The Two Most Highly effective Train Restoration Instruments in Nature
In Part 1 of the Exercise Recovery Series, Train Hard, Recover Harder, I explained that stress is a double-edged sword. In order to make adjustments, you have to impose stress, but too much stress affects your recovery.
Stress can be both good and bad, but your body doesn't distinguish between types of stress and your body can only handle that much stress. Stress is good during exercise; Your ability to benefit from it depends to some extent on your overall stress level.
So you have to manage all of your life stress in order to free up as much capacity as possible to deal with training stress. Stress management strategies can create a greater window of time for exercise stress to apply and recover.
In part two, The Importance of Structured Training Programs for Recovery, I discussed optimizing your training program as another powerful tool for maximizing recovery. By focusing on delivering efficient exercise stress, you make your recovery easier.
Intelligent program design = fatigue management
The four key factors to consider are:
- Volume landmarks
- SRA curves
- Stimulus: fatigue ratio
- Relative intensity
At this point, I'm assuming that your workout is optimized and provides an appropriate incentive.
From this point on, the rest of the adjustments, such as: B. Size and strength gains, from recovery and lead to this simplified muscle building equation:
Stimulus + recovery = adjustment
In this third part of the exercise recovery series, I'll tell you about your two most powerful recovery tools and how to maximize them.
The two most powerful recovery tools available to you are::
If you focus on these consistently, you will be rewarded. With your choice of sleep, diet, and stress management, you are ready to make great strides in the gym.
The positive influence of sleep on performance
Sleep is your most important recovery tool. I have spoken repeatedly about the positive effects of sleep on athletic performance and your ability to recover from hard exercise. The harder you can train without exceeding your recovery capacity, the faster you can progress.
Sleep is the most anabolic state for your body. Lack of sleep limits your strength and muscle mass gains. It also increases your chances of losing muscle mass if you cut and absorb fat as you accumulate.
To maximize recovery and build more muscle, you need to prioritize sleep.
Better sleep will help you with this too::
In short, it makes you a fitter, happier, and more productive person.
Let's be honest; you probably already know that. Bet you don't give sleep the credit it deserves when it comes to your lifestyle choices. Most of us realize that we should sleep more. We know sleep is important. However, we do not prioritize it.
I'm pretty sure you're making this mistake because I do too. I have been guilty many times in the past. It's all too easy to stay up late to catch the next episode of a TV show or to scroll aimlessly through Instagram. Whenever I do that, I always regret it the next day.
Lack of sleep can creep up on you. You are unlikely to realize that you have been deprived of sleep. The occasional late night has little effect. The problem is when those late nights get normal.
Stay on the laptop for a long time to meet work deadlines or relax in front of a good show. Both eat into your sleep and have a huge impact on the quality of your recovery. Over time, you will likely feel like a zombie with no caffeine in the morning, your fitness performance will begin to increase, and you will make poorer dietary choices. All of this happens little by little.
They sneak up on you. I've seen this over and over with customers trying to burn the candle on both ends. They pretend they can get away with it because the drop in performance is gradual. Be warned, lack of sleep adds up and if not resolved, it can halt your progress.
My sleep deprivation experience was less gradual and more like a blunt force trauma. I had always slept well and made it a priority. Then I had children. After our son was born, it took me 18 months to feel normal again in the gym. I vividly remember the session after my first full eight hours of uninterrupted sleep. I felt like superman.
The sad thing is, I wasn't a Superman.
I wasn't even around. After a good night's sleep, I was just a normal Tom. My perception of what was normal had been so distorted by 18 months of sleep deprivation that it now felt amazing to feel normal.
You could have slept in the same situation without realizing it. Make sleep a priority for a month and I'm confident you will look better, feel better, and perform better.
The research on sleep deprivation is alarming. Studies show that for 11 days in a row, with less than six hours of sleep, your cognitive abilities are roughly as high as if you had stayed awake for 24 hours.
