Let Your Muscles Rest and Recover To Grow!
To build muscle you need to consistently put in hours of hard work in the gym, breaking down muscles with strenuous exercise so they can regrow bigger and stronger. The more you work them out, the bigger they will get. Everyone knows that! The more time and effort you put into something, the more you will get out of it right?
This concept of more is better is not essentially true when it comes to trying to put on size and strength. The biggest thing that many people overlook when it comes to packing on muscle is recovery. They get the nutrition that they need, their workouts are intense enough to stimulate muscle growth, but they don’t see any progress when they look in that mirror. I’ve been there, and I can tell you that it can be frustrating, putting in all those hours in the gym and not gaining an ounce of strength or size despite having nutrition on point. Recovery is such an important part of gaining muscle, but for many people recovery is often non existent leading to very slow or non existent gains.
If someone notices that they’ve been working out a particular muscle and it doesn’t seem to grow or get stronger, the first thing that they instantly relate that to is not training hard enough in the gym. That seems logical right? If you don’t push it hard enough in the gym, your body will have no reason to get stronger or bigger. So what is the easy fix to this? They add in more sets, change up their rep tempo, and often add in training techniques such as: rest pause reps, pre-exhaustion sets, and supersetting exercises. They up the intensity of their workouts, and sometimes may also increase the training frequency of that muscle to 2 to 3 workouts in a week for that one body part. To many seasoned and veteran trainers/bodybuilders out there, they’ll tell you that it’s absolute insanity. Some guys are already doing 40-50 sets for arms per workout (20 sets for biceps and 20 for triceps) and want to add in another day of arms to try to spark growth? Not only is that draining to the muscular system itself, but the central nervous system as well! Especially if someone is all natural and are not on any performance enhancing drugs.
The truth is, you only need to spend less than 10% of your total available time in the gym. You want to get in there and get out as quick as you can. When I first started working out, I thought that 30-40 minutes of training wasn’t enough to grow. But as I got more experienced and learned from much older and more knowledgeable people I learned that you either stimulate a muscle in the gym or you don’t.
You don’t want to stimulate a muscle with a few hard working sets, and then after it’s stimulated and ready to grow, pound it into the ground with 20 more sets, and do that 2-3 times a week and expect it to grow bigger and stronger. As Jeff Cavalier of the Athlean-X YouTube channel always says: “you want to stimulate a muscle, not annihilate it,” and he couldn’t be more right. For people who are short on time and looking to build that awesome physique, it’s good news for you.
You don’t miraculously grow bigger while at the gym for 2-3 hours at a time! In order to build muscle, you must provide your body with sufficient recovery time and nutrients in between workouts after having stimulating the muscle. Recovery is absolutely crucial for you to see gains in your weight training program. I often hear about guys pushing through a workout when they’re sore saying that it’ll heal them up quicker and that they will grow more. This is absolutely bogus.
A friend once taught me about muscle growth using an analogy that muscles are buildings and your workouts resemble earthquakes. Imagine every time you go to the gym you’re hitting the ‘buildings’ with massive earthquakes and it takes time for the buildings to be repaired. The buildings that are constantly being hit with earthquakes week after week have to be rebuilt even stronger to withstand the earthquakes. Well what if earthquakes continuously keep hitting the buildings before they’re able to be repaired, what do you think will happen? The building may in fact be repaired as smaller and weaker structures. This works the same for muscle growth and recovery cannot be stressed enough. I hope you understood that analogy that I used with buildings and earthquakes, I found it to be quite interesting when my friend told me about it and I hope you did too.
So hit your muscles hard, let them recover, and you will slowly but surely see more of the results that you want. As Mike Mentzer, one of the best and most knowledgeable bodybuilders of all time once said: “You can train hard, or you can train long. You can’t do both and expect great results.”