How hard do you push your body when you train?
When you are training hard in the gym you may love the feeling of failure, that feeling of pushing your muscles to a point where they simply can’t do another rep. This is where the magic happens though right?
Of course this starts the process of building new muscle but its not where the magic happens. This happens on the days you don’t train, the rest days or what we like to call the ‘growth days’. Without rest days you can’t expect to make changes. The question is, did you realise just how crucial to growth and repair rest days really are?
Allow us to shed some light on it for you…
You need to rest to grow…
During your rest days your broken, stretched and damaged muscle fibres need chance to repair. Rest days are so important because without them you simply wont grow or repair. If you trained constantly than your muscle fibres would constantly be in a state of disarray and would never have time to heal.
Before you start your week training, ensure you are clever about your rest days and schedule them in strategically so your body can really benefit. If you have beneficial rest days and well times rest days your training and growth will both improve.
Ideally you should use at least 2 rest days a week and try to have 1 before or after leg days as this often tends to be the most exhausting on the body. 3 rest days is better and training 4 days a week instead of 5 because training 5 times a week isn’t the best long-term solution for growth and repair. It’s all about quality over quantity.
Eat to grow and repair
Don’t cut calories on your rest days! The huge misconception is that you should reduce your calorie intake on your rest days because you aren’t training. This is pretty ridiculous when you understand the basics. Your body needs to refuel and repair the damaged muscle fibres and the other systems in the body, therefore it needs plenty of carbohydrates and protein to do so.
If your goal is to obtain maximum muscle growth and strength gains, it’s important to consume plenty of quality carbs and protein during those off/growth days. See each growth day as the only day in the week where the body is allowed to build muscle.
See your rest days as ‘growth days’
Rest days are where the magic happens. Relating back to the above point about eating to grow, a rest day or ‘growth day’ allows your body time to replenish its glycogen stores more easily, and let the nervous system get back to an optimal working state. Your nervous system takes a beating when you train! This will help you grow faster, but it’ll also improve your performance on the day you get back to the gym – why? Because your body has replenished its energy stores.
If you invest resources in a training session, rather than resting, you’ll have fewer available to fuel adaptation and growth. During a day off, your nervous, immune, and hormonal systems also get back to a situation conducive to growth and performance. A well rested body will perform at a higher level and do more volume, both of which will make the session more effective.
Have you been resting enough? Are you guilty of over training? Hopefully after reading this you will give your body the recovery time it needs to grow and repair. Optimise your rest days and really indulge. Treat your body with healthy carbohydrates and good quality protein sources to really build and repair your muscles.