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Muscle growth does not take place while you are lifting weights. While you need to lift weights to obviously build the muscle, it needs the proper recovery to make this happen. Therefore, muscle growth occurs outside and away from the gym. Lifting weights temporarily weakens the muscle by tearing and damaging the muscle fibers of the muscle bellies, and with adequate nutrition and proper rest, the muscles grow back bigger and stronger to better adapt to the stressing condition you’ve placed upon it. The main thing to take away from this is that muscle growth absolutely necessitates sufficient nutrition and optimal rest. Therefore, you can train like an animal, but if you don’t train, rest, and eat smart, you will most likely not see any of the gains you desire.

A training regimen should ensue to pursue one goal: To live a healthy lifestyle. A healthy lifestyle inherently encompasses leanness, stronger bones, stronger functional (and consequently, vanity) muscles, a more efficient heart, and social and psychological benefits. So in no sense should you be training for the sake of itself. The purpose of lifting weights is to improve yourself. Nowhere in your agenda does it state, “I want to get injured, lose muscle mass, gain body fat, and increase stress.” Because if you start training for the sake of itself and go to the gym 6 or 7 days a week, that is what could result. We want the opposite, so nutrition, proper time off from the gym and adequate rest will place your body in an environment in which it will flourish into a muscle building machine!

Your liver and kidneys get taxed each time you lift weights. So instead of envisioning your workouts as chest day or back day, do realize that Monday is chest and kidney day and Wednesday is shoulders and kidney day and so on down the line. Furthermore, your heart rate will speed up in response to the added stress you gave it. There is just so much your organs can take on a daily basis. When your organs don’t function properly, your body responds in a negative way in which it will act sluggish and provide you with lower intensity throughout the day. Moreover, your organs are essential in breaking down macronutrients, so vitamins, minerals, and protein will not be distributed to your muscles properly.

In addition, lifting too frequently could increase levels of myostatin. Myostatin is a growth differentiation factor that limits muscle tissue growth to prevent muscles from becoming too big. Inadequate rest and time off from the gym will result in increased myostatin levels, which will inhibit muscular development.

Lifting too much within your workouts in terms of going to failure on too many sets may negatively affect you as well. You need to stimulate your muscles and not annihilate them.

Lifting too hard for too long could hurt you physically and psychologically as well. You cannot train for months at a time without a break. Your muscles and organs need a break from the gym. When you train specific body parts, all body parts are involved. So when you are training chest, your triceps and front delts are being worked. When you train back, your rear delts and biceps are being worked. Then you will attack those muscles again during shoulders. So as you can see, adequate reparation does not occur. The 2 or 3 days off you give yourself from the gym does not always suffice for adequate muscle repair. I would suggest to you to train for 5-6 weeks and then take a whole week off. This will actually stimulate growth and allow for proper muscle recovery even further.

Now that you understand the negatives of lifting too frequently, the intake of too few macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates, and fats) will result in poor muscle reparation. In order for muscles to repair, it needs a tremendous amount of the proper calories. It needs a steady supply of slow-digesting carbohydrates, adequate protein, and a combination of healthy unsaturated and saturated fats. This will all contribute to increased testosterone and increased muscle growth. Your mother wasn’t lying when she told you before school that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. You need to consume a tremendous breakfast with plenty of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats to ‘break the fast’ of your 8 hour fast. This will create an optimal insulin spike, which will contribute to muscle growth and fat burning. According to studies, you burn calories up to 30% more efficiently when eating a breakfast opposed to when not. Furthermore, you can lift all you want but if you do not consume nutrients prior to your workout and within 30 minutes of your workout, your workout could go to waste and you may enter a catabolic state of muscle-wasting. You need to consume a hefty amount of protein and carbohydrates before your workout. You should aim anywhere between consuming 30 grams to 60 grams of protein and 40 grams to 100 grams of carbohydrates directly after a workout depending on your goals and needs. Furthermore, protein needs to be consumed every 2 hours throughout the day to prevent your muscles from going into a catabolic state.

Furthermore, proper intake of vitamins is essential as well to maintain normal bodily functions throughout the day. The body cannot manufacture many vitamins on its own such as Vitamin D, so it must intake them from outside sources. Be sure to take a multivitamin.

Just like nutrition is important, sleep is essential. Despite what you think, sleep is not just for dreaming. It is not a waste of time either. Sleep is so important to repair your body from the stress and traumas presented to it throughout the day. Sleep fends off viruses, colds, etc. To help prevent run-downs, adequate sleep is essential. If you are sick, you’ll be out of the gym even longer. You want to prevent this at all costs. Furthermore, most of muscle repair takes place approximately after the sixth hour of sleep. Aim for 9 hours a night to ensure proper muscle repair and growth. Moreover, testosterone increases when you’ve gotten enough sleep and cortisol increases when you don’t sleep enough.

Be sure to sleep enough, eat a plentiful amount and at the proper times, take a multivitamin, and to workout just enough!

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