Living Fit http://livingfit.co Build Muscle. Burn Fat. Be Fit Fri, 20 Mar 2015 06:14:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Reconsider your Excuse for not Exercising http://livingfit.co/reconsider-your-excuse-for-not-exercising/ http://livingfit.co/reconsider-your-excuse-for-not-exercising/#comments Sun, 08 Mar 2015 17:24:18 +0000 http://livingfit.co/?p=2818 A picture is worth a thousand words, and this photo of a determined woman getting some ab work done at her local playground speaks volumes. 

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Take some morals from this picture…

  • You are as young (or as old) as you feel.
  • Strength training helps fight the aging process, so work on building lean muscle whenever and wherever you can!
  • When you ignore the excuses and do the work, you’ll always feel better after you exercise.

Enjoy a little spontaneous fitness yourself today. Your body will thank you!

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Strength Training for Women: Dispelling Misconceptions http://livingfit.co/dispelling-myths-strength-training-women/ http://livingfit.co/dispelling-myths-strength-training-women/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 17:03:28 +0000 http://livingfit.co/?p=2779 Okay, so you’re a women and you want to have a flat belly, defined arms a nice round butt and firm legs. But you've been told to stay away from heavy resistance training if you don’t want to look like a man with boobs.

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Misconceptions about strength training—often based on unfounded fears of becoming too muscular—can keep women from pushing their fitness levels.

That’s unfortunate because strength training provides several important health benefits for women. Most important, it helps them maintain a healthy weight. It also can help them avoid osteoporosis and prevent back problems. If you’ve never lifted weights, consider working with a trainer for your first few sessions; chances are the results you get will make you stick with it.

Myth 1: Strength training causes women to become larger, heavier and muscular.

The truth is, strength training helps reduce body fat and increase lean weight (1). These changes may result in a slight increase in overall weight, since lean body mass weighs more than fat. However, strength training results in significant increases in strength, no change or a decrease in lower-body girths, and a very small increase in upper-extremity girth. Only women with a genetic predisposition for hypertrophy who participate in high-volume, high-intensity training will see substantial increases in limb circumference.

Myth 2: Women should use different training methods than men.

Women are often encouraged to use weight machines and slow, controlled movements out of a fear that using free weights, manual resistance, explosiveness (high velocity, low force), or exercises that use body weight as resistance will cause injury.

In fact, no evidence suggests that women are more likely to be injured during strength training than men. Proper exercise instruction and technique are necessary to reduce the risk of injuries for both men and women. All strength training participants should follow a program that gradually increases the intensity and load.

Furthermore, sport-specific exercise should closely mimic the biomechanics and velocity of the sport for which an athlete is training (2). The best way to achieve this is to use closed-kinetic-chain exercise that involves multiple joints and muscle groups and the ranges of motion specific to the sport. For example, the push press–rather than triceps kickbacks–offers a superior arm extension training stimulus for improving the ability to throw the shot put in track and field.

Myth 3: Women should avoid high-intensity or high-load training.

Women are typically encouraged to use limited resistance, such as light dumbbells, in their strength exercises. Often such light training loads are substantially below those necessary for physiologic adaptations and certainly less than those commonly used by men.

Most women are able to train at higher volumes and intensities than previously believed. In fact, women need to train at intensities high enough to cause adaptation in bone, muscle, cartilage, ligaments, and tendons. When exercise intensity provides insufficient stimulus, physiologic benefits may be minimal (3). To gain maximum benefit from strength training, women should occasionally perform their exercises at or near the repetition maximum for each exercise.

In Brief, Women simply don’t naturally possess enough of the male hormone, testosterone that will allow them to become huge muscular hulks! Hence weight training will NOT to make you a bodybuilder unless you tried so hard to be muscular.

