To build size and strength we undertake what scientifically it is known as the over compensation factor. In plane terms, if you stress your body by lifting a heavy weight your body will adapt to the demands placed upon it. Once recovered, you will be able to lift more weight or do more reps because the body has overcompensated for the initial stress and has built a reserve. Once you have stressed you body in the gym, you need time to allow it to recover and overcompensate for the stress. If you don't rest long enough, the body will not have had time to overcompensate and you will be no stronger than the last time you trained.
The harder you work out, the more you stress your body and the more time needed to recover. The more advanced a lifter is, the more time is needed in order to fully recover because they can generate more intensity than a beginner. The consequence of training too frequently is something I am sure you are familiar with over training.
What is recovery?
In simple terms it is the period of time required for the repair of damage to the body caused by training or competition.
- This includes the restoration of the:
- Carbohydrate stores in muscle cells
- Energy producing enzymes inside muscle fibers
- Endocrine and immune systems
During recover muscles should increase the proteins in their overall structure to improve strength, replenish and increase energy stores and increase the quantities of enzymes so as to improve the lactate threshold.
Speeding up recovery
Muscle cells are most receptive to carbohydrate during the first two hours following a training session. To accelerate recovery consume 300-400 calories of carbohydrate shortly after the training session and another 300-400 calories of carbohydrate within two hours. This intake of carbohydrates as well as replenishing the fuel stores also has a positive effect on protein restoration in muscles.
Optimal Recovery Ratio (OR2)
The ratio of ingested carbohydrate to protein is critical in optimizing glycogen restoration in the muscles after a work out. The Pacific Health Laboratories, Inc recommends four grams of carbohydrate per gram of protein. One strategy is as follows - two thirds of a gram of carbohydrate per pound body weight and about 15 grams of high quality protein.
The key points to remember are:
- Plan recovery into your training program
- To assist the recovery process consume 300-400 calories of carbohydrate shortly after the training session and another 300-400 calories of carbohydrate within two hours
- Allow 36 hours recovery between quality sessions
- Listen to your body - if you feel tired then adjust the training to allow full recovery