If you ask any new lifter in the gym how they plan to gain more muscle, their answer might be simple and predictable. They plan on training harder! It’s tough to argue with this kind of logic, right? Everyone knows that training intensity does equate to results in the gym. And this is a fact.
However, the results you see from training are very much dependent upon the resources that you allocate to your body for this process. If you train and don’t give your system what it needs to grow, then you will never see your muscles reach their potential.
And this is a shame!
However, if you are willing and able to dedicate your resources to full recovery, then you should see muscle mass growth at your very greatest potential. Here are some methods you can apply to your weekly training & recovery regimen to start seeing some better gains!
Limit your training to four days
Yes, it can be fun to spend 5 or 6 days in the gym each week. You know you’re stimulating every muscle group with adequate sets when you train in this manner. However, you are also limiting your results in that your overall central nervous system isn’t seeing the off time it requires.
You can give individual muscle groups all the time they need to recover, but if you don’t let your nervous system, respiratory system, and all of your other body processes have a little time off training, your muscles will not have the ability to grow.
Try training harder each day, but limiting your number of days in the gym to 4 each week. You’ll likely see some new muscle growth as a result!
Bump up your protein consumption
You should be consuming 40-50 grams of protein each day, with each of you 5 to 7 meals. This will average out to 250 to 350 grams of protein each day. Use whey shakes to really pile on the grams when time in short, and try to eat or drink every 2.5 to 3.5 hours.
Any time you go 5 hours without a protein serving, the amino acids in your bloodstream begin to wane, and you start costing yourself valuable muscle growth. Bump your daily grams and you’ll grow stronger, harder, and tougher from head to toe.
Less stress in your life will result in faster recovery from training, more muscle size, a better ability to eat the foods you want, and above all, much healthier sleep patterns. If some things in your world are limiting you in every area, then it may be time to step back and re-evaluate what you are doing.
If the problems seem to mount, and they’re self-created, then you owe it to yourself (and your potential muscle development) to cut back the stress!
Make those rest days count
A rest day isn’t truly a rest day if it is spent on the dance floor until 2 am. You don’t fully recover from a squat workout if you’re hiking 15 miles just eighteen hours later. Rest days are just that - days when you should be RESTING so that your muscles can recover, repair, heal and grow back stronger.
If your rest days are anything close to the level of strenuousness that you see on training days, then you aren’t really growing. Rather, you’re living in a perpetual state of training and overtraining. Cut it out!
Force yourself to be in bed 9 hours each night
We all know how important sleep is for the growth process, but how many of us really sleep for the 8 hours each night that we should be? Try setting your clock for 9 hours, and forcing yourself to actually remain in bed for those 9 full hours.
There’s a good chance, if you wake up after 6.5 or 7 hours of sleep, that you will go back to sleep if you make yourself stay in bed, physically. Adequate sleep will ensure adequate recovery - and growth!
Stretch, stretch, stretch!
Lifting weights is very tough on the muscle fibers of your body. You train, you tear them, and then they grow back bigger and thicker. However, they also become packed with lactic acid and other toxins when you train, leading to a situation where growth is often inhibited by the garbage that collects in your body.
Stretching can help to flush out this junk! Toss in the benefit of added flexibility in your muscles, and it suddenly makes a lot of sense to stretch for a few minutes after your workout and again each evening.
Daily meditation works!
Your body needs rest, but so does your mind! If you want to clean your system of stress and refocus your energy upon the tasks you face (including growing bigger and stronger), you should give meditation a shot!
Use an app on our smart phone if you need guidance, or just find a quiet spot in your house to slow your eyes and think about those paths and obstacles which will lead you to your goals.
Bump up the water!
Water flushes your body of toxins and hydrates your muscles so that they can recover and grow. And 75% of Americans are chronically dehydrated. You’re an athlete and you are going to sweat a lot.
Additionally, you eat a great deal of food that is high in protein, meaning digestion is really important to you. Bump up your water consumption to 1 gallon per day.
Start slow, increase your daily numbers, and soon you’ll discover your body is functioning - and growing - faster than ever!
You can always train harder if you want to stimulate your muscles to grow to their maximum capacity. However, there will always arrive a ceiling to just how much work you can force your muscles to complete. When you reach that point, it becomes imperative that you examine your recovery factors and apply as much intensity and devotion to them as you give your muscles on their respective training days.
You may quickly discover the key to new growth isn’t what you are doing inside the gym, but the attention you give to the finer aspects of recovery outside of the gym. Good luck!