The Power of Rest.

My clients are always amazed when they find out that most of their muscle growth occurs while they are sleeping, and not during their workouts. Recuperation is a subject that receives too little attention and is often misunderstood. We are conditioned to think in order to succeed we must work hard and little value is placed on rest.

During intense resistance training there is cellular damage that takes place in the millions of myofibrils, that make up our muscle structure. As we recuperate from our workout, the hypertrophic or rebuilding response starts to occur. The rebuilding phase, has several stages and requires on average of 72-96 hours to complete. The phases include an inflammation stage, a clean out stage where damaged cell debris is removed and a growth stage. So it takes three or four days before the muscle enters into an environment where growth can occur. Each muscle group should not be worked more than once per week. If a muscle group is trained more frequently, it may not leave enough time for recuperation, and not time for growth.

It is important to receive eight to ten hours of sleep each night, when the body is sleeping important functions for growth and recovery take place. During sleep growth hormones are secreted from the pituitary gland, which aides in the body’s ability to synthesize protein to rebuild muscle tissue. Many of the nutrients ingested during our waking hours are assimilated while we sleep.

Over training occurs when a muscle group is worked too long, or too frequent. Training a muscle before it has fully recuperated will cause further damage to the muscle fibers. The body will enter into a catabolic state (breaking down) and will result in loss of muscle tissue. The body in its inability to adapt to this stress will show signs of over training.

The following symptoms are good indications you are over training. They are lack of energy, trouble sleeping, muscle and joint soreness, no muscle growth, loss of strength and no desire to exercise. If these symptoms occur, the best course of action is rest, a week with no training. During this time off re-evaluate your nutritional program and training routine. After further analysis you will find you either under ate, or over trained.

We all differ when it comes to our recuperative abilities. Learn to listen to the messages, that your body sends. When you experience increases in strength, energy and muscular growth, it should reinforce that your routine is working. On the flip side, decreases in strength, energy and growth should alert you your routine needs to change. Exercise goes against our human nature. Less work will usually mean more results. Learn to relax and enjoy the time away from your workouts. If you train with proper form, with intensity you deserve all the rest you can get.

When it comes to increasing exercise performance and improving body compositiuon, there nothing more powerful than rest.

Author's Bio: 

Charles Remington is a nutritionist and herbalist who is the author of a best-selling nutritional software program. He has been a featured guest on many television talk and news shows, as well as national radio broadcasts, delivering his message that "Food’s not the problem, it’s the solution". His articles on health and fitness have been featured in national and international publications. Known to his thousands of clients as The Fat Loss Coach, his concepts on healthy weight loss are well embraced by the medical community and supported by a large insurance provider. He has conducted more than 200 seminars in the corporate, municipal and education arenas and manages a nutritional practice in Cheshire and Glastonbury, Connecticut.