Rest to Make GainsBy Work. Train. Compete!|Sara & Natalie|2012-07-03 | Comments: 0Proper nutrition and rest are the important pieces to making gains in muscle. Hard training without the rest required will break down your hard earned muscle rather than build it up. If you’re consistently in the gym like myself, you always have to listen to your body. Your body never lies and it will let you know when you need to either give it more rest in between sets or maybe even a full day off from the gym. For myself, when I feel I’m not able to push as much weight in a following set, I allow myself to have 15 more seconds of rest in between sets. I apply this to areas that I’m trying to grow like my shoulders and glutes. During my workouts, I actually feel a lot better doing this and my muscles ultimately look fuller rather than stringy and flat.
During proper rest, the muscles that have been broken down can heal and recover. With the right amount of rest, I can push heavier weight and hopefully increase the reps within a set. During actual sleep, growth hormone levels are the highest which is also another reason to get your proper 7-8 hours of rest per night. I try to be asleep by 10 and up by 6 AM giving myself the rest I need to train well the next day.
Without proper rest, performance and focus also decline. Overtraining causes the body to be unable to store glycogen in the muscles. This is why some competitors look “flat” on stage meaning their muscles are not full but look like a deflated balloon. Once the competitor has some type of simple carbohydrate their physiques will actually look fuller and healthier.
Here are a few areas to look at area when determining how much rest your body really needs:
- Amount of stress (life changing events, work, relationships)
- Current Average Sleep
- Physical Condition
- Emotional State
These factors combined will determine how much your performance and condition will improve. I hope this gives you even more reason to listen to your body and treat it with kindness when it asks for it.
With love and fitness,
Dr. Natalie Pennington
Follow dentists, Dr. Sara Solomon, WBFF Pro and Dr. Natalie Pennington, IFBB Pro, as they work, train and compete! Find out how these fit gals balance professional careers with fitness competition prep – plus get their tips on eating clean, training hard and staying motivated!