References

  1. Fox E, Bowers R, Foss M: The Physiological Basis for Exercise and Sport, Madison, WI, Brown and Benchmark, 1993
  2. Stone MH, Borden RA: Modes and methods of resistance training. Strength Conditioning 1997;19(4):18-24
  3. National Strength and Conditioning Association: Position Paper: Strength Training for Female Athletes. National Strength and Conditioning Association, Colorado Springs, 1990

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What It Means To Be Fit and Healthy http://livingfit.co/what-it-means-to-be-fit-and-healthy/ http://livingfit.co/what-it-means-to-be-fit-and-healthy/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:57:18 +0000 http://livingfit.co/?p=2743 When you think of being "fit", what does that mean to you? Does it mean looking like Dana Lynn Bailey, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or some other elite athlete? Is it a number on the scale, blood pressure score, jeans size, a body free of disease, or something else?

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To some people, it may mean following a regular exercise routine. To others, it may mean being well toned or muscular. It may mean eating a balanced diet. And still to others, it can mean the ability to excel in athletics or other physical challenges. Being fit ultimately refers to your own optimal health and overall well being. Fitness pertains to all aspects of your life – physical, emotional and mental.

Living fit involves a mix of physical, mental, and emotional components that make us who we are. We literally create our bodies from the inside out with what we put in, what we think, and what we do. Regardless of what we think picture-perfect health looks like, there is one thing we all have in common when it comes to fitness: Everyone wants to feel better.

What Being Fit And Healthy Means

You can achieves “FITNESS” when you are strong, energetic, healthy and happy with the way you look. Truly happy and not just convincing yourself that you’re fine just the way you are, but looking into the mirror and genuinely feeling satisfied and proud. That is what the practical definition and goal for fitness should be. When you are fit, you have:

  • Feeling good and having lots of energy.
  • Being able to ride your bike long and hard because cycling really makes me happy!
  • Exercising regularly and being able to enjoy it. I workout because I enjoy it, not because I have to.
  • Being able to live my life and indulge guilt-free while maintaining my body fat percentage with no brutal effort. Because I live to eat and eating makes me happy.
  • Combination of muscular strength and endurance, cardio and flexibility. You may not excel in a particular one but you must work on everything.
  • Seeing yourself get better, faster and stronger. I may not be faster than the person next to me but I’m  faster than I was yesterday.
  • A balanced lifestyle You can easily sustain where you’re completely satisfied with yourself physically and mentally.
  • BEING HAPPY. You know what is “good enough” for you and when to stop.
  • Inspiring and motivating others to be fit and healthy.

What Being Fit And Healthy Doesn’t Means

  • Being ripped and having a 6-pack.
  • Having a low body fat percentage that isn’t easily sustainable.
  • Being skinny.
  • Obsessive behaviour over health and fitness.
  • Restricting calories and counting calories and macros to a tee.
  • Getting depressed and stressed out when you miss a workout. Or never missing a workout a.k.a. no rest days.
  • Judging others for not living the same lifestyle.

Being Fit and Healthy is a way of Life

Looks do not define being fit and healthy. Just because you look great physically or you are able to run a full marathon effortlessly does not mean you are fit and healthy. You maybe training (or over-training) to look good and to be able to achieve greatness but you maybe struggling inside because this lifestyle is eating you up and takes too much effort to sustain.

Just because you’re more ripped than the guy beside you does not mean he cannot kick your ass if he wanted to. Having a 6-pack may only mean you have more discipline than someone who does not because abs are made in the kitchen. The guy next to you with no 6-pack may train even harder than you but he refuses to “diet” because he finds no personal value in having a 6-pack. Just because you are jacked up and look like a body builder does not mean you are fit. You can lift heavy-ass weights but can you do a high intensity endurance workout? Just because you can run a marathon does not mean you are strong or can squat your own bodyweight. It all depends on your goals and your definitions of being fit and healthy.

So, to sum up here, the practical definition of “FITNESS” is obtaining and maintaining a physique that is strong, energetic, healthy, and looks the way you want it to look.  That doesn’t have to mean looking like an elite athlete or fitness model, or having killer 6-pack abs, that just means looking in the mirror and feeling proud and satisfied.
All of these things will have a tremendous impact on the quality of your life, and you must pursue them.