After 22 days of sleeping less than six hours a night, your brain is functioning at the same level as someone who has stayed awake for 48 hours straight. To put things in perspective, it means your reactions are likely to be worse than those of someone over the legal limit on alcohol.
Are you more zombie than human?
Take a sleep survey of yourself and assess if you are more of a zombie than a human.
As a guide, this is what you should aim for when it comes to sleeping::
- Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
- Go to bed at the same time every night.
- Wake up at the same time each morning.
- Wake up without an alarm clock.
- Get the rest of the night asleep – multiple bathroom trips are a sure sign of poor quality sleep (or way too much drinking just before bed).
- Waking up in much the same position that you fell asleep (not throwing and spinning all night) is a good sign.
- You should wake up refreshed.
How can your sleep hold up against this list? I suspect you are not ticking all of these points. In my experience, most people can't even check off a few of them. Your goal is to work towards ensuring that you can check off each of these bullet points.
Here are some practical tips to help you sleep better and longer.
- Prepare for success: Get a comfortable bed, mattress and pillow. Bed quality can affect sleep. It can also reduce back and shoulder pain. Given that you spend almost a third of your life in bed, it makes sense to invest in a good one.
- Establish a routine: Go to bed at about the same time and get up at the same time each day. Weekends count too. Matching sleep and wake times was found to improve long-term sleep quality.
- Include relaxation: It has been found that relaxation techniques before bed improve the quality of sleep. Read a book, listen to a chill out playlist, take a hot bath or take a deep breath and meditate. Do whatever you can to relax and unwind.
- Cut the coffee at 4pm: Drinking coffee is cool. I love this stuff, but having it later in the day can disrupt or even prevent your sleep. On average, the half-life of caffeine is around five hours. However, this half-life can vary massively between individuals. If you're a slow metabolizer of caffeine, you may have levels in your system that will keep you awake and will keep you awake until the wee hours of the morning if you drink it after 4pm. In extreme cases, having it within 10 hours of bedtime can be disturbing for some people. So cut yourself off at 4pm and see if it's easier for you to fall asleep. If you're still having issues, move things forward to 3pm and reevaluate.
- Separate yourself from the matrix: The blue light emitted by the screens of your devices can disrupt your sleep. The internal clock or the daily rhythm of the body is mainly influenced by the hours of daylight. Artificial lights like street lights and lightbulbs already annoy it, but staring at screens adds to the problem. Your internal clock is supplied by the eye nerve, which is directly influenced by blue light. The same light lets your phone, TV, laptop and tablet shine. To improve sleep, I suggest that you disconnect from such screens for at least 60 minutes before going to bed.
- Get natural sunlight during the day: In these times the body needs light. Studies have found that two hours of bright light during the day increases the amount of sleep by two hours and improves the quality of sleep by 80%.
- Sleep in the batcave: Make your bedroom pitch black, calm and cool to maximize the quality of your sleep. Remove all electrical devices.
- Room temperature: Set the thermostats to around 20 ° C. It was found that room temperature affects the quality of sleep more than external noise.
- Stay away from alcohol: Just a few drinks have been shown to reduce your sleep hormones. Alcohol alters melatonin production and lowers HGH (Human Growth Hormone) levels. Melatonin is an important sleep hormone that tells your brain when it's time to relax and fall asleep. HGH helps regulate your body clock, counteracts aging, and is vital to recovery.
There you have it, your comprehensive guide to better sleep. You have no excuse now. You know sleep is crucial. You can also evaluate your sleep based on the standards listed above. If you miss out, here are nine tips to improve your sleep.
As you improve your sleep, everything else improves too. Try to improve your sleep before you worry about investing in other recovery modalities.
Neither of them can hold a candle to sleep, and sleep is free.
Your calorie intake and energy balance
Your second most powerful recovery tool is your diet.
By properly fueling your body, you can take advantage of the stimulus generated by your exercise. Training creates the incentive to build muscle, lose fat and increase strength. Your recovery will determine whether or not you will achieve that potential.
