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How to Recover and Grow muscles

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How to Recover and Grow muscles
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Recover and Grow

The ability to recover fast from workouts is key to continuing to make gains and grow week to week. Recovery is not only how well you recover day to day, but also you able to withstand more and more on a week to week basis as you up the intensity, frequency, and volume. Some key factors to aid in recovery are:

  • 1) Sleep
  • 2 ) Proper Programming
  • 3) Nutrition
  • 4) Restoration Protocol
  • 5) Ergogenic Aids/Supplements
  • 6) Managing Stress

 1) Sleep

Sleep is extremely important in that it helps your body regulate back to normal functions, it helps reset and bring down stress levels aka cortisol, helps with GH release, and adapt to the training stimulus.

8-10 hours is ideal for an athlete along with 15-20 min power naps throughout the day. You want to keep the naps short in duration as a longer nap will stimulate sleep inertia, which is a period after the nap that impairs performance and alertness.

Researcher Cheri Mah of the Stanford Sleep Disorders Clinic and Research Laboratory has studied the effects of sleep and athletic performance.

Mah noted that sleep is a “significant factor in achieving peak athletic performance.” Mah continued that many athletes accumulate a large sleep debt by not obtaining their required nightly sleep, which can have a negative effect on cognitive functioning, mood, and reaction time.

Not surprisingly though, Mah’s suggested that the “negative effects can be minimized or eliminated by prioritizing sleep in general and, more specifically, obtaining extra sleep aka naps to reduce one’s sleep debt.” This sleep debt can’t be made up with one good night of sleep it takes weeks to turn it back around.

“After sleep deprivation, plasma cortisol levels were higher the next day by 37% and 45% increase and the onset of the quiescent period of cortisol secretion was delayed by at least 1 hour.” As stated in a study by the Journal of Sleep Research & Sleep Medicine, Vol 20. You put your body through so much stress daily that night time is when you need to relax and reset your cortisol.

A few simple things to improve sleep are blackout curtains which you can get at Walmart, removing all electronics from your room, having a bedtime routine, staying away from TV or loud action-packed things that will elevate your heart rate, read a book that doesn’t get your mind racing, and a little meditation which is invaluable in and of itself.

Must Read: The Importance of Sleep for Bodybuilders

2) Proper Programming

Olympic Lifts

Proper programming is huge in your ability to recover from a day to day perspective. Too much volume and intensity and you’ll lead to overtraining, injury, and to much fatigue which will all lead to a decrease in performance. The ability to understand programming and waving intensities and volume to allow for proper recovery in bet training days is huge to progressing forward.

Not going to failure every day is very important as well, failure training can be ok if implemented right but when it comes to your main lifts failure should never be an option. Planning out your days and weeks based on wave loading principals is a great way to allow for proper recovery.

An example of this would be to have a hypertrophy day where nothing is taking above an RPE of 7, followed up with a heavy day where the RPE is an 8 but with no missed reps so a technical RPE 8 not a grinder, follow that up with some more dynamic movements learning to move weight fast and controlled with an RPE 6. Waving your days or sessions like this will help autoregulate in a way your intensity and volume to allow for proper recovery.

Must Read: Top Amazon Picks for Bodybuilding 1 Year Training Program

3) Nutrition

Nutrition is a component in recovery and sports for that matter that is often overlooked. Some will go with the war on carbs, or eat whatever I can, or intermittent fasting, etc.. The key with nutrition is knowing why and what it is used for and the benefits of everything you put into your body. Workouts will deplete your body and the best way to refill it is by eating carbohydrates around your workout.

Workouts also break down muscle tissue and if not fueled with enough protein they won’t recover properly. Workouts also build up cortisol and can cause havoc on your joints and hormones, so eating your fats throughout the day will help bring everything back to a normal status. Gaining too much fat will also slow down recover as it is not optimal for your body to be too fat or to lean.

Must Read: Incorporating The Correct Diet Plan That Complements Your Bodybuilding Cycle!

The biggest key to improvement in recovery and performance from a nutrition standpoint is to

  • Almost never be in an extended calorie deficit
  • Don’t skip any of the macros
  • Eat the right amount of protein for your bodyweight
  • Time your carbohydrates around your workouts

4) Having a Recovery/Restoration Protocol

Towels

Having a recovery/restoration protocol in place will do wonders for your body, mind, and spirit. When all 3 of those are in perfect harmony great things can happen on the platform or in the gym. This is also often overlooked in its importance to an athlete. It starts with a proper warm up before the workout, nothing crazy just something to get the blood flowing. An example would be:

5 minutes on the bike

5 minutes pulling a sled

10 minutes of a dynamic warm up

Must Read: The Benefits of Warm Up Exercises Before Workout

Possible Effects of an Active Warm Up : 

  • Increased resistance of muscle and joints
  • Increased release of oxygen from hemoglobin and myoglobin
  • Increased rate of metabolic reactions
  • Increased nerve conduction rate
  • Increased blood flow to muscles
  • Increased speed and force of muscle contractions
  • Increased baseline oxygen consumption

*Bishop, D. Warm up II: performance changes following active warm up and how to structure the warm up. Sports Med 33:483-498, 2003

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