Be strong in all areas of your life. Be proud, live healthily and live a rewarding and exciting life.  Life is short!  Let’s not waste it being sickly, lethargic, ashamed and weak.  Live a life that your grandchildren will be proud to tell their children stories of, and more importantly, live a life that brings you a wealth of joy and satisfaction.

What does being fit and healthy mean to you? …Because if you don’t know, how will you achieve it?

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How to Set Fitness Goals that will Motivate You http://livingfit.co/set-fitness-goals-will-motivate/ http://livingfit.co/set-fitness-goals-will-motivate/#comments Thu, 21 Aug 2014 15:49:38 +0000 http://livingfit.co/?p=2551 Do you fail at achieving your most significant fitness goals? Why not create a powerful 'motivation sheet' that will always point the way?

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Don’t let your fitness goals and resolutions fall by the wayside. Chances are that to achieve your dream physique and live a healthy life, those goals and resolutions are crucial. Set your goals by answering these three simple questions and always on track.

WHAT DOES YOUR IDEAL BODY LOOK LIKE?

The first step of establishing your goals is to determine what your ideal body would look like. Not just in your head, but in reality. You need to find pictures of exactly what you want to look like and save them for future reference.

It might seem silly for you to go searching on the internet for pictures of ripped guys, but it’s important that you have an exact visual image of how you want your body to look.

WHAT WOULD YOUR IDEAL STATE OF HEALTH BE LIKE?

Even if ‘looking a certain’ way is your primary motivation for training, you will soon learn that the health benefits are just as motivating. You’re going to feel better physically, you’re going to have higher energy levels, you’re going to get stronger, you’re going to be more mentally alert, you’re going to have a stronger sex drive, and more.

Work out a health goal that you find motivating. Like: To have a vital, energetic, strong, and disease-free body that lives long and allows me to stay active and enjoy my life to the fullest.

WHY DO YOU WANT TO ACHIEVE THESE GOALS?

The next question is why. What are the reasons for achieving those goals? This is completely personal, so write whatever is most motivating to you. For the sake of simplicity, first write the “whys” for the looks goals, then focus on the health goal.

Maybe you want to boost your confidence; maybe you want to better enjoy sports you play or physically taxing hobbies of yours; maybe you want to get more attention from the opposite sex; maybe you want to feel the satisfaction of overcoming physical barriers; maybe you want to be able to participate in physical activities with your kids; hell, maybe you want to beat your friends in arm wrestling matches. Whatever your reasons, just write them all down.

By answering these three simple questions, create a powerful ‘motivation sheet’ that will always point the way. When you feel a bit tired and are dreading the gym, you can just look at that sheet, and you’ll probably change your mind.

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IFBB Pro Victor Martinez Demonstrates Best Leg Workouts http://livingfit.co/best-leg-workouts-demonstration-for-mass-gain/ http://livingfit.co/best-leg-workouts-demonstration-for-mass-gain/#comments Tue, 19 Aug 2014 04:31:11 +0000 http://livingfit.co/?p=2560 If you have been around the Iron Game for a while You should have known Vitor Mrtinez. He has the perfect combination of size, freakiness, and aesthetics – he’s a new breed of muscle. In this video, Vic has demonstrated best leg workouts videos for building Tree Trunk legs.

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Bodybuilding 101: Reps http://livingfit.co/how-many-reps/ http://livingfit.co/how-many-reps/#comments Thu, 14 Aug 2014 03:58:54 +0000 http://livingfit.co//?p=2125 Probably the most common question pro bodybuilders receive at seminars is 'How many reps should I perform?' Everyone wonders if there is some magical rep range that will produce the biggest and fastest gains in muscle size.

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Virtually every exercise and training routine relies on an understanding of this simple word. The word ‘rep’ is an abbreviation of the word ‘repetition’ and refers to one complete movement of an exercise. For example, curling a barbell up and then back down is one rep.

