Let's say you're a little village in the middle of the Outback (don't ask me why I'm picking the Outback), and you make a bridge across a river.
Okay, then a hurricane comes and destroys the bridge so the villagers have to repair it again, only they make it stronger this time.
Then a stronger hurricane comes and again wipes out the bridge, so they repair it again, but even stronger. You see what I'm saying - every time you work out you destroy your muscles much like the hurricane destroyed the bridge, then when you rest and recover, it is built stronger and bigger. Get the drift?
So, how can you optimize recovery? Well, read on...
First, and foremost, is sleep. Your muscles grow the most when you sleep, so if you only sleep 5 or 6 hours a night, your muscles aren't going to recover and certainly won't grow. Shoot for at least 7 hours of sleep per night.
If you have trouble falling asleep at night, there are herbs that can be taken such as chamomile and valerian, but I wouldn't suggest taking them more than 2-3 times per week. Melatonin is also helpful, but again, I wouldn't recommend taking it more than 2-3 nights per week. That is the easy part (considering it's not usually too hard to sleep).
For me. it's like 3 bananas, a cup of milk, and a scoop of whey protein powder. After this meal, you should wait an hour and then eat a whole food meal also consisting of carbs and protein.
As for small meals throughout the day, you should eat 6 balanced meals consisting of a portion of carbs and a portion of protein.
Make sure to eat breakfast as soon as you wake up, because your body will be in a catabolic state from the previous night (when you sleep it's like you're fasting, since your body doesn't get food for 8 hours). Also, make sure to eat before bed because you need the nutrients to help you grow.
- L-Glutamine: Glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in the skeletal muscle, and is the first to get broken down for energy when you lift.
It also has been shown to help naturally increase growth hormone (GH) in the evening. If you replenish your glutamine supplies after a workout, you will help stop the release of cortisone and thus recover faster.
- Whey Protein Powders: It's hard to get enough protein with diet alone. Whey is absorbed super fast which makes it superior over whole food proteins after a workout, since you want the uptake of the amino acids into your muscle cells as fast as possible. Also, it's good when you're on the run.
Lastly, supplementation. As always, if your diet and training are good, supplements can help to enhance your performance. Supplements that can help you to recover faster and stronger include:
So in brief, for your muscles to grow, they must:
- Be broken down, or stimulated by some kind of overload.
- Be given ample time, rest, and raw ingrediants to repair themselves before this stimulation is applied again.
So if you lift hard, heavy, and intensely and follow the above guidelines I have given to optimize recovery, you will be on your way to new muscle growth!
- Sleep at least 8 hours per night.
- Eat at least 6x per day, with a portion of carbs and a portion of protein at each meal.
- Don't skimp out on breakfast.
- Eat directly after training.
- Supplement with whey protein, glutamine, and multi-vitamins.
- Lastly, work your a$$ off in the gym!
Motivation comes from within... is it in you?