How To Speed Up Muscle Recovery
Gaining strength and improving endurance are often associated with lifting a lot of weights, pushing yourself to new limits, and “feeling the burn”. Often, pushing through pain day in and day out is seen as an advantage for muscle building, fat burning, and strength gaining.
However, muscle growth and gains in strength are actually developed when you’re not exercising. When you exercise, muscles are broken down, and muscles need to be rebuilt during recovery time. Rest is critical to speeding up muscle recovery.
Recovery days and cycling your workout intensities are also needed to prevent injuries and burn out. Training too many days in a row leads to overreaching, which can increase your chances of injury or illness, but which you can recover from quickly by resting and decreasing training load.
If you continue training in an overreached state, eventually you will become overtrained, a serious condition which can cause physical fatigue and depression. Working out too much, too hard will actually hamper your exercise goals.
During exercise, glycogen and creatine stores are depleted in muscle tissue, and proteins may be torn. These microtears may later cause delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). Increased hydrogen ion levels (H+), which cause the burn frequently blamed on lactic acid, impair your muscles’ ability to work efficiently, and need to be cleared.
Catabolic hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline rise in response to the body’s increased need for energy, which drives the free testosterone to cortisol ratio down. This ratio is suspected to be critical in the prevention of overtraining. The lower your ratio drops, the more prone you become to overtraining.
With so much at stake for recovering, what exactly is needed and how can you improve your recovery?
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