I like to think of rest and recovery as the glue that ties process #1 and #2 together for fast and effective weight gain. The most important point for you to remember is this: Muscle growth doesn't happen in the gym, it happens when your body is in a state of repair, which is rest. Simply put, you need to make sure you provide your body with optimal rest periods in order for it to fully repair and build.
I like to give my muscles at least 48 hours of rest before hitting them again. However, this depends on my state of muscle soreness. If my muscles are still sore after 48 hours I give them another day to recover. There is some debate as to whether or not to train a sore muscle but for me, after training for over 20 plus years, it's always been better to wait one extra day to ensure maximum recovery. For a more detailed discussion regarding muscle recovery and muscle soreness, see the following pages:
I strongly recommend you get at least 7 to 8 hours sleep per night. Muscle building magic happens when you're sleeping so get as much as you can (without getting carried away). Stress tends to muck things up so if you can, try and keep the stress levels down. I realize work and family life can add a whole whack of stress to your daily life but try and keep them out of your workouts and rest.
The faster you can fully recover from your workouts, the faster you can get back into the gym and lift heavier weight. There are two critical times that you absolutely must consume:
• A high level of calories
• A high level of fast acting carbohydrates; And
• A fast acting protein
In order to speed up the recovery process. The first is directly after your workout and the other is upon waking. It's at these two periods of time that your body is in a state of starvation. You need to feed your body a large amount of fast acting carbohydrates and protein to kick start the recovery process.
I've designed a super duper weight gain drink that you should be consuming at these two critical times of recovery:
• Two scoops of protein powder or weight gain powder (recommended)
• 1 ½ cup whole milk
• 1 cup orange juice
• Half cup of vanilla yogurt
• 2 tablespoons of honey
• 5 ice cubes
• 5 grams of creatine
Mix everything in a blender until smooth. For additional smoothie recipes, click here. Tip** Here's an orange creamsicle shake recipe that's out of this world!
Don't skimp out on these critical times! These are the most important times of the day to kick start your recovery process and get you fast tracked to gaining muscular weight.
Remember, you want to go into your workouts refreshed. Your muscles should be well rested and primed to tackle the weight.
Cat naps I try and sneak in naps whenever I can. Even if it's for 5 or 10 minutes, it rejuvenates and refreshes my body.
Try and consume recovery foods There are certain foods that have been shown to aid and speeding up muscle recovery. Try eating some of these foods in mentioned in this article here.
Drink at least one gallon of water per day Water is the perfect recovery aid. Believe or not, there are optimal water drinking strategies designed for muscle building. See this page here for a sample of these strategies.
Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables There's too much importance in the roles that fruits and vegetables play. I suggest consuming plenty of leafy and starchy veggies with every meal. Have at least 3 servings of organic fruits per day (bananas, bananas, and more bananas) with at least 5 servings of veggies per day.
For a complete discussion, please see our rest and recovery guide.
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