Recover & Grow
Rest and recovery is when you grow, not in the gym. Researchers from the US have shown that your muscles are still recovering from exercise even though they no longer feel sore. Muscle strength was also reduced for almost one week after training. One of the most common reasons for lack of results in the gym is overtraining. If you train your muscles before they have recovered fully, they won't be able to adapt, and this will diminish your progress.1
Ways to Improve Your Recovery
- Generally, teens and those in their twenties can train a bodypart every 48-72 hours (twice a week). Thirty year olds and those in their forties benefit more from once every five days. Fifty year olds and older, once every seven days.2
- Training each muscle group once each week is sufficient for you to make continued progress in both strength and size, and ensures you avoid overtraining. Split routines, where you train one body part once a week, using a 2, 3 or 4 day split routine, work well from this perspective.
- Stretching at the end of every workout, and even on days off if possible, will enhance your recovery.
- Back-off (de-load), a planned reduction in exercise volume or intensity, prepares the body for the increased demand of the next phase, and stops the risk of overtraining.1 You can’t always train at your peak to get gains in muscle size. Your muscles and joints need a break. Not every part of your body recovers at the same pace, with muscles repairing themselves faster than connective tissue. Sometimes you get stronger by not training. With full recovery comes super compensation, gains in size and strength, and higher levels of conditioning. This is why a lot of serious lifters hit personal bests right after a deloading phase. 3
Proper rest is important for anyone training in a progressive resistance training program, such as bodybuilders. The act of falling asleep shifts the body into a subconscious state of anabolism. Routine exercise does impact sleep patterns and the succeeding growth-stimulating events desired by bodybuilders. Adequate rest is required to optimise muscle recovery and growth. Aim for at least 8 hours per night.
The Importance of Recovery
You need proper recovery to grow and adapt for the next workout. If you can recover better and faster, then each training session can be harder, your results will be better. Ensure that you back off occasionally with your training as discussed in this article and get optimum sleep. Use supplements to enhance your recovery. Liquid supplements are more practical and often superior nutritionally compared to whole foods when it comes to recovery. The catabolic state of the muscle will shift rapidly to an anabolic state if the right supplements are ingested soon after exercise. Many find solid foods difficult to ingest following exercise. Whole foods, by comparison, may take several hours to be digested and provide the required nutrients. This may miss the mark. Appropriate supplementation pre, during and post-exercise has been shown to limit muscle damage, increase protein synthesis and increase training adaptations. What more could a bodybuilder ask for?
Supplements for Recovery
- Multivitamins - to improve your immune system.
- Pre-training - use a pre-workout supplement containing protein and carbohydrate.
- Intra-training - use a protein/carbohydrate supplement including the ingredient Beta-Alanine, to energise your workout.
- Post-workout - use a protein/carbohydrate supplement and amino acids, minerals and key electrolytes, Creatine also enhances recovery.
- Protein Powder - pre and post- training to aid muscle rebuilding.
- Glutamine - to prevent and replenish depleted levels in the muscles, pre- and post- training.
- Take GH (to stimulate growth), or GABA (one of the best sleep aids) on an empty stomach before bed, and wait an hour. Note: do not mix GABA and protein powder.
- Drink a casein protein shake before going to bed.
- BCAAs - to assist protein synthesis, pre- and post- training.
- Before bed, take a long lasting protein supplement such as Casein.
- A ZMA supplement is also be useful to enhance recovery.
1 Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle
2 Over-40 Bodybuilding by John Hansen
3 Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning by Thomas R. Baechle and Roger W. Earle p. 639