With the exception of a few test lifts, bodybuilders rarely perform just one rep of an exercise. Instead, they perform a series of consecutive reps in a group or bunch, called a ‘set.’ The average number of reps in a set is 8 to 12, but this depends on such factors as the exercise itself, the goals of the trainer, the muscle group being worked, and the time of the year (i.e. off-season or pre-contest).

How Many?

Probably the most common question pro bodybuilders receive at seminars is: ‘How many reps should I perform?’ Everyone wonders if there is some magical rep range that will produce the biggest and fastest gains in muscle size. It would be nice if you could plug your vital statistics into a computer and calculate that magical rep-range, but it just doesn’t work that way! For this reason, most bodybuilders will vary their rep ranges throughout the years. In fact many will alternate rep ranges during the same workout.

The Big Three

Generally speaking, there are three broad rep ranges that bodybuilders follow throughout the year:

  • Ranges for building maximum strength,
  • Ranges for building maximum size, and
  • Ranges for building maintenance and conditioning.

If maximum strength is the goal, recommend rep range is 3 to 5. This does not mean simply stopping at 3 to 5 reps, no matter how many you could have done, but rather using a weight that prevents you from achieving a higher number.

If maximum muscle mass is the goal, then the accepted rep range is 8 to 12. Some bodybuilders find slightly lower ranges of 6 to 8 more productive. Others experience the best results by performing higher reps in the 15 to 20 range. For the most part, however, you probably can’t go wrong keeping most of your exercises in the 8-to-12 zone.

If general conditioning is the desired goal, then the 12 to 15 or sometimes 15 to 20 range is recommended. Many athletes and bodybuilders follow this range during their pre-contest phase of training as it burns slightly more calories, preserves muscle size and strength and reduces the risk of injury. (Higher reps require the use of lighter weights.)

Reps are without a doubt the most important aspect of your bodybuilding training. To maximize your muscle and strength gains, you should experiment with various rep ranges to determine the range that works best for you, and remember to switch it up quite often. No two people respond the same and the best bodybuilders are those who frequently try different rep and weight combinations.

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Importance of Sleep for Muscle Growth http://livingfit.co/importance-sleep-muscle-growth/ http://livingfit.co/importance-sleep-muscle-growth/#comments Sun, 11 May 2014 16:12:32 +0000 http://livingfit.co//?p=2523 When you think about building muscle mass the first thing you probably think of is spending hours in the gym. The next thing you probably think about is the diet and nutrition necessary to help recover and build muscle. Most people probably don’t even consider how sleep can affect building muscle.

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During your workout your muscles will build up a large number of microscopic tears on the cellular level. These tears must in turn be repair in order to strengthen and grow the muscle tissue bigger. The two main factors in how well your muscles are repaired after training are sleep and nutrition.

When you’re sleeping your body enters a higher anabolic state. This basically just means that your body uses the time when you’re sleeping to repair and rejuvenate all of the tissue in your body, including muscle tissue. While you’re sleeping your body will construct larger molecules which are used to repair various parts of the body including your muscular, immune and nervous systems.

How Does Sleep Affect Muscle Growth?

Sleeping will ensure that your body is able to complete the necessary cycles of repair and recovery in order to achieve muscle growth. When you sleep your body creates spikes in larger amounts of human growth hormone, testosterone and melatonin. Both of these play a huge role in the reproduction and regeneration of cells within the body. Put simply, without enough sleep your body won’t be able to properly restore the damage done to your muscles during training.

Synthesizing Muscle Tissue

In order to build muscle mass, also known as hypertrophy, your body must be synthesizing proteins faster than it is breaking down proteins in the muscle. After absorbing nutrients your body begins to synthesize proteins to repair and build muscle tissue. Sleep is the longest period your body has between meals to synthesize proteins. By the time you wake up in the morning your body will have used up all of the nutrients you have absorbed during the day and protein breakdown will may soon exceed protein synthesis.