When it comes to nutrition, there are several variables that you can manipulate. The most important variable when it comes to nutrition for recovery is your caloric intake and energy balance.
What is a calorie and what is energy balance??
A calorie (Kcal) is a unit of energy. Our food contains calories and fuels us with energy to lead our daily lives. Everyone needs different amounts of energy per day depending on their age, size and level of activity.
Calorie budget refers to the number of calories you consume compared to the number of calories you burn.
If you eat excess calories, you will gain weight. If you eat a calorie deficit, you will lose weight. While eating high calorie food in the process of maintenance, it means that you are maintaining the weight. When it comes to physical change, calories are king.
When consuming a calorie surplus, maximizing regeneration is easier to manage than when consuming a deficit. You have an abundance of calories to meet your macro and micronutrient needs. When it comes to diet and you have an excess, keep things simple. Hit your macros, distribute your protein intake relatively evenly between 3-6 meals a day, and eat a variety of fruits and vegetables.
When you are calorie deficit, the details of your diet are more important in maximizing recovery as less energy comes in. The basic principles still apply, but you need to take better account of your low calorie eating habits to ensure that you meet both your macro and micronutrient needs.
Meal timing, food quality, and micronutrition are more important when you are in a deficit, but none of them trumps achieving a reasonable calorie deficit.
Energy balance and macronutrients are the two most important factors in your diet in terms of body development and strength gains.
How to set calories for individual results
If you have an excess, I suggest that you eat enough to gain between 0.25 and 0.5% of your body weight per week.
A quick strategy to estimate your daily needs is to multiply your weight in pounds by 15.
This formula generally gives a good approximation of the calories needed to maintain your weight. A 500 calorie excess per day equates to roughly a pound of weight gain per week. If you weigh 200 pounds, this is right at the upper end of your weight gain target.
An excess of 250 calories a day will result in you gaining roughly half a pound a week. Selecting an excess between 250 and 500 calories would be appropriate for a 200 pound lifter.
If you are in deficit, I suggest losing between 0.5% and 1% of your body weight per week.
If you maintain a faster rate for an extended period of time (say, more than four weeks), there is a risk that it will adversely affect your fitness performance and muscle loss.
Similar to the excess example, you can estimate maintenance calories by multiplying your weight in pounds by 15 calories.
From this point on, you need to subtract calories in order to achieve a deficit. A 500 calorie deficit will give you one pound loss per week. For our 200 pound example, an ideal rate of fat loss is between 1 and 2 pounds per week. Consequently, a deficit of 500-1,000 kcal per day is the area to look out for in order to achieve this.
There are three types of macronutrients: protein, fat, and carbohydrates. All of these provide energy and therefore contain calories. Here's how to establish and set your macronutrient needs and goals.
The calorie content per gram of each macronutrient is listed below::
- Protein: Four calories per gram
- Fat: Nine? Calories per gram
- carbohydrate: Four? Calories per gram
This information is useful for the practical step of creating your diet with the appropriate proportions for each macronutrient.
Protein is essential for survival
Protein comes from the Greek word proteios, which means "of primary importance".
- Protein is involved in almost every process in your body.
- Proteins are vital and healthy.
- They play an important role in athletic performance and body composition.
- Muscle mass is mostly made up of protein.
- Protein helps you recover from your workouts.
- It preserves lean tissue on diets.
- It will help you build more muscle as you build.
- It has the greatest effect on satiety, or feeling comfortable, of any macronutrient.
To build muscle, consume protein in the range of 1.6 to 2.2 g / kg of lean body mass, which is enough to stimulate MPS for the day.
Recent research supports the high end of this range.
I generally recommend eating 2 g of protein per kg of body weight. This formula is easy to remember, easy to calculate, and conveniently covers your needs. From a practical point of view, I've also found that it is a set that satisfies most people's appetites and eating habits.
