After a hard and intense workout followed by the injestion of your meals, there comes a long night of deep sleep. This must be your attitude on a daily basis, to set up a proven recovery. Get into the habit of sleeping an average of 7 to 8 hours a day as soon as possible. Also taking a light nap if possible during the day would be welcome. You should understand that recovery is not limited to the repair of muscle damage occurring during training, but the recovery of several other systems promoting physical and mental performance. This is the subject of this article, where I will adress all aspects of recovery that you need to keep an eye on.
It is not during training that muscle growth occurs, but much later, when you sleep. Therefore, the first aspect of recovery that every practitioner must seek to optimize is the reconstruction of muscle fibers. When you perform exercises by manipulating weights, you are only creating micro damages in the stressed muscle fibers. The harder and longer the effort, the more damage it will cause, resulting in the feeling of pain and exhaust after a good session.
During sleep, the body activates by a certain process the regeneration of damaged muscle tissue with nutrients and hormones. The new fibers thus formed will be slightly more resistant and stronger than those of before to precisely adapt to the difficulty of the training. It is a partial process, so do not expect to recover overnight, which is why you should keep a good sleep pattern throughout the week.
As I said in the previous paragraph, hormones play a major role in muscle recovery and in particular testosterone, a hormone with a very anabolic characteristic, secreted by men (in a much smaller amount by women). Among the factors which influence the production of testosterone, I will quote the consumption of good quality fats as well as minerals (Zinc for example), your diet must take this into account. Testosterone is not only involved in the anabolism of muscles, but also in the metabolism of fats, to have strength and a rage to work hard, which is very useful during your training. Avoiding drowning in alcohol will have the most beneficial effect in maintaining hormone function.
Joints / tendons recovery
In addition to the muscles, the joints and tendons are under enormous stress while performing the exercises. This is even more true when handling extremely heavy weights with horrible form and no enough warm up. The problem with joints and tendons is that their recovery is slower than muscles one, strengthening them also requires much more time, therefore a longer adaptation period. In order to prevent heavy damage and facilitate their recovery, your first tip in training is to warm up all the areas likely to work and pay attention not to lock your joints during the effort or to go on a range of motion out of your abilities.
Outside the gym, make it a habit to allow yourself a few days or a week to rest from time to time, this will have a positive impact in relieving the stress they undergo during several weeks of stress. Supplementing with a glucosamine supplement will also be a significant ally for the regeneration and support of joints and tendons. Remember that a painful joint or tendon will make your task more difficult in training, but also in the movements of daily life.
After a very intense workout, you would have consumed a large quantity of your energy (muscle glycogen) which will then have to be recharged for a next session. The best time to consume a large amount of carbohydrates is to eat well after your workout while staying within the proper range for your goal. In this way, energy storage will be activated from the first 24 hours following your session. This carbohydrate intake will not only be useful in recharging the glycogen muscles, but also in all the recovery processes already discussed and which require a lot of energy. Also remember to bring a combination of fast and complex carbohydrates with breakfast, to end a fasting time who has lasted for several hours of sleep and start the day with good energy.
Any muscle contraction comes from a signal sent by the brain, the main organ of the nervous system. To move a weight along a defined path, your brain instructs your muscles via a nervous message to perform the desired movement. The more this signal is optimal, the more the contraction is good and effective. The bad news, like other systems in your body, it is likely to get tired. Abuse heavy loads and intensification techniques all the time, and you will eventually burn down the circuits of your nervous system. When you can no longer do the workout you used to do for no reason, this may be a sign that your nervous system is getting tired.
Having reached this stage, it is useless and even counterproductive to want to force. The only option is to take a small rest interval or at worst train at a low intensity (and especially in light weights). This will not only allow your joints and tendons to take a vacation as seen in the paragraph concerned, but also your nervous system to restore itself. Obviously, a lack of sleep will greatly degrade the performance of your nervous system, and I will be forced to remind you of the starting rule: forget the problems of life and sleep deeply !