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 you train you put stress on the muscles you´re working, you are stimulating the muscles as a reason for them to grow, you are supposed to train every day with high intensity and then you need to give time to that muscle to recover. I cannot tell you exactly how much time your muscles need to recover, the time varies depending on the muscle you are working, the amount of volume, the rep ranges you are working in, the frequency but generally speaking it takes around 24 to 48 hours for your muscle to recover this is when you are lifting on the 10 – 15 reps, when you are lifting heavier on the 3 – 8 reps your 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 your muscles, if you do a high frequency training program lifting heavy weights meaning that you are hitting each muscle group twice a week, your muscles may be recovered, but your 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, sometimes you just need small volume but high intensity, intensity is what´s going to give 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 you´re not progressing and you´re not getting results it all comes down to lack of recovery or lack of intensity.
If you are already doing a lot of volume for each muscle and you are not gaining muscle and you are sure your intensity is high maybe your working a lot and your muscles are not recovering, lowering the volume for a couple of weeks or months and seeing how your body responds can be effective.
Also making sure that your protein intake is enough for your body and muscles to recover, this does not means that you need to eat a lot of food and a lot of protein, just make sure you´re giving your body enough nutrients.
When you are working out you are breaking muscle tissue, the moment you finish your workout your body starts to recover, there are 2 key factors that you need to consider which are nutrition and sleep. You need to make sure that you are giving your body the nutrients it needs to recover and right after you´re done training is highly important that you eat a meal with carbohydrates and protein, the amount of each macro will vary depending of the goal you are following it may be low carbohydrate, moderate protein and healthy fats if you are on keto.
You also need water, it is important that you stay hydrated, I recommend you drink water before and after your workout specially if you sweat a lot.
You also need to have at least 6 hours of good, quality sleep every night to help your body recover, I´m considering that your goal is to get in shape and sustain or get lean and being able to stay lean and that you have a very busy life with school, your job and social life but you need to make some time to work out 1 hour each day and sleep 6 hours. If you do this and follow a nutrition program based on real, fresh food your body will be able to recover so that you can follow your workout program without any excuses.
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