Have you heard the big guys (and gals) at the gym tossing around the word "hypertrophy" when they mention their lifting goals? What does that word even mean? Is the hype real?

Hypertrophy is essentially a fancy word for building muscle. Hypertrophy is the enlargement of an organ or tissue. The increase in your muscle size is caused by increasing the size of the cells that are already there. If that's not enough science for the day, check out this article by bodybuilding.com to learn more about the essential principles for the best muscle hypertrophy.

But for now, if you're having trouble gaining muscle as quickly as you'd like, try these workouts and foods below to help.

Best Workouts For Muscle Hypertrophy

Compound exercises build muscle the best. What's a compound exercise? They're multi-joint exercises that use more of the body to achieve the movement. The top two compound exercises for hypertrophy are the squat and the deadlift. Both of these exercises use pretty much every muscle in your body.

More Compound Exercise to Try:

Power clean

Bench press

Shoulder press

Pull-ups

Dips

Incorporate these compound exercises into your next gym session to help your bulk up.

Foods That Improve Muscle Hypertrophy

When you research foods for muscle growth, you're probably redirected to sites that say something along the lines of eat protein, protein, and more protein. Yes, protein is essential for muscle growth, but don't kick carbs and fats to the curb. One of the best ways to support muscle hypertrophy is through good nutrition. Each macronutrient can help you bulk up.

Here are the top foods for muscle growth.

Proteins For Muscle Building

Protein should make up 10% to 35% percent of total calories for adults looking to improve muscle hypertrophy. A typical day might include six servings of protein (meat & dairy) to help achieve bulking goals.

Muscle Boosting Proteins:

❏ Baked chicken

❏ Lean ground beef

❏ Grilled salmon

❏ Low-fat cottage cheese

❏ Low-fat yogurt

❏ Eggs

❏ Peanut butter

❏ Legumes

Carbohydrates For Muscle Building

Carbs are what helps keep you going during all the training sessions at the gym. About half of your calories should come from carbs if you're looking to improve muscle hypertrophy. Sorry to disappoint, but unfortunately, that doesn't mean loading up on pasta and bagels. Opt for quality carbs that are low in fat.

Good-Quality Carbohydrates:

❏ Whole-grain bread & cereals

❏ Fruits & vegetables

❏ Waxy maize carbohydrates (starch complex)

❏ Brown rice or pasta

❏ Quinoa

❏ Sweet potato

Fats For Muscle Building

Your body relies on fat to supply energy to muscles during activity. But before you head to the local drive-through for a number 7 or a dozen donuts, know your muscles need heart-healthy fats. Fat contains twice the number of calories as carbohydrates and protein, so portion control is a must.

Heart-Healthy Fats:

❏ Extra-virgin olive oil

❏ Walnuts

❏ Pistachios

❏ Almonds

❏ Avocados

❏ Fatty fish (salmon, halibut, mackerel, sardines, and trout)