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The Recovery Cycle

Recovery Cycle

The Recovery Cycle
The Recovery Cycle:

There is one physiological constant is bodybuilding; in order for a muscle to increase in hypertrophy (grow in mass and strength), the muscle must first fully recover from a previous workout. Without complete recovery between training sessions, you won’t make any gains from your workouts.

Scientific experiments have shown that it takes between 48 and 96 hours for complete recovery to occur and hypertrophy to take place. And this period of time must be one of complete rest from resistance exercise for the muscle in question.

My own experiments have convinced me that young and less experienced bodybuilders can get by very well on 48 hours of rest, intermediates make their best gains in about 72 hours of rest between workouts, and the most advanced bodybuilders grow most quickly which they take the full 96 hours of rest between workouts.

All of this means that beginning bodybuilders can make good gains from their workouts if they train on nonconsecutive days—e.g., Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. Intermediates tend to make good gains training four days per week, but only twice for each body part, on what is called a split routine. And most of the best men and women in the sport follow a four-day training cycle—three workout days followed by one day of rest, training their bodies in thirds on each training day—in which each major muscle group is worked every fourth day.

In order to assist the normal recovery process, you should maintain good routines of rest, diet, and stress control. Get a solid eight or nine hours of restful sleep each night, plus perhaps a -30-minute nap during the middle of the day. And avoid such energy leaks as pickup basketball games.

Basic rules of proper bodybuilding nutrition are outlined in Chapter 6, as well as in much greater detail later in this book. In particular, you should avoid junk-food meals when attempting to foster optimum between-workouts recovery ability.

Stress is one of the biggest and least understood enemies of proper post-workout recovery. The best way to avoid stress is to have a relaxing hobby other than bodybuilding training that you can get into whenever you begin to feel stress levels building up. A couple of hours of fly tying or painting watercolors is almost as good as a week in the Caribbean when you are feeling stressed.
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