Take away key– Eat 2 g of protein per kg of body weight per day.
Never eliminate fat from your diet
Consuming dietary fat is important for regular hormonal function, especially testosterone production.
You should never remove fat from a diet.
There is not so much an optimal amount of fat to consume, but a minimum one
0.2-0.5 g / kg / day for normal hormonal function. There have been compelling arguments in favor of consuming between 20% and 30% of calories in fat in order to optimize testosterone levels.
However, when 0.6 g / kg / bw is reached, no significant benefit for the hormones can be seen.
How Much Fat Should I Consume?
I prefer a minimum of 0.6 g / kg / kg per day.
- If there is an excess, this is enough to optimize hormonal function and generally equates to around 20% of the calories.
- Since hormone function has little benefit after a calorie surplus after 0.6 g / kg / bw, there is no physiological need to increase this number as you go through your mass phase.
- Even if the total calories are adjusted upwards to keep gaining weight, there is no physiological need to exceed the fat content of 0.6 g / kg / bw. However, in my experience, many people find it easier to stick to their eating plan when the fat increases a bit, when the total calorie intake increases.
- I generally find anything up to 1g / kg / bw is effective.
- If there is a deficit, I suggest a range of 0.6-1 g / kg / body weight.
- The risk of hormonal disorders is higher with a chronic calorie deficit.
- While many clients have performed well and achieved exceptional results at the low end of this range, I tend to be conservative and start at the high end when a phase of fat loss begins.
From this point on, I take a results-oriented approach based on loss rate, customer feedback, and gym performance.
Take away key– Consume at least 0.6 g of fat per kg of body weight.
Carbohydrates affect hormones
Like fats, carbohydrates have a positive effect on hormones. The carbohydrates you eat are converted to glucose and stored in the liver or released into the bloodstream.
However, most of this glucose is actually taken up and stored by the muscles as glycogen. Despite this storage, glycogen is at the bottom of the body's list of priorities.
Glucose is used in a hierarchical order.
Cells in need of energy are the priority for the incoming glucose. Only when the majority of the cells' energy requirements have been met does the consumption of carbohydrates increase blood sugar. When blood sugar levels reach reasonable levels, the liver's glycogen synthesis is the next priority.
Only then does the synthesis of muscle glycogen begin to a significant amount. When muscles absorb blood sugar, they can use it for activity or repair. This is important for muscle repair, recovery, and growth.
Carbohydrates are the dominant source of energy for the central nervous system (CNS) and exercise.
They promote strenuous training and regeneration by replenishing muscle glycogen. Stored muscle glycogen is the primary and preferred source of fuel for high-intensity exercise. Carbohydrates are a great benefit for people who train hard.
During the diet phases it has become very popular to keep carbohydrate levels very low. This is not entirely unfounded, as cutting down on carbohydrates can lead to a calorie deficit. I suggest you resist the temptation not to eat carbohydrates.
To get the most out of your workout, you need to do overloaded workouts. If you eat enough carbohydrates, you can do this. They also help you retain muscle mass even as you lose body weight.
When you're low on glycogen, you risk suppressing the anabolic response to weight training. Eating sufficient carbohydrates allows for higher exercise intensity, higher exercise volume, faster recovery between sets and between sessions, and anti-catabolic and anabolic effects.
"How Much Carbohydrates Should You Consume?" Short answer:
"The rest of your available calories"
More protein preserves muscle mass and saturation
While you are in excess of calories, hitting your macros is likely to get 80% of the benefits of your diet from a recreational standpoint.
Factors such as nutrient timing, micronutrition, food variety, and quality all contribute to optimal results, but they make little difference.
When you're in a deficit, those tiny gains are yours to take care of as you don't have the safety net of an abundance of calories to do the heavy lifting for you.
Here are some tips on how to squeeze the most out of your diet for maximum recovery while cutting:
- If you are in a calorie deficit, consuming the high end of the protein guidelines given earlier (2.2 g / kg / bw) is an excellent idea.
