TIP#1.4 - 5 Things That Ruin Recovery
To master Rest and Recovery we have to do some repetitive things, some counter intuitive things and some down right anti-social things. It takes a very high level of mental control and commitment to succeed and make progress in fitness. You will need to make sacrifices that you never thought possible and which are almost laughable or self-alienating to other people like friends or family. If you're not careful, you will find yourself failing by default due to the obstacles that lay before you. It's ok to fail sometimes, but you must acknowledge the failure, this makes it easier to prevent next time and transforms a failure into a victory. Knowing where you go wrong gives you the power to put it right.
1. Training Too Much:
This is very common. I have been victim to this in the past - and putting it right is extremely counter intuitive. The feeling is that training more will make you bigger, stonger, leaner and fitter - this is because we think it's the stimulation we do that determines our progress when actually it is our recovery form it that determines it. Most people can workout with weights between 3-4 times per week to make progress, maximum. Any more than this and you stop making progress towards making gains. Training too much is detrimental in two ways, first is that you risk causing injury by training muscles that have not recovered, and secondly you delay recovery from past workouts by stimulating new muscle damage, leaving your body insufficient time and resources to repair all the new damage before the next session. Keep your workouts short and intense and then focus on resting well.
2. Not Training Enough:
If you are only training once or twice per week, it will be hard to make any significant progress long term. No matter what level you are, always be looking to increase it to 3-4 times per week. We need to create enough stimulation to be actively recovering on non-training days e.g. It takes 2 or 3 days to recover from an effective workout, so even if you trained twice per week, say on Monday and wednesday, that still leaves at least one day (Sunday) that your body is completely recovered but completely idol too (not to forget missing out on the added fatburn affect of muscle recovery). With 3 major muscle groups - Legs + Chest + Back and 3 minor ones - Shoulders + Arms + Abs, just 2 sessions cannot stimulate everything enough. Over time stimulation of muscles must increase to make progress, so cramming every muscle group into one or two sessions is unproductive long term. To make progress, we must be recovering from 3-4 sessions every week.
3. Not Eating Enough Protein:
No matter who you are, your muscles have been made from the protein you have eaten, fact. In bodybuilding, the amount of protein you eat directly relates to how much progress you make. People don't eat protein rich foods (meat) for many, many reasons - fear of health problems, dislike of taste, morals, ethics, religion, family influence, prices, diet issues etc. None of it is relevant when it comes to what the human body needs to make progress, build and maintain muscle + burn fat - and that's protein, end of story. Protein is the number 1 nutrient for all mammal life on earth, without it we wouldn't exist. Protein should make up 50-60% of your total daily energy/calorie requirements from animal sources (essential proteins) if you wish to make progress. Once you focus your diet on this nutrient, you might find yourself becoming healthier and more fit than you thought imaginable!
Ego Training is when an exercise is performed (usually v. poorly) with the false perception that it is contributing to your progress, when in reality it is just solely massaging your ego, e.g. lifting way too much weight on the bench press. When we recover we actually want something to recover from! Going home with nothing but a 'one up' over your gym buddies is a fast track to injury and zero muscle gains. At some point in life I was also victim to a bit of ego training, believing that more was better and strength meant 'progress'. In reality, I am a lot 'weaker' than I used to be, but I have way more muscle mass, shape and definition now - plus I am injury free! Do yourself a favour and train your muscles for a change, so your days off become more productive.
5. Social Lives
Getting out of bed and interacting with the world is such a hassle. However, it happens eventually and you're going to have to find a way to put up with everyone and everything. How you choose to handle the big wide world is key; The big killer is when people don't assume control of their lives and fall victim to the influence of others, which can possibly halt their fitness progress. Partying, drinking, staying up late and eating junk food is seriously awesome, but detrimental to your progression with your goals. I've said this before, you probably won't lose all your friends on this fitness journey, but you might lose a couple - either way you are going to be respected much more as a friend and person if you stay commited to your schedule. Sacrifice a little - Gain a lot.