Using Amino Acids to Inhibit Protein Breakdown

You can inhibit protein breakdown in the body by raising levels of amino acids. These levels must be raised to approximately 25-50% above fasting baseline in order to inhibit the effects of breaking down proteins. Drinking whey protein isolate or casein before bed is an excellent way to inhibit the breakdown of proteins while you sleep. Whey proteins will elevate amino acid levels significantly, although this will only last for a limited number of hours. Casein protein would be the best choice just before bed because it has been found to be much longer lasting and can inhibit protein breakdown for up to 6 hours.

Sleep and Cortisol Production

Cortisol is a hormone found in the body which essentially counteracts testosterone. It will essentially aid in the breakdown of muscle tissue and inhibit muscle growth. Stress, like the stress caused by not getting enough sleep, can increase cortisol levels in the body, not a good thing when you’re trying to build muscle! Getting enough sleep will help to lower stress levels, and in turn lower cortisol levels.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

During sleep your body will conduct protein metabolism at a much faster rate than when you are awake. Getting enough sleep every night is crucial to ensuring that your muscles are repaired and recover properly. This is especially true when you’re strength training.

Getting a good night’s rest is important every night, although it is even more important on the days you train. You should be aiming for anywhere from 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night.

If you are unable to get a full night’s sleep, a short 5–15 minute nap can give a few hours of improved cognitive performance.

Remember ~ Muscles are torn in the gym, fed in the kitchen, and built in bed. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep so your muscles can grow, grow, grow!!!

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Why Eggs Are Critical In A Bodybuilding Diet http://livingfit.co/why-eggs-are-critical-in-a-bodybuilding-diet/ http://livingfit.co/why-eggs-are-critical-in-a-bodybuilding-diet/#comments Sat, 10 May 2014 18:27:34 +0000 http://livingfit.co//?p=2519 Because there is always new research and information regarding physique building and fitness, Dr. Jim Stoppani likes to test nutrition and supplementation variables on himself. Through his years of research and self-testing, Jim knows exactly which macros will produce the best results. In this video, he explains why eggs are such a critical component to a muscle building/fat loss diet.

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Because there is always new research and information regarding physique building and fitness, Dr. Jim Stoppani likes to test nutrition and supplementation variables on himself. Through his years of research and self-testing, Jim knows exactly which macros will produce the best results. In this video, he explains why eggs are such a critical component to a muscle building/fat loss diet.

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Mark Rippetoe’s Strength Training Routine http://livingfit.co/mark-rippetoes-strength-training-routine/ http://livingfit.co/mark-rippetoes-strength-training-routine/#comments Fri, 09 May 2014 14:19:22 +0000 http://livingfit.co//?p=2501 Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength routine is one of the most sought out beginner’s programs on the internet and perhaps an even more popular book. Those have used it have testified to the gains it can help generate.

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Mark Rippetoe is a national-level, American strength training coach and author. He is one of the few strength training athletics authorities to publish both peer-reviewed articles as well as books for the lay population.

Unlike most strength training and conditioning academics, he has several decades of practical application as an elite-level strength training coach, former competitive powerlifter and a current gym owner.

Mark Rippetoe’s first two books detail the technical aspects of each primary barbell lifts and major assistance exercises, and created a workout routine for the basic acquisition of strength using these lifts.

This workout routine is known as the Starting Strength barbell training program, or simply Starting Strength. The program involves:

  • 3 sets of 5 repetitions of the squat, bench press, and overhead press;
  • 5 sets of 3 repetitions of the power clean; and
  • 1 set of 5 repetitions of the deadlift

The bench press is alternated with overhead press and deadlift once a week, using power cleans on the other two days. Weights are gradually increased in each session until strength gains reach a plateau. He advocates 3 sessions per week for beginners and drinking a gallon of whole milk per day if underweight to maximize strength gains.

The Strength Training Routine

You alternate Workout A and Workout B every other day, 3 times a week. So you could either do Mon, Wed, Fri or Tues, Thurs. and Sat.