- High protein intake has been shown to preserve muscle mass.
- Anecdotally, high protein intake also appears to regulate appetite. This scheme is useful when cutting calories.
Several studies have shown that a 25-40g serving of protein is enough to maximize muscle protein synthesis (MPS). To give you a more specific recommendation, I suggest that you aim for 0.4 g / kg body weight per meal. If you weigh 65kg, that would be 26g, while a 80kg man would have 32g of protein per meal.
The current literature shows that eating a mixed whole meal results in MPS lasting approximately three hours and peaking for 45-90 minutes. While protein shakes / amino acid supplements typically only last two hours and peak earlier. Then MPS begins to subside.
Research shows that these peaks and valleys are beneficial for maximum muscle growth in MPS.
Based on the available scientific evidence, 4-6 servings of protein per day, 3-4 hours each, is the best choice to maximize MPS.
When you are low on calories, fine-tuning your diet to maximize MPS is your best bet to avoid muscle wasting.
The holy grail of nutrient timing?
We've all heard of the post-workout anabolic window. Post-workout diet has long been considered the holy grail of nutrient timing. I think this is a mistake. Pre-workout nutrition, in my opinion, is just as important, if not more important, than post-workout nutrition.
As mentioned earlier, it takes the body several hours to digest a meal. For example, suppose you have a balanced meal before you workout. In this case, your body will continue to receive a constant supply of nutrients throughout the session and even in the post-workout window.
Many people overlook the critical consideration that the important nutrient timing factor is that the nutrients are in your bloodstream, not when you eat them.
The nutrients from your pre-workout meal are in your bloodstream during and possibly after your workout. This means that you can immediately supply nutrients to the working muscles. If you only focus on the post-workout meal, there is a significant delay in the nutrients that get to the muscles where you need them.
With this in mind, there are a few points to note here::
- Insufficient carbohydrates can interfere with strength training.
- Consuming carbohydrates in the pre-workout meal can improve performance in the workout session.
- Consuming carbohydrates while exercising in sessions longer than an hour can improve performance at the end of the session and prevent muscle wasting (especially when combined with a quickly digestible source of protein).
- By consuming carbohydrates after exercise, muscle glycogen is replenished more effectively than at other times. This post-workout window is much longer than the much touted anabolic window of 20-30 minutes. The 4-6 hours after training when consuming carbohydrates replenish the optimal muscle glycogen.
As you build up, your carbohydrate intake is likely high enough that you don't have to worry too much about skewing your food at one time or another.
If you distribute the carbohydrates evenly throughout the day, you are in good hands.
Calories and carbohydrates can be very low during a diet. IIn this situation, it is more important to consider your specific carbohydrate intake timing to aid in quality exercise and recovery.
It is advisable to make sure that you consume carbohydrates at least with meals before and after your workout.
After that, you can just spread it fairly evenly over the other meals you eat during the day.
Eat the rainbow
Choosing nutrient-rich, low-calorie foods is a wise decision. This choice will help you stay full, which means you will be more likely to stick to your diet.
It also means you are getting all of the micro-nutrition you need to support a good recovery from exercise. A wide variety of vegetables is a smart decision when cutting calories.
An easy way to get a wide range of micronutrients is to eat fruits and vegetables in as many different colors as possible.
While it is tempting to reach for the expensive recovery tool backed by pseudoscience, it is better to pluck the low hanging fruits of improving your sleep and diet to aid your recovery.
These two factors will have a far greater impact on your recovery and results than any other failed recovery method.
Use the guidelines I have provided to get a massive recovery benefit and keep those silly recovery fashions for less informed lifters.
Don't miss the other parts of the exercise recovery series:
- Train hard, recover harder
- The Importance of Structured Training Programs in Recovery
- The Two Most Powerful Exercise Recovery Tools in Nature
- Active, passive, and deserved exercise recovery strategies