Do you find yourself unable to fall asleep, always hurting, having mood swings, or have lost the desire to workout?
If so, this could mean your not getting enough rest. When you put your body through exhausting workouts your actually creating micro tears to the muscle and breaking them down which is great if your muscles recover properly. Breaking down your muscle fibers will help stimulate new muscle growth and strength. During your training sessions you may feel like your muscles are growing the most, but in reality they grow when your body is actually at rest.
Sleep allows you to become stronger by healing and helping you recover from your training all while increasing your growth hormone levels. If your body is unable to recover you will store less glycogen which will lead to you having a flatter look and a decline in your energy and performance. Once you start to lose performance you may run into the risk of getting injured which will be a huge step back in strength and time away from the gym.
Remember… What is good for Bill may not be good for Dave… meaning everyone is different. We need to listen to our bodies when it tells us its time to rest. Now I’m not saying lay on your couch and eat crap all day and consider it a “rest day.” You can still go outside, throw the ball around with the kids, walk the dog, and be active, but keep in mind you need to rest to progress.
Some symptoms of inadequate rest and recovery… unable to progressivly increase strength, constantly getting injured, starting to lose your appetite, or losing the desire to train. This usually happens when you have taxed your body for way to long without adequate rest (any where from weeks to months). Although everyone will recover differently, it is wise to have about 48 hours of rest to recovery between strength training sessions (ex. Monday upper body- Thursday upper body). Inadequate recovery increases the stress hormone known as cortisol which in studies is shown to increase cravings for carbohydrates, cause fatigue, increase cholesterol and triglyceride production, decrease serotonin levels causing depression, and even depletes essential vitamins and minerals in the body.
So what this means is that in order to progress we must take our recovery just as important as our training. Becoming stronger, leaner, and healthier will be a lot easier if we follow these tips:
- Eat protein at every meal
- Plan carb intake after training or at night (depends on goals, and body composition)
- Manage cortisol levels (sleep, foam roll/massage, meditation, relaxing music)
- Hydrate with water
- Take Vitamin C and Fish oil post workout to help metabolize cortisol
- Take a probiotic to reduce gut inflammation
- Take glutamine to speed up recovery and boost immune system
Continue to grow, continue to learn!