In How to Build Muscle Part IV we discussed the importance of your overall diet plan and how it’ll help you achieve your goal of building muscle. In How to Build Muscle Part V, we will discuss the importance of rest and recovery after working out.
Your Rest and Recovery
After reading so many different guides on how to build muscle, the importance of rest and recovery seems to show up over and over again. So, to ensure that we don’t miss out every requirement for building muscle, we’re going to cover it here.
“You don’t grow in the gym, you grow out of it.”
You must believe and have faith in this statement. A lot of men make one of the biggest mistakes when trying to build muscle – they believe that more is better. More exercises, more sets, more workouts, 7 days a week will lead to more muscle gains. These men are wrong!
While working out, you’re not actually building muscle. In fact, you are breaking down your muscles for the purpose of having them repair themselves to be bigger and stronger than they previously were. To put it simply, it works like this:
When you’re in the gym, working out, you’re signalling to your body to start the muscle building process. Your body detects that it’s being forced to perform work (weight training), and by progressively increasing the amount of work it’s being forced to do (progressive overload), the body realises that in order to keep up and survive, it is going to have to compensate by getting bigger and stronger. And in order to do this, it also needs all of the dietary requirements; calories, protein, fat, carbs etc. Hence, this is why your diet and weight training combined are essential when making this whole process work.
However, rest and recovery also needs to be included into this process. Even if you have the best weight training program that’s focused on progression and a diet plan that provides your body with everything it needs to build muscle, it still needs to be given time to perform all this work. Not only do your muscles need time to recover, but the entire nervous system needs time to recover.
So how do you ensure that you’re giving your body the time it needs to recover? To answer this question we provide you with some basic guidelines for you to follow below:
Never weight train more than 2 days in a row – It doesn’t matter what body parts are being trained on those 2 days. You should not work out more than 2 days in a row. In How to Build Muscle Part III, in the sample program you’ll notice that it was 2 days on, 1 day off, 2 days on, 2 days off.
Make sure that you have at least 3 days off per week
Make sure that you have a maximum of 4 weight training workouts per week
On your off days, it’s ok to do nothing active at all – On these days you’re giving your body a chance to recover from intense exercise. Performing any sort of intense exercise on your off days defeats the whole point of having them.
Weight training workouts should be kept to about 45 minutes to 1 hour – There’s no need to spend hours each day down the gym
Sleep, sleep, sleep – Ideally you should be getting at least 8 – 10 hours sleep every single night. If you can’t, feel free to take a nap whenever you can. Just do everything you can to get as much sleep as possible – your body will definitely need it, and not getting enough of it will definitely affect your results.
Take 1 full week off from weight training every 3 months – When you come back from that week off, rather than picking up where you left off, spend two weeks gradually working back to where you were at. For example, use 80% of the weights you were using the first week, 90% the next week, and go back to 100% the week after that. Then, go back to trying to progress as frequently as possible.
What to Look Forward to in Part VI
Next we’ll cover the importance of consistency; time and tracking progress that’ll help you achieve your muscle building goals.