Posted on January 06, 2020 by Kate Halsall

Remember what happened when the team of Personal Trainers got together to discuss weight loss vs fat loss? Well, we did it again! This time we targeted hypertrophy. Although lacking one of Josh’s powerpoint presentations; we still managed to discuss – well, pretty much everything! What people think it is, what it really is, training, nutrition and – more importantly, is it just about getting hench?!

What Is Hypertrophy?

Our clients generally refer to it as “making gains”, “getting hench” or being “toned”. In laymen terms – and for the purpose of this blog – it’s an increase in the size and growth of muscles. And of course, the rate of this increase in size is different in everyone and can be dependent upon genetics. The take home message straight away is simply – hypertrophy takes a long time!

Hypertrophy vs Strength Training

There were so many questions we wanted to go through during our staff training. One was around the crossover between hypertrophy and strength training. You can achieve hypertrophy through strength training. Likewise, you can gain strength through hypertrophy training. So whilst the training is different, and so will be the gains in certain areas, there is a crossover.

Nutrition & Supplements

Calories and macronutrients play an important role in achieving hypertrophy. And YES it is possible to achieve hypertrophy if you are vegetarian or vegan. It’s even possible to achieve hypertrophy if you are in a calorie deficit (it’s just not optimal). There are 3 key things to ensure you achieve:

  • is to hit your protein targets – between 1.5-2g of protein per 1 kg of bodyweight.
  • avoid a fasted state as this is where the muscle starts to breakdown. This is why people tend to eat little and often.
  • Leucine – essential for protein synthesis, muscle growth and repair. It’s one of the 9 essential amino acids. If your diet is balanced and contains eggs, dairy and meat – you will get this naturally. For veggies and vegans, ensure you include tofu in your diet to ensure you get this.

An additional recommendation from Emily is to take Casein before bed as this will prevent muscle breakdown overnight.


Is it simply just watching your sets and reps? The short answer is kinda! They key is to ensure that you create metabolic stress, emphasise time under tension to create muscular damage (as it repairs is grows), and allow time for rest and repair. How do you do this? You need to look at the frequency at which you hit the big muscle groups. Josh suggests 10 sets per muscle group over the week, equating to 3 x full body sessions focusing on big compound lifts. Here’s an old blog which may help you with this.

So is hypertrophy just about getting hench? For some people, there is definitely an aesthetic element which says yes! Looking lean and seeing muscle definition certainly resonates as looking hench! The key here is that there are health benefits to training and eating for hypertrophy. It means lower body fat, higher calorie burn due to muscle mass and so on. However, this does take a long time! Nothing happens over night I’m afraid.

If you’re still confused – get in touch! [email protected]