Proper Rest and Recovery Is Essential to Muscle-Building
I'm not going to begin to tell you how much rest and sleep you need for maximum muscle gains; only you can know that. But here are some signs that you're NOT getting enough!
Over-training is the term used when a weight trainer stops making gains and might even lose some gains. It occurs when the muscles either don't have enough time to recover, or when the muscles are subjected to too much stress. Both of these events can cause over-training.
Rest, Sleep, and Other Important Muscle Recovery Factors
Subject your body to too much High Intensity Training (HIT) and you're likely to see negative returns for your bodybuilding investment. Or, don't leave enough time in between sessions for your muscles to not only recover but to grow, and you'll see prior gains wiped out.
In fact, you might be closer to an injury than you might think.
Classical Signs of Over-training
- Ringing or itching in the ears.
- Lack of energy. You feel “drained” all the time.
- Persistent muscle and/or joint soreness.
- Insomnia or restless sleep.
- Inability to concentrate.
- Headaches, irritability, and/or depression.
- Reduced appetite for food and/or training.
Obviously, if you “just don't feel like working out today,” then you've got to ask yourself some probing questions to determine if you're over-training or just lazy. It's really okay to be lazy once in a while, but it's all-too-easy for one lazy day to stretch to two, then three, then a week, month, or longer.
If you find you have several of these symptoms, by all means change up your work-out routine. Go lighter than normal. Instead of 4 sets per body part, go with 2 or 3. Abbreviate your muscle-building schedule.
Take a day off!
As a general rule, most people need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. This means 7 to 9 hours in a row of deep, uninterrupted sleep, and going to bed at the same time each night. The body can adapt to less sleep easier than it can to a widely-varying schedule, so make sure you “retire” each night to bed at roughly the same time.
Especially important is rising at the same time each morning. Good habits and daily routines begin when you get up in the morning.
Read more about sleep and muscle recovery here.