Building large amounts of muscle is actually a very complex phenomenon. It is the result of placing intense demands on your body and attempting to illicit certainÂ desirableÂ responses, specifically to increase size, strength, endurance, and appearance. In order to do so, you have to maximize the effects of your training, the nutrients you ingest, your bodyâ€™s Â ability to repair and heal itself, and the natural daily responses by your hormones and chemical functions.
Luckily for you, the basics of gaining muscle is not nearly as tough as you might think. All it really takes is Â implementing a series of short changes to your diet and workout habits and a little dedication. The following set of rules will demonstrate the most important things you must know to make your workouts and diet more effective and start gaining size and strength.
Rule # 10 – Don’t Overdo It
We have been trained that the quickest way to get ahead in life is to be as persistent as possible. Unfortunately your body is not governed by these same rules.
The concept that is sometimes tough to grasp is that more training does not equate to more growth. Building muscle is a two step process: You must tear the muscle to stimulate growth and allow it to recover. This forces it to adapt to new demands and grow bigger andÂ stronger. In this sense, the time you spend in the gym serves only to signal the need for muscle development – the growth itselfÂ occursÂ in the recovery process. If you fail to provide yourself with enough rest, then you are neglecting one half of the formula, and this is destined for failure.
While you do want to push yourself as hard as possible during your workout sessions themselves, it is also equally as important to take time off to avoid overtraining. Overtraining is exactly what it sounds like – the point where you have taxed your body beyond what it is capable of dealing with. If you attempt to lift weights every day continuously, you are not allowing your torn and aching muscles adequate time to recover from the previous session, and as such they will be unable to cope with a new set of demands. Signs of overtraining may not always be this evident, however, and it may lead to a lack of performance. They canÂ manifestÂ themselves after a period of time in a gradual worsening of the quality of your progress. If you find that your strength is dropping or your motivation is consistently lacking, you may need to take a few days off to recuperate.
You may notice that you can lift more weight after taking a day off, than you can the day following that. (For anyone who has trouble gaining weight, this is even more important to provide extra food and rest to the growing muscles.)Â In addition, lifting weights is very taxing to the Central Nervous System, and by neglecting to take enough rest days you can actually weaken your immune system and become more prone to illness and injury.
You need to take a full day off from lifting at least once every three days. This is the maximum number of days that you should go, but if you feel sore or weak then you would be better off not lifting. (If nothing else, by waiting until you’re fresh you can ensure a better lift, and thus better gains.) In total, you should be taking at least 2 full days off each week, and even more if you are just beginning. (If you’re body is not yet used to the demands of resistance training, it will take it additional time to repair.) This is another reason why you should limit cardio when bulking, as it places even more undue stress on the body. If you do choose to perform cardio on the off days, make sure it is relatively mild. You should still take a minimum of one full day off to recover – this means no lifting, no cardio, no strenuous exercise at all.