Although it certainly would be simpler that way, and there’d be an awful lot more strong people out there….
But since it involves three distinct systemic requirements, most people don’t really see a large up-swing in strength even they might work out very hard in the gym for years.
Those three requirements are:
Progressively increasing resistance.
Proper diet and supplementation.
Sufficient recovery and a strategy to deal with DOMS (Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.)
(Although this blog will deal primarily with the third requirement, it might be best to touch upon the first two in brief.)
Progressively increasing resistance means doing a couple of things…
1) using enough weight to work a particular muscle to failure, but not too much as to fail to get a full series of sets.
( example: 3×10, at 70% 1RM)
2) slowly increasing the amount of weight used on a particular movement, during the course of time.
( example: adding 5 pounds every couple of weeks, while keeping the same number of reps)
Proper diet and supplementation refers to keeping those things your body needs to grow and get stronger bio-available during the most-essential times… especially within 1 hour of starting and ending a workout, and first thing in the morning.
Of all the possible scenarios, the minimum rules are these:
a) Never skip breakfast
b) Eat small meals throughout the day
c) Use the 40/30/30 plan
d) Get at least 50g Whey Protein before and after your workout!
before- add 5g BCAA, 5g Glutamine, 5g Creatine, 5g Beta-Alanine.
after- add Carbs, 5g BCAA, 5g Glutamine, 5g Cissus, 3 g Gluco-Chond-MSM.
Recovery and DOMS
If you’re as stubborn and bullheaded as me, you want to workout hard every day.
Of course, you shouldn’t, because growth in muscle and strength is dependent on REST between workouts.
But, if one can squeeze in more intense workouts, by ‘compressing’ the amount of recovery time, well… that’s a different deal altogether.
There have been a number of studies – and a few interesting facts have come to light along the way; these ideas may help you find more time for workouts, while giving your body ample time to recover.
For instance, Glycogen is an essential muscle fuel source for moderate- to high-intensity exercise.
Once depleted, the capacity to perform at these exercise intensities is lost or severely limited.
Therefore, the faster the muscle glycogen stores can be replenished after exercise the faster the recovery process and theoretically the greater the return of performance capacity.
But, interestingly enough, there are studies that indicate that the faster the glycogen stores are replenished, the less muscle fiber damage; indicating the possibility that this is not the best environment for muscle growth… however, this possibility is outweighed by the fact that the faster recovery time means a potentially quicker cycletime for exercise.
“For rapid recovery from exercise, immediately after a workout (strength or endurance), we must:
1. Rapidly replenish the low glycogen stores in our muscles.
2. Rapidly decrease the muscle protein breakdown that occurs with exercise.
3. Rapidly force further increases in muscle protein synthesis.
Failure to accomplish any one of these objectives will lead to a lowered rate of recovery from your workout. And the slower the recovery process is, the less growth you can stimulate!
Studies have found that delaying nutrient (protein and carbohydrate) consumption after a workout can greatly reduce the rate of glycogen restoration and protein synthesis. In fact, the rate of glycogen synthesis is reduced by 50% if nutrients aren’t consumed immediately after a workout.
Furthermore, it’s important to understand that post-workout protein synthesis increases (what will lead to increased muscle mass) are in part due to the rate of glycogen synthesis, increased insulin levels, and increased insulin sensitivity from the workout. As we just saw, delaying post-workout nutrients absorption will drastically decrease the rate of glycogen synthesis, which will negatively affect protein synthesis.
Plus, a few hours after a workout, the insulin sensitisation stimulated by the bout of training will be much lower: there’s a two to threefold increase in insulin sensitivity immediately post-workout. After two or three hours, it’s down to only 44% above baseline. So basically, if you wait too long after your workout to consume a mix of fast absorbing proteins and high glycemic carbohydrates, the amount of muscle you’ll build in response to your session will be significantly decreased.
Another interesting point is brought up by a study by Tipton et al. (2001) which has demonstrated that pre-workout supplementation with proteins and carbohydrates leads to a greater rate of protein synthesis following a workout than simply consuming the same drink immediately after the session.
An ideal post-workout formula would include fast-absorbing proteins, high glycemic carbs, and some additional BCAAs (which have been shown to drastically increase protein synthesis and decrease protein breakdown on their own).
I find that 30 minutes of cardio after a heavy weight session dramatically improves my rate of recovery. A recent study looked at two post-workout recovery strategies; Active Recovery (AR)- performing sub maximal exercise, cardio, or posing, to promote recovery from hard-core training sessions, versus Passive Recovery (PR)- collapsing on a recliner from complete exhaustion, in an attempt to catch one’s breath and relax their muscles for the next workout or set in the iron jungle. The study looked at three aspects of recovery: Blood Flow, Lactic Acid clearance, and Post-workout Pain.
