the size of your muscle. (This is why protein is so important for your muscles!) No pain, no gain. Literally.
4. Fast & slow twitch fibers do different things for your body. Fast twitch muscles are the ones you use for quick, short bursts of exercise or power (sprints, plyometrics etc.). Slow twitch fibers don’t produce much power, but are perfect for longer, endurance based activities (think long distance running). If you’re looking to train for endurance, think lighter weights & more reps. For power? Heavier weights & fewer reps.
5. Your muscles don’t have memory… they have efficiency. Every movement you make, your brain sends signals to the muscles involved to contract. As you repeat movements over and over, the communication between your brain & muscles becomes more efficient: you become more coordinated. That’s why riding a bike feels so natural after years, or why you get better at dance moves the more you practice them. This applies to your workouts too. Moves that require coordination will get easier with practice.
6. For once and for all, lifting weights will NOT make you bulky. Men gain muscle more easily because of their hormones; hormones women don’t have. Female body builders spend hours in the gym every day, training intensly & heavily (think using 100+lbs), often take supplements for size & eat very specifically for YEARS to get that look. Picking up a 10lb dumbbell will NOT make you bulky. Or a 25lb dumbbell. Or a 45lb barbell. Relax.
7. Where you’re likely to tone up first? Your shoulders. Women don’t have a lot of fat in that area, so you’ll see definition there first. Having wider shoulders will also make your waist appear smaller: a little trick from the supermodels.
8. There are NO muscles in your fingers! The muscles that move them are in your palm and mid-forearm: they are attached by tendons that run up to your fingers, making them move when the muscles contract (like a puppet).
9. Gone in the blink of an eye! The muscle that lets your eye blink is the fastest muscle in your body
10. If all your muscles could pull in one direction you could create a force of 25 tons!
11. Muscles account for approximately 40% of your body weight. More muscle, means a little more on the scale BUT not necessarily more inches. Women who are the same height & weight, but different muscle composition can vary by as much as 4-5 dress sizes. Also, women who wear the same dress size, but are composed differently, can vary in weight by as much as 30lbs.
12. Sad face! It takes 17 muscles in your face to smile, but it takes 43 muscles to frown. :(
13. You take approximately 5 million steps per year using your leg muscles! Work them out, they literally take you everywhere you want to go.
14. Pound for pound, babies are stronger than oxen. Crazy baby muscles!
15. The strongest muscle of the body? In your mouth. The masseter muscle is the strongest you got and is responsible for chewing.
16. About 1/4 of your brain’s motor cortex (the part of your brain that controls movement) is devoted to the movement of your hands & fingers.