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Bodybuilding Tips: Rest Days and Muscle Recovery

Bodybuilding is all about training, training, and more training. However, it is often forgotten that rest is an essential part of a good bodybuilding schedule. How many rest days should you schedule, and why is taking enough rest so important?

How does muscle recovery work and how can you ensure that your muscles are ready for a new training stimulus as quickly as possible?

You will get an answer to these questions in this blog. Read now all about taking rest and optimizing muscle recovery in bodybuilding.

Muscle recovery, that's how it works!

You just finished a solid workout. That means that you have put a lot of strain on your muscles, and that has caused small tears in the muscle fibers. Now it is time for your body to work on optimal recovery.

How does that work and what is needed for it? A muscle is (slightly) damaged by performing strength exercises. The tears in the muscle fibers must be repaired by your body. The body needs building materials for this: the well-known proteins. Promoting good muscle recovery is therefore done by ensuring an adequate intake of proteins.

There are various natural products that are a source of proteins. For example, think of – logically – eggs, poultry (chicken and turkey), meat, fatty fish, and various types of beans (including kidney beans and soybeans).

In bodybuilding, additional protein shakes are also frequently used. These shakes consist of powder, which you mix with water or milk. You drink the protein shakes immediately after your training, which gives your body a boost of nutrients, so that muscle recovery is promoted.

It is not only proteins that contribute to the recovery of your muscles. Sufficient magnesium (found in various whole grain products and nuts) and vitamin C (fruit and spinach) are also important for this. And don't forget the essential function of water!

Rest Days and Muscle Recovery

muscle strain

If you regularly do strength training, then you know what it is to have muscle pain. There are different types of muscle pain. You can already experience muscle pain during training, or immediately after it has ended.

This is a signal from your body that you are approaching the limit. That in itself is a good sign because your muscles are optimally stimulated in this way. The damage in the muscles is tackled by the body by the production of lactic acid (lactose).

This causes a feeling of muscle pain. It is important to ensure the intake of building materials (proteins) in the short term so that your muscles can recover in a natural way.

Another, perhaps more well-known form of muscle soreness is the muscle soreness you experience one or two days after your workout.

This is the result of the resulting tears in the muscle tissue. It is a natural reaction of your body and a sign that your body needs some rest to be able to recover properly.

The importance of rest

Rest, which is another keyword to achieve optimal recovery of your muscles. Bodybuilding is of course almost synonymous with training, but to achieve optimal results, you also need to schedule sufficient rest moments for your body.

There are different times and ways to rest. Why rest is so important in bodybuilding?

Because the moment of rest is the moment of muscle growth. Your muscles don't get bigger and stronger when you hang on the weights but during the moments or days of rest!

Taking insufficient rest is therefore the main reason that many bodybuilders do not achieve their goals or only achieve them to a lesser extent.

If you don't rest enough, the muscles don't get the chance to grow. You then damage the muscles too early, as it were, which leads to the opposite of growth.

Types of rest

There are different types of rest in bodybuilding. This way you have the rest you take between different exercises. However, this is not a moment of rest that leads to muscle growth. You give your muscles some rest, in order to be able to put more strain on them afterward. The rest that does ensure muscle growth is sleep.

Especially on the day of heavy training, it is important to get enough hours of sleep. Your body can recover optimally during sleep because no energy is needed for all kinds of other functions. A regular, sufficiently long night's sleep is therefore of great importance.

In addition, you naturally have the necessary rest days in your training program. It is possible to train different muscle groups on different days, but it is also necessary to regularly plan a day of complete rest. For example, take a fixed day a week as a rest day for your body.

Immediate recovery after training

If you want to do the necessary to stimulate recovery immediately after your bodybuilding training, there are several ways to do this:

  • Take a warm bath, get a muscle massage or go to the sauna. This ensures that your muscles relax, which leads to a faster recovery.
  • Go swimming as a cool-down. Swimming is an ideal way to promote muscle recovery. The water provides minimal resistance and acts as a kind of natural massage.
  • Take a cold bath (or ice bath). Do you want to take things seriously and are you willing to go to extremes? By sitting in (very) cold water after your workout, you prevent the damaged muscle tissue from swelling. This speeds up recovery considerably.
  • Decrease muscle tension after training. You do this by deliberately and gently stretching and stretching.

A longer period of rest

It may sound contradictory, but many bodybuilders swear by planning a longer period of rest once in a while. Then think of a period of a week in which you do absolutely nothing to bodybuilding.

Where you would think that this leads to slimming of the muscles, this often has muscle growth as an effect. A rest week is also called plateau rest because you provide a shock effect.

The regularity in your bodybuilding schedule is interrupted, which stimulates the body. After the rest week, you will also have energy and want to get started!

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