It sounds counterproductive right? How can you expect to get bigger and stronger if you are resting? Shouldn’t you get off the couch and get your lazy butt down to the gym instead?
Not so fast there cowboy; lifting weights is only part of the muscle building formula. Rest is the other crucial aspect of the equation that then results in muscle growth and strength increases.
When you are at the gym that weight workout tears the muscles and damages those muscle fibers. Ideally you want to give them at least a full day of rest before getting back into the gym to ensure those tears can properly and fully heal. But while you are resting on your laurels you can do other things besides loaf around to ensure more productive downtime.
Feed the Beast – Damaged muscles and a tired body needs proper fuel to recover. Make sure you are getting adequate nutrition, water, vitamins, and supplements into your body. On workout days alone make sure to increase the total calorie count by a few hundred with most of that being straight protein; an essential building block after a workout.
Roll with the Punches – A massage the day after a workout is wonderful. Of course most of us don’t have the money to afford that so the next best thing is using something simple like a foam roller. Using a foam roller for 5 minutes on each of your major muscle groups can help with flexibility, range of motion, and reduce muscle soreness which in turn hastens recovery. Plus, it feels really good after you are done. You can easily use the roller while sitting around and watching TV.
Take a Nap – Your body does the most repairs when you sleep. If you are already getting your 8 hours of sleep a night but find yourself extra tired the day after a workout sneak a little catnap in. A lack of a full night’s sleep can lose you 50 percent of possible muscle gains due to lack of growth hormone release. So make sure you snooze undisturbed for a full night!
Cold Shower – Professional athletes take ice baths after games for a reason; it works. Aching muscles that are put under cold water for 5 to 10 minutes after intense exercise can reduce muscle soreness by up to 50 percent. The water needs to be between 50 and 58 degrees to be most effective. A shower doesn’t quite cut it but you can fill the tub with cold water or swim in an unheated pool when it’s nippy.
So make sure to follow these tips so that you can rest to grow. Not all of the training is done in the gym. These valuable concepts can help maximize all of your time to make getting bigger and stronger an easier proposition. Plus, all of these things will make you feel better!