This pain was caused by an accumulation of hydrogen ions that stimulate pain nerves located in the muscle. Performance decline is induced by both metabolic and muscular fatigue.
Metabolically, a decreased pH causes the inactivation of several enzymes, membrane nutrient transport mechanism inefficiencies, and energy decreased accessibility. All of these factors ultimately lead to reduction in the production of ATP. Thus, decreased performance. Concerning muscular exhaustion, lactic acid promotes the restrain of the actomyosin ATPase, which breaks down ATP so it can provide energy for your body. In addition, H+ interferes with calcium uptake that is essential for muscular contractions. Increased lactate may also interfere with cross bridging. These factors lead to a decline in both the force and velocity of muscular contractions.
Lactic acid can severely inhibit your athletic performance if not cleared out of your system. So finally, how do you help your body clear LA? By far, the most proficient mechanism is oxidation both during, and after exercise. Subsequently, we discuss how to accomplish this via active recovery.
First, Lactic acid is best cleared through oxidation. So any movement that supplied your body with oxygen, would be of great assistance. The optimal procedure for this is low intensity aerobic (with oxygen) movements. Did you notice I said low intensity? Though high intensity aerobics would supply ample amounts of oxygen to your body, it would also induce higher levels of lactic acid, which is counter productive.
Here is an extremely fascinating study. The effects of different recovery regimens on white blood cell count (WBCC) and muscle enzyme activities following strenuous, sub maximal, steady state workouts on a treadmill was examined. 14 athletes participated in an intense run (70-80% of their VO2 max) followed by either 15 minutes of passive recovery (complete rest), or 15 minutes of active recovery (running at 50% of their VO2 max). The results showed that PR was associated with a 35% reduction in WBCC, compared to only a 6% decrease when using AR! They concluded that AR clearly prevents the initial drop in WBCC following strenuous training sessions.
They also performed a study on which type of active recovery was most beneficial for LA clearance. Subjects performed 4 separate cool downs for 40 minutes; passive recovery, active recovery (cycling at 35% VO2 max, or at 65% VO2 max), and interval training consisting of cycling at 65% for 7 min followed by cycling at 35% for 33 minutes. The rate of blood LA disappearance was significantly greater in continuous AR at 35% VO2 max, compared with other intensity levels. They concluded that low intensity; continuous active recovery is most beneficial for LA clearance.
Athletic performance is regularly impaired by soreness. Thus, any application that limits the extent of damage or hastens recovery would be of interest and practical value to soldiers of the iron jungle. Muscular aches often occur after a hard-core training bout. These pains typically peak 24–48 hours after exercise, and are known as delayed onset muscle soreness (DOMS). DOMS is the bane of strength trainers; it keeps one from working a muscle as hard as one might otherwise, it might even keep one out of the gym altogther.
Countless hours of scientific research have been dedicated to optimal recovery from DOMS. Active recovery, once again, shows great promise to the elite athlete. Consider the following studies:
It has been established that a highly effective mean for reducing DOMS is through active resisted exercise of the affected muscle groups. Hasson et al. investigated the use of light exercise in the treatment of DOMS 24 hour’s post-eccentric quadriceps training. A significant reduction in symptoms was demonstrated.
Tiidus et al. is a major advocate of AR for DOMS. Through several experiments he has shown that for elevated muscle blood flow through low intensity exercise would be of great benefit, and would “thereby enhance healing and temporarily reduce delayed onset muscle soreness.”
“Sayers et. al compared a lighter training session (active recovery) compared to pure rest. Eight subjects rested after a taxing elbow flexor workout, while nine performed a lighter training session to aid recovery. The results showed that strength recovery was better after light exercise when compared with just rest. This study confirms, that even if you do not perform split volume training, that a light training session while the muscle is recovering can be very beneficial.”
The results are clear: performing Active Recovery exercise during recovering periods is of great assistance for alleviating DOMS, expediting recovery, and improving athletic performance, as will pre and post-workout supplementation, with protein, carbs, BCAA’s, and glutamine.
Hey- See You in the GYM!
(Note: the following post and any other posts of mine are strictly for entertainment purposes only,
and are not to be taken as medical advice or any other kind of fuckin advice for that matter…………
see your doctor before entertaining any ideas of using any of this entertainment for your own entertainment. Get it? Good.)