If you want to get stronger or put on more muscle mass, lifting weights is only half the battle.
Truth is, you don’t build muscle when you lift weights.
What builds the muscle is the rest and recovery following your weight training.
That means eating the proper foods, getting enough sleep, and optimizing your recovery to the best of your ability.
If you don’t take your recovery seriously, your body will have a much harder time getting those hard-to-earn gains. This means that all that time and hard work pumping iron in the gym could go straight to waste!
Don’t settle for mediocrity, put as much effort in your recovery, diet, and rest as you do lifting weights in the gym!
But instead of giving you the recovery tips you SHOULD do, I’m going to provide you with the recovery tips you SHOULDN’T do!
That way you already know what doesn’t work!
Bad Recovery Tips
Here is a list of things you don’t want to do following your gym session.
I added this in here for your own benefit.
Again, if you want to build muscle and gain herculean strength, DO NOT FOLLOW THESE TIPS.
(I will also provide you with the correct tips in each section!)
Go To Bed Late And Forget About Sleep
How many of you are up until 3am?
It doesn’t matter what you’re doing up that late. Whatever it is, it’s not helping your gains, that’s for sure.
You want that sexy body? Get in to bed earlier and get that rest.
If you’re up till the break of dawn watching tv, playing video games, or binge drinking; it’s going to negatively affect you.
4-5 hours of sleep is not enough. Shoot for 8-9 EVERY SINGLE NIGHT.
Sleep is your bodys time to reset and recover from a long day of hard work. When you limit your sleep and resting time, you limit the recovery of both your body and your brain!
Stress Yourself Out
Stress ruins everything, including your body’s ability to build muscle.
Want another way to waste away a workout? Start stressing and getting annoyed at little things.
Stress increases cortisol, a hormone that acts as a coping mechanism in response to danger, stress, or fear. In the wild, cortisol is supposed to save your life (imagine you being chased by a lion). Cortisol kicks in so you become stressed out and you run for your life.
But in the real world we live in now, you stress out because of your job, a school paper, or something silly. Cortisol kicks in and your body/mind starts to focus on the stressor.
When this happens, your body slows down other functions like building muscle.
Cortisol also works indirectly with testosterone. Testosterone which is the hormone responsible for muscle growth.
So if you don’t want to build muscle, increase your stress and cortisol levels, while trying to lower your testosterone.
Keep Working And Overtraining
What’s the worst way to recover?
By continuously working over and over until your body basically poops itself out.
It’s no secret that a long day of hard work should be followed by just taking some time to become a couch potato.
Your body needs a break!
Vacations, breaks, and time off is there for a reason!
You physically can’t work out 5 hours a day, 7 days a week, for 365 days a year.
Have you ever tried to do heavy squats 2 days in a row?
The second day your legs will be killing, back hurting, and its physically impossible to bend down, let alone squat heavy.
Overtraining is a very real thing, not just a term made up by some softies.
There’s nothing wrong with taking a day or two off.
Don’t Drink Any Water
Water is essential for the body’s functions.
It’s not something you can just ignore, hydration (and dehydration) happens at a cellular level.
Your body is made up of about 60% water.
Everything from your lungs, muscles, brain, heart, kidneys, and cells are mainly made up of H2O.
So why should you drink water for a better recovery?
Water provides your muscles with electrolytes and energy. Your cells rely heavily on water to operate. If you’re dehydrated, your cells don’t won’t work to their fullest potential – they won’t aid in the reparations process.
If you ever have sore muscles after a workout, also known as DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness), drinking water will help alleviate the pain.
Drinking water also helps remove toxins from your body. Drinking a big glass of water right when you wake up in the morning will help provide you with both energy and toxin removal.
Water also helps with digestion.
Protein is one of the three main macronutrients.
The thing about protein is that it is the macronutrient that requires the most amount of water in order to be digested and taken in by the body. If your out in the desert, with only food but no water, you’re still kind of toast.
