The focus is often on products and methods which will make you train harder, lift more and grow faster than ever before! People are far less interested in the process of recovery. This is a false economy simply because in order to develop new levels of muscle tissue you NEED to recover before this can happen! Today I will share with you 4 top tips to promote faster and more efficient recovery!
Before we go through these 4 points, let’s understand exactly WHY we need to focus on recovery. In simple terms, when you train your muscle fibres are broken down and therefore they need to be repaired. The idea is with the continuous breaking down of muscle fibres they will ‘grow back’ and during the process new muscle tissue will also develop. However, what do you think causes this to happen? Of course, providing your body with the necessary ingredients to recover properly. Simply put, this very simplified version of muscular hypertrophy cannot and will not work unless you focus on maximising recovery!
Am I just repeating myself? Well any ‘recovery’ article would be inaccurate if it didn’t insist that protein is absolutely key. Eating high quality protein sources through the day ensures that your damaged muscle fibres (from your training) are fed enough amino acids. Amino acids are the ‘building bricks’ to your muscles hence the importance of protein. A minimum of 1g of protein per pound of body is required for anyone who part takes in any regular resistance training or even endurance exercise. For more serious ‘muscle orientated’ athletes 1.5-2g of protein per pound of body weight is often required.
‘’Protein’’ isn’t enough though, you need the right sources at the right time of the day. For breakfast egg whites and eggs are normally the choice of the day a long with whey isolate. Why? Simply because these are fast digesting and have a very high bioavailability score which is vital when you have fasted for 8 hours! To stimulate recovery your muscles need amino acids the second you wake up!
Throughout the day solid foods like chicken is a very popular choice. This is because it takes a little longer to break down chicken therefore the amino acid feed into the muscle is more prolonged. If a solid meal isn’t an option, then a multi-blend timed release protein is vital to ensure your muscles will be drip fed for at least 3 hours to maximise your recovery!
Before bed you need a very slow digesting protein such as a multi-blend timed release supplement combined with a casein based food such as cottage cheese. The fats in the cheese will also help prolong the digestion of the protein, affording your craving muscles more precious hours of an amino acid feed.
Yes this is merely another feeding time during the day, but due to the importance of it and the fact that so many people over look it, I felt it warranted a title for itself! Remember the frivolous campaigns which constantly bombarded us with the importance of breakfast? Well your post-workout shake is just as important!
After a hard workout your muscle fibres are shot, the muscles your just trained are loaded with blood and combined this creates what we call the ‘anabolic window!’ There is never a better time than this to ram your muscles with eager nutrients. With this being said you want to aim for a 2:1 ratio of ultra fast digesting carbohydrates with an equally fast digesting protein. For example, taking in 50g of sugar carbohydrates from pineapple and 25g of protein from whey isolate would be ideal. The sugars in the pineapple will help stimulate a much needed insulin spike which will promote the shuttling of protein right into the muscle cells. If you fail to do this after a workout, consider those last 60 minutes you spent squealing like a piglet 100% wasted! In fact, in terms of muscle growth we simply train to create this window of opportunity right after! Your post-workout shake is the vital end piece of the jigsaw to your workout as it kick-starts the process of recovery!
When somebody always feels sore in their muscles it is often down to two things: 1 – poor nutrition plan OR 2 – over training! Considering we have discussed the former, let’s unravel the issues with the latter. The common approach of ‘more is better’ is often ill judged because there is a ‘climax’ point for your muscles where anymore will simply cause more damage than good. If your diet is good and your still aching say 7 days after your workouts it is probably because you are taking your muscles too far every workout.
Don’t be afraid to cut back on time spent in the gym to maximise your recovery! For example if you spend 1 hour 5 days a week, cut it back to 4 days a week. If you spend 1 hour 4 days a week, challenge yourself to work harder and get the workout done in 45 minutes.
Remember, there is no sense in training X amount of hours or days a week IF you feel as though you are not recovering properly. Recovery is the name of the game, without recovery there is no growth and no increase in performance!
In the previous sections we have touched on the value a whey isolate and multi-blend timed release protein can have on your recovery, yet this only tells half a story. Below are our number ONE products from each category.
In terms of whey isolate, PhD Whey HT+ is a fantastic product. Not only does it contain components which maximise the nutrient uptake and the speed at which this is done, it tastes fabulous and mixes really well!
To get your multi-blend timed release formula I would look no further than Gaspari Myofusion. When you use this product you instantly feel as though your muscles are being fed throughout the day which is how it should be, maximising your recovery!
There are several other ‘must have’ products if you want to maximise recovery, which you should want to do!
L-Glutamine – this amino acid is responsible for promoting rapid muscle recovery via several pathways. It helps increase the rate of protein synthesis in the muscle cell which is vital because this enables your muscle to utilise a higher percentage of the protein you ingest.
L-Glutamine also helps elevate your growth hormone levels which is key to recovery because this hormone is the second most anabolic in the body, after testosterone.
L-Glutamine is a primary transportation system of nitrogen thus enhancing the overall nitrogen retention within the muscle cell. This is excellent for recovery simply because your muscle cell is able to synthesise the nitrogen to help aid the process of recovery and growth!
L-Glutamine is also a fantastic anti-catabolic agent (anti-proteolytic). To the English speaking among us this basically means that where your body would otherwise look to break down your very hard earned muscle tissue, it will not because of the anti-catabolic nature of the L-Glutamine in your system.
From experience I would advise you use Reflex L-Glutamine as I have found my muscles to be much harder and fuller not to mention much faster recovery times between workouts!
BCAAs – Branched chain amino acids are another staple supplement for anybody looking to maximise recovery! Containing leucine, iso-leucine and valine all of which are essential amino acids this supplement is able to really ramp up the recovery process. How?
BCAAs are known for their ability to stimulate protein synthesis, and considering they account approximately for 1/3 of your muscle tissue, this gives an idea of just how anabolic these essential amino acids are.
BCAAs are also known for their anti-catabolic effects, preventing muscle breakdown during aerobic and anaerobic exercise. As a result your body doesn’t have to repair so much muscular damage; therefore the process of muscular hypertrophy is that much closer!
Following a very successful transformation I would have to back PhD BCAAs because they worked for me in a major way! I am paranoid about catabolism yet within days of using this product I felt very anabolic, even on low carbohydrate days!
Recovery Formula – of course, to maximise recovery you want to use a recovery supplement. This supplement needs to contain a fast digesting protein and carbohydrate, preferably in a 2:1 ratio with the carbohydrates being the higher number of the two. Ingredients like antioxidants and vitamins are all vital because they help neutralise the ‘free radicals’ in the blood which can waste precious recovery time!
In my opinion CNP Pro-Recover is the best recovery product on the market. I use this all year round, whether I am dieting on mass gaining because I recognise the importance of optimum recovery whatever the goal.
Recover to grow!
To conclude my friends I really hope you have learnt the importance of recovery and found out about some new ways in which you can really take it to the next level. If you remember nothing else from this article, please always remember the following. ‘’To grow, get stronger or faster you MUST recover successfully from your previous workouts. Each workout is like a stepping stone and with every workout you FAIL to recover from, you fail to take the next step. In all seriousness, you could say the secret to success and progression is recovering properly!’’