Do you give enough time for your muscles to recover before you hit the again? We all want fast results but high volume and frequency and lead to overtraining if we don´t get enough recovery.
Recovery and over training are highly misunderstood, many people don´t really understand the importance of recovery and how it affects their results for their goals whether it is muscle gain or fat loss.
Every time we train we put stress on the muscles we´re working, we are stimulating the muscles as a reason for them to grow, we are supposed to train every day with high intensity and effort, then we need to give time to that muscle group to recover. I cannot tell you exactly how much time your muscles need to recover, the time varies depending on each muscle we, the amount of volume, the rep ranges we are working in, the frequency but generally speaking it takes around 24 to 48 hours for our muscle to recover this is when we are lifting on the 10 – 15 reps, when we are lifting heavier on the 3 – 8 reps our central nervous system and local nerves get fatigue and it takes around 3 to 4 days even 5 days for the central nervous system and nerves to recover.
Central nervous system fatigues quickly and takes more time to recover than the muscles, if we do a high frequency training program lifting heavy weights meaning that we are hitting each muscle group twice a week, the muscles may be recovered, but the central nervous system hasn´t recover yet and it will lead to over training.
Many people when they stop seeing results and when they stop gaining muscle they want to increase volume or frequency or both and stimulate even more the muscle to gain more mass, this is not the solution, for some of this people instead of increasing volume or frequency lowering it may be the solution, they´re putting too much stress on the muscles and they’re not giving enough time to recover.
On the other hand there are a lot of people who stop seeing results and want to increase volume or frequency when this is not the reason why they plateau and it´s not recovery neither, it´s lack of intensity and effort, sometimes we just need low volume but high intensity, hard work is what gives us results.
Many people in the gym let their ego get in the way and they just talk about how intense they´re working out when in reality they´re not working as intense as they could. When we´re not progressing and getting results it all comes down to lack of recovery or lack of intensity.
If we are already doing a lot of volume for each muscle and we are not gaining muscle and we are sure that we´re working hard in the gym maybe we´re working a lot and our muscles are not recovering, lowering the volume for a couple of weeks or months and seeing how our body responds can be effective.
Also making sure that protein intake is enough for our body and muscles to recover, this does not means that we need to eat a lot of food and a lot of protein, just make sure we´re giving our body enough nutrients.
When we exercise we are breaking muscle tissue, the moment we finish the routine our body starts to recover, there are 2 key factors that we need to consider which are nutrition and sleep. We need to make sure that we are giving our body the nutrients it needs to recover, right after we´re done training is highly important that we eat a meal with carbohydrates and protein, the amount of each macro will vary depending of the goal you are following and the diet, for a balanced diet it may be high carbohydrates, moderate protein and healthy fats or for keto it may be high healthy fats and protein (when we are keto adapted we don´t need more than 50 grams of carbohydrates per day).
We also need water, it is important that we stay hydrated, I recommend you drink water before and after your workout specially if you sweat a lot. Electrolytes are also important but we´re going to talk about them in a separate post.
We also need to have at least 6 hours of good, quality sleep every night to help our body recover, I´m considering that our goal is to get in shape and sustain or get lean and stay lean and that we have a very busy life with school, our job and social life but we need to make some time to work out 1 hour each day and sleep 6 hours at least. If we do this and follow a nutrition program based on real, fresh food (adapt macros according to your diet and fitness goal) our body will be able to recover so that you can follow your workout program without any excuses.
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