Browse your local bookstore’s selection of bodybuilding magazines, and you’ll probably find lots of recommendations for improving your training routines along with a lot of flashy pictures of experienced bodybuilders. In addition, you’ll probably see lots of sales pitches pushing the latest supplement fad as the magical key that will unlock all of your muscle building dreams. What will probably missing from all of this is some solid advice about establishing an efficient recovery phase. If you’re having trouble making progress despite spending all of your time in the gym, you should take a moment to learn the importance of a recovery plan.
What exactly is the recovery phase? Well, let’s review how muscle is built in the first place. In order for your body to build muscle, you first have to give your body a reason to build it. You see, on a basic biological level muscle is an expensive asset to have, and the body would rather not have to maintain it. The only way to stimulate new muscle growth is to give the body a reason to build it, and the way to do this is to take advantage of our basic biological need to survive.
Muscle fibers are damaged when we lift a heavier weight than we’re used to. As long as there are enough nutrients, the muscle will be rebuilt bigger and stronger so the body can prevent a similar stress in the future. So how does this tie in to the importance of resting during the recovery phase? Simply put, the muscles must be given time to rebuild before they are put under heavy stress again. In fact, many bodybuilding experts recommend only a few hours of training per week, since limiting our workouts will maximize the recovery effect. A simple way to remember this is Less is More.
In addition to carefully planning your workouts to avoid over training, you must make sure that you’re getting plenty of sleep in order to experience the best possible muscle gains. The body repairs itself during sleep, and this is especially important for the bodybuilder who has just put his muscles under stress. If you choose to ignore this advice, you may find yourself limiting your muscle growth potential.