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RESTING BUILDS MUSCLES

LET ME EXPLAIN

No, lounging on a sofa is not the shortest route to a fit and muscular body. This is not some highly questionable method to do something the easy way.

It is only my attempt to come up with a factual headline that may arouse curiosity and thereby provoke interest.

Actually rest does build muscles. But this rest must be preceded by strenuous resistance exercise.

Huffpost tells us that:

  • Giving your body an occasional break is just as important as exercising it.
  • Vigorous exercise stresses our bodies and damages muscle tissues.
  • Resting gives the tissues time to repair and become stronger.
  • Without allowing time for tissue repair, we do our bodies more harm than good.
  • Intense training without adequate recovery time may lead to loss of bone density and thereby fractures
  • Fitness improvements happen to our bodies after our workouts, not during them
  • Rest days are also important in maintaining mental health

Directly quoting InBody:

“When you work out, you cause microscopic damage to your muscle cells. Because of the stress and fatigue your body is under during exercise, hormone and enzyme levels fluctuate and inflammation increases”.

“Those things may sound bad, but they’re not. In fact, they can lead to fat loss, an increased metabolism, increased strength and muscle growth – but only if you properly recover”.

Without rest, our bodies cannot heal, or return to homeostasis. This can lead to injuries and possible loss of muscle mass.

HOW MUCH REST DO WE NEED?

In general, we need 48-72 hours to recover and restore the loss of glycogen. Glycogen is made and stored in the liver and muscles. It stores energy, as do fats.

When I think about rest time requirements, I liken it to baseball pitchers. Starting pitchers, with 60-100 pitches per game (not including warm-up pitches and pick off attempts), generally need about 4 days of rest. Relief pitchers, with 30 pitches or fewer, may be able to go in 2 or 3 games consecutively.

Bodybuilders generally need to rest the body parts being worked at least 48 hours, from a Monday workout to the Wednesday workout, for example. To Nautilus founder Arthur Jones, this meant that 3 workouts per week were sufficient. He mocked those who suggested that our bodies could be segmented into parts for workout purposes.

Current doctrine seems to suggest that we can effectively alternate heavy workouts with light each day. Also, we can alternate upper body with legs, upper body with core or upper body with cardio. I am not aware of any competent training advice that suggests that we work the same body parts consecutively day after day.

We know that there is no “one size fits all” solution to healthy amounts of rest. We differ in intensity of our workouts, our nutrition, age, amount of sleep and energy. We need to experiment to find out if we do better with rest of 24, 48 or 72 hours. In my personal experience, bodybuilders usually gave the main body parts one full day of rest, though they would work the abdominals and calves daily. Power lifters would take a couple of days rest between heavy training.

HOW CAN WE ASSIST RECOVERY?

Consider the following, from InBody:

  • Long distance runners may recover with a leisurely short run. Weight lifters may try a 30-minute yoga program.
  • Drink lots of water. This flushes toxins before, during and after workouts. Try drinking half your bodyweight in ounces daily.
  • Try ice baths or ice packs to reduce soreness. Or cold water immersion, if you have access to such a tank.
  • Supplement with amino acid drinks or protein shakes. Before during and after the workout.
  • Sleep. This is the best recovery tool. Sleep allows our bodies to begin the repair process.
  • Snack with tart cherry juice, chocolate milk and whey protein.

InBody gives us a simple slogan to go by – “Sweat a lot, move a lot and rest a lot”





RESOURCES

Amazon provides just about anything we need, with fair pricing and quick delivery. As an Amazon affiliate, I may earn from qualifying purchases. Here are a few relevant items. Scroll around from the links as you see fit:

Here are some links to providers of health and sports goods in general:

  • Dick’s Sporting Goods – for access to their entire inventory, with significant discounts for fall and winter
  • Bullworker – for high quality isotonic and isometric workout tools
  • Hello Fresh – to simplify food shopping and meal planning

Also, please refer to my recent post for Goli health products

CONCLUDING

Most of my posts spring from personal examples. My workout schedule is not extremely intense. It is about 30 minutes per day, before breakfast. Also, I am a senior.

Recently, however, I experienced something like burnout. I had not missed a workout in at least a couple of months. As I prepared for my morning workout, I felt less than enthusiastic. Also, I felt sore in spots. Did I not sleep well? Was I mentally fatigued?

Even though my routine was not stressful or especially demanding, the notion of a rest day was appealing. So, I took the day off and found that I was much more energetic and enthusiastic the next day.

This was a clash of sober thinking vs. residual guilt feelings. The “day off” freshened my attitude and gave me time to think and write.

Here is another tactic that I recently used. Instead of getting on my treadmill or going outside for a walk, I decided to get my cardio another way. I cleaned a couple of rooms in my house, as quickly and completely as I could – my main bathroom and kitchen. I timed this in the same manner as I would time a walk on my treadmill or outside.

Please leave me any comments or questions in the “Comments” section below. Or email me, richard@myworkoutathome.com. 

Be well and don’t forget rest time!

Richard

2 Comments

  1. Thanks for this information. It is perhaps some of the most important information that you need when starting a workout system. I realized early that I have to take breaks and give my muscles time to repair. If I don’t I know that I will injure myself and cause more harm than good. As hard as it is, sometimes it’s best to just relax.

    • Very true, Al, and thanks! It is difficult for highly motivated people to decelerate, but it is an absolute necessity.

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