Example:mark-rippetoe-quote

Week 1:

Monday – Workout A
Wednesday -Workout B
Friday – Workout A

Week 2:

Monday – Workout B
Wednesday – Workout A
Friday – Workout B

Etc.

The Workout:

Note: Optional: *

Workout A

3 x 5 Squat
3 x 5 Bench Press
1 x 5 Deadlift
*2 x 8 Dips (if you cant do these or no assist machine then do Decline Dumbbell Bench Press with your hands Facing each other)

Workout B

3 x 5 Squat
3 x 5 Standing military press
3 x 5 Pendlay or Bent Rows (or power cleans)
*2 x 8 Chin-ups (recommended mainly if doing the cleans)

Weight:

You will want the weight to be the same throughout the sets. For instance, if you are doing the first set at bench press at 200lbs, then the following two sets will also be at 200lbs. Warm up sets should precede these working sets however.

Every week make it a goal to increase each of your lifts by 2.5%. Meaning if I lifted 100lbs for my Bench Week 1 then Week 2 I would try for 102.5lbs. If I did 200lb Squats Week 1 I would try for 205lbs in Week 2.

Warm-up Sets:

Before all your working sets it is best to do a few warm-up sets. Specifically for your first lift. You don’t have to do the whole thing for the other lifts but definitely the first.

What you do is you ramp your weight up to your working sets as to prevent injury and to physically warm up the tissues.

For example:

2 x 5 x bar (sets x reps x weight)
1 x 5 x 85
1 x 3 x 125
1 x 2 x 155

And the working set weight would be 175.

If you are lifting your working sets under 150 I would cut out the 3rd warmup set of 1×5 because it wont be needed.

The Diet

If you don’t pair mark Rippetoes workout routine with a diet high in calories than you are wasting your time. Aim for 3000-4000 calories a day. Make sure you get 1 to 2 x your body weight in protein (in grams) and more than that in carbs. Mark Rippetoe also suggests that you drink up to a gallon of milk a day and plenty of water.

Your bulk could be clean but its hard to do so. I suggest just going all out and getting any protein you can get your hands on. For example lean grilled chicken and egg whites is best but if you want to gain that muscle fast then ground beef, steaks, whole eggs, cheeses etc is great. Eat a lot of oats, pasta, wheat bread, yogurt, cottage cheese, tuna, etc.

Make sure you get a huge breakfast. Mark recommends 4 huge meals a day with breakfast being the largest. Make sure all your meals have plenty of both carbs and protein! Also look into getting a PWO shake for post workout to get some carbs directly into your system when your done lifting. Then an hour later eat a meal. Its also good to eat a snack before bed. Just remember to get big you need to eat big because eating is 90% of your muscle gains.

References:

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You Either Recover And Improve… Or You Don’t http://livingfit.co/recovery-and-muscle-growth/ http://livingfit.co/recovery-and-muscle-growth/#comments Fri, 21 Mar 2014 09:16:55 +0000 http://livingfit.co//?p=2336 Quicker your recovery will be = More frequently you will be able to train them = More stimulated the muscles will be = More muscle growth you will be see = Better you will look. Simple equation. So, why don’t you start focusing on recovery and muscle regeneration little bit more?

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Something most people don’t realize is that the human body doesn’t improve while you are weight training. No one has ever built an ounce of muscle or made any similar improvement to their body while at the gym in the middle of their workout.

The only thing you’re truly doing at that time is giving your body a reason to start the improvement process. You’re damaging your muscles, depleting your energy stores, fatiguing your nervous system and basically beating the crap out of your body.

And from there, as long as the required amount of rest, recovery and nutritional supplies are in place, this ENTIRE process of adapting can begin and the improvements you’re trying to make can all be made (while resting, not working).

It’s during this recovery period when your body rebuilds your muscle tissue so that it is just a tiny bit bigger and stronger than it previously was. This is when energy stores get replenished and the nervous system recovers. This is when your joints and tendons get the break they need to stay healthy and injury-free.

