eli5: why do we need to workout to be jacked, why cant our bodies make us naturally shredded


eli5: why do we need to workout to be jacked, why cant our bodies make us naturally shredded

In: 90

Maintaining large amounts of muscle mass is a massive energy drain, requiring large amounts of calories.

In a society where food is often scarce, like we evolved in, maintaining lots of muscle is a disadvantage if it’s not needed.

So, your body will only build muscle if it thinks it’s needed.

It costs your body a lot of energy to maintain the gains. Your body likes to be very careful with how it uses it’s energy. Unless you convince it that you’re going to be doing a lot of strenuous physical activity all the time, and so you need that muscle mass, it won’t make the less-energy-efficient option. (That option is growing muscle and getting jacked.)

It’s inefficient to have all that muscle if you aren’t going to use it. Our bodies want to store energy, that’s why we get fat. It’s counterproductive to burn calories if it’s unnecessary.

Our bodies are designed to adapt to the situation/environment we are in.

When you need to lift heavy weights on a daily basis the body adapts to make things easier for itself: you develop muscles <- the muscles are an adaptation, not the status quo.

When you don’t need to lift weights anymore, there is no need for the body to put energy in maintaining those muscles so your body downsize to whatever is necessary at the moment.

This doesn’t apply just with muscles. Something similar happens with runners: they need more oxygen due to their training so the body adapts and the blood volume increases over time. When they take a break from running the blood volume returns to normal.

Because of two factors:

* Building and even just maintaining existing muscles uses a ton of calories. A jacked athlete’s muscles would burn thousands of extra calories a day just sitting on the couch vs a non-muscular person.
* We evolved in an environment where calories were scarce and unpredictable, so it was dangerously wasteful to be carrying more muscle than you absolutely needed.

So that’s the system we developed – your body will develop an amount of muscle that matches how much strength you seem to typically need. It adds more muscle if it’s getting used to full capacity often enough, and will remove muscle that’s not getting used for the sake of energy savings.