Your body won’t take in much of the protein unless you have some water to drink.
So if you want to maximize all that protein you consume on a daily basis, try drinking at least 2 liters (half a gallon) of water every day!
Eat Like Crap
If you eat potato chips all day, you will become a potato chip…
When you exercise, you burn calories.
When you burn calories, you become really hungry.
When you become hungry, food tastes better.
Ask any bodybuilder or fitness athlete, it’s tempting and easy to cheat when it comes to your diet.
Chips, cake, pizza, you name it… they’re all very tempting to eat, especially after a grueling workout.
But eating like crap won’t get you anywhere in your fitness journey, in fact, it’ll only bring you down.
Proper recovery nutrition includes superfoods like:
- Sweet Potato
- Protein-Rich Foods
These superfoods are rich and filled with antioxidants which naturally help heal the body in so many different ways!
- Promote Muscle Recovery
- Prevent Cancer
- Lower Blood Pressure and Risk of Cardiovascular Disease
- Regulate Blood Sugar
- Slow Aging
- Replenish Essential Vitamins and Minerals
- And Much More!
On the other side of the equation…
Eating calorie filled chips and sweets filled with refined sugar and salt won’t make you any stronger and will actually negatively impact your health, such as increasing blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and other illnesses.
It certainly won’t help your muscles grow either.
Avoid eating foods that are high in both salt/sugar, and avoid processed foods altogether. Sticking to real whole-based organic foods is the way to go!
Don’t Eat Much
Eating poorly is one thing, but not eating anything might be even worse.
Even if you want to lose weight, not eating is the improper way to go about it.
Your body views food as fuel and nothing else.
You may view food as a pleasure or tasty treat, but to the body it only serves one purpose…
And if you’re not eating enough not only will you see decreases in energy, you’ll see a lack of recovery.
Both your athletic performance and progress will see a decline.
Especially in the case of building muscle or gaining strength, it’s important to eat in a 300-500 caloric surplus.
That means eating 300-500 more calories than your caloric maintenance (the amount of calories your body burns in a day).
Eating these extra calories will help repair those damaged muscle tissues and make them bigger and stronger!
So next time, you can lift more weight and/or more reps.
But if you’re not consuming enough food, you can kiss all that progress for the next workout(s) goodbye.
Proper recovery means eating enough/more than enough food to fuel your body.
Drink Lots Of Alcohol
Everybody loves to party.
But drinking alcohol is pretty much the same as drinking a poison.
Alcohol literally has ZERO health benefits.
We only consume alcohol for pleasure and the social aspect of drinking.
You don’t drink because it makes your smarter, faster, stronger, or younger. (At least I hope you don’t.)
Alcohol essentially weakens your body and impairs recovery.
It’s not something you want to drink after a long training session.
Because alcohol affects the proteins that trigger muscle growth.
Ever wonder why bodybuilders, powerlifters, strongmen, and professional athletes completely cut out alcohol during their training season?
Because it impairs your physical performance!
Alcohol can also severely dehydrate you. Dehydrated muscles are ones that don’t recover as well!
Don’t Stretch, Stay Active, Or Get A Massage
After any physical exercise, it’s not uncommon to have your muscles tighten up and feel sore.
When you do any physical exercise, especially weightlifting, your muscle fibers will experience small tears. These small tears will lead to soreness, DOMS, which I mentioned earlier.
DOMS can last up to 72 hours post exercise.
But there are some thing you can do to alleviate that nagging muscle soreness and speed up recovery time.
Stretching and massaging the area will help increase blood flow to the area, providing essential nutrients to recovering area.
Simple body stretches can be done in a small area and provide great relief and recovery!
Another excellent tip is to purchase/use a percussion massager.
Percussion massagers use high intensity pulses to gently put targeted pressure on a body part.
The massage will greatly increase blood flow!
Lastly, getting active, such as going outside, getting some sun, or going for a walk will also help your recovery time.