This rest and recovery period is when EVERYTHING you want your body to do (build muscle, get stronger, appear more “toned,” etc.) actually gets done. Unless of course you’re not allowing it to. In that case, none of this can happen. If your body can’t properly recover, your body can’t properly improve.

The faster you recover, the sooner you can start building muscle. Here are some muscle recovery tips to speed up the process.

1# Optimize Your Post-Workout Meal

Your post-workout meal is your most important meal of the day. No other meal will have as big of an impact on your recovery as the first meal after your workout. What should this meal look like? Including carbohydrates in your post-workout meal decreases muscle protein breakdown.

So our meal should be mainly protein and carbohydrates, but it should also be eaten as soon as possible after your workout. Having a meal within two hours after resistance training increases hypertrophy and protein synthesis (muscle building).

2# More Protein

Protein synthesis increases with increased protein intake. Also, a protein intake of 1 gram/lb of body mass is better at maintaining muscle mass under calorie restriction – suggesting increased protein synthesis and retention of nitrogen.

Protein intake is important for more than just building muscle. It’s a component of every cell in the human body. Always err on the side of too much than too little. If you’re a highly active individual, or you have a low carbohydrate intake, your protein demands will be higher.

3# Muscle Recovery Supplements

Recovery supplements are quite popular. One of the most popular is BCAAs – taken both before and after exercise has been shown to reduce muscle breakdown and accelerates recovery.

Another common product sold as a muscle-building, recovery agent is the amino acid glutamine. Research has shown that intramuscular glutamine levels play an important role in protein synthesis and the prevention of muscle breakdown. It also improves the body’s ability to use leucine.

4# Drink More Water

Proper hydration makes every function of the human body work more efficiently. Your muscle is about 75% composed of water. You should be getting in at least a gallon of water a day. Individuals who are more active will require even more hydration. Increased water intake also has the benefit of keeping extra cellular water retention to a minimum.

5# Proper Cooldown

Many people do a warmup, but how many of them put the same focus on their cooldown? A 15 minute active cooldown plays an important role in muscle recovery. A cooldown more effectively returns your heart rate to normal and removes lactic acid waste – which in turn provides for a more rapid recovery.

6# Adequate Sleep

We know that a lack of sleep can cause negative effects on your health. It can also inhibit muscle recovery by causing negative changes to feeding behavior and glucose metabolism, and by causing an increase in cortisol, and a reduction in testosterone and insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1). All of these changes can lead to a decrease in protein synthesis, which can hinder muscle recovery.

Getting in between 7-9 hours of sleep per night seems to be optimal for good body composition and general health. Sleep is a very important and often overlooked part of fitness – be sure you’re making them a priority.

7# Massage

The effects of massage on muscle recovery have been inconclusive. However, many studies have shown that using sports massage to improve recovery can be an effective way to aid recovery and performance after exercise. At the very least, the symptoms of delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS) can be mitigated through massage. Even if the scientific literature is mixed, a massage still feels great, so what do you have to lose?

8# Contrast Water Therapy

Contrast water therapy is effective in reducing and improving the recovery of functional deficiencies that result from delayed-onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Contrast water therapy is a recovery treatment consisting of alternating immersions in both hot and cold water. The idea is that this process helps with the inflammation that results from exercise, which effectively leads to the restoration of strength and power of the trained muscle.

9# Take Some Time Off

Every 8-12 weeks you should be looking to take some time off from intense physical activity. Whether this comes in the form of passive recovery (doing nothing) or active recovery (using lighter loads) is up to you. The amount of time you should take off is not set in stone.

However, a period of one week should be sufficient to provide enough time to fully repair muscles and recover your central nervous system (CNS). It’s not possible to go at 100% intensity for 365 days out of the year. You need periods of rest in order to keep your intensity high and progress moving forward.

Do you have any muscle recovery tips you’d like to share? Did you like this guide?

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