One of the major faults I see people making at the gym (or rather, after the gym) is failing to provide themselves with appropriate recovery. Proper recovery will allow you muscles to grow, improper recovery will not. What’s the point of going and working hard at the gym if you’re not going to do what’s necessary to let your muscles grow? Many people don’t realize that muscles don’t actually grow in the gym, they grow later.
It is when your muscles recover and build themselves up to be stronger, and better able to handle the weight that broke them down in the first place, that they grow bigger than they were before the workout.
Recovery is not only allowing enough time for your muscles to stop being sore. It’s much more complex then that. In this article I’m going to go through some of the most important concepts in muscle recovery.
The most important in my opinion? Getting adequate sleep. Your muscles can only grow and repair themselves while you’re sleeping. If you’re not getting 8 hours a night, you’re selling yourself short of the potential gains you could be reaping from your hard work in the gym. Shift your schedule around, do whatever you need to do in order to allocate 8 hours a day to sleep, everyday.
Second most important thing that promotes good recovery? Drink lots of water, and I mean lots. The old 8 glasses a day saying is outdated, and lacks any scientific backing. The latest research suggests that ideally, men should get about 3.7L of water a day, and women should get 2.7L of water per day. Water is to your body as oil is to a car. Everything just works better when you’re properly hydrated, don’t sell yourself short of it.
My last suggestion? It’s eat, and eat lots. Especially in the 1-hour period directly after a workout. Without food, your body has nothing to build up its muscle with. Protein and carbohydrates are particularly necessary for your muscles in the first hour after your workout. By eating foods that contain both these properties religiously after all your workouts, you can be sure that you’re providing your body with the fuel it needs to build lean muscle mass. Sometimes, eating real food isn’t practical or convenient. The solution? Supplements.
They provide your body with the nutrition it needs while being quick and easy to ingest. All you have to is being sure to take the right ones.