What if you could build insane amounts of muscle while sitting on the couch doing nothing? You would probably tell me I was full of it then go hit the gym again for another punishing workout which is fair enough except that you DO build muscle while resting! Recover post workout is not just for regaining your energy to do it again but is a vital part of the muscle gain game that is often glossed over in favor of talking about the workout itself.
While you will never gain any muscle from just sitting on your bum there is a science to rest in a bodybuilder’s routine that needs to be understood to give the most effectiveness to go from skinny to muscle.
The Muscle Gain Science of Rest
Muscle growth workouts are the start of the process of building muscle and if you do this right you stress the muscles by lifting heavy weights right at your maximum strength level. This extreme effort is basically too much for your skinny muscles. Under the strain of the heavy lifting tears will develop in the muscle fibers and blood will rush to those locations which is where you get that “pumped” feeling and also the muscle soreness and fatigue.
These muscular injuries are normal and the foundation of building more muscle because without these tears no muscle would be built and this is where post workout recovery needs to be understood.
When you rest after a workout the body goes from active weight lifting mode into recovery and healing mode as it realizes that there are muscles that need repairing. With a good muscle gaining diet you will get the fuel to power the repair process when you are sleeping, resting and generally not doing anything too strenuous. This repair process heals the muscle tissue but also builds extra muscle tissue over it much like a scar which is made of MORE muscle tissue. This overcompensation is called hypertrophy and is what you really want to get bigger stronger muscles and it happens during recovery time not during workout time.
How much recovery, post workout time do you need?
Even if you know that rest is important to grow muscles the issue or how much is enough can be confusing. Some think a good night’s sleep then back at the gym the next morning is good enough along the lines that more weight training and more intensity all the time will lead to faster muscle growth. This is not efficient however because how you workout determines how long you should spend in muscle recovery.
As a rule of thumb the more intense your workout the longer you are going to need to rest. If you give 100% in the shortest period of time at the gym and really push the limits on your weight lifting you put a lot more pressure on the muscles and on the nervous system and a rest period of 2-3 days may be called for! If you train at a lower level which is quite acceptable depending on what goal you are aiming for then you will need less of a gap and you might be able to do 3-4 sessions in a week. Training every day is not the answer as you can see and while it may seem like a cop out to some recovery will do you more good than over-training.
How much sleep do you need?
Another recovery related aspect is of course sleep. When we sleep our body has the best opportunity to internally fix a lot of things that it does not do when you are awake which can greatly speed up your recovery phases and in turn your muscle growth. This is because when you sleep you get a boost in hormone growth about an hour into your slumber which is what kicks your muscle building into high gear.
There is no optimal amount of sleep you can give to any one person because people have quite different sleep cycles. Generally most people need about 8 hours of sleep a night for the full benefits of this rest while other can go as low as 6 hours of sleep to be rested and recovered. You need to find the right amount for yourself but as a rule try to get good long uninterrupted sleep.
There is in fact some evidence that the earlier you go to bed the better the sleep sop sleeping from 10PM to 6AM would be better than sleeping from 12PM to 8AM for instance. Regularity of sleep may simply be a factor in this so if you are serious about going from skinny to muscle bound you need to commit to good regular sleep. Do your own time management but if you think that putting aside the hours to just workout is enough you will not be getting the results you want to get serious … and sleep!
Wont too much rest make me fat if I am eating a lot too?
This is a common worry especially for skinny guys who have had to increase how much they eat by a huge amount to get good muscle growth. The thought of becoming fat instead of muscles can be a fear that propels you to the gym more and more to work it off so to speak.
If you get your resting wrong, eat too much of the WRONG foods and do not train with the right level of intensity then yes, this can be a problem. However if you follow the recovery rule of thumb provided earlier about how often to rest and you maintain a diet with the right volume of calories but the right mix of fats, protein and so forth then this extra energy will go to muscle growth and not to fat.
Hi Guys, James McLain from skinnytomuscle.net here,
I know that building muscle is hard work when you are a skinny hardgainer and continually punishing yourself at the gym for no gains just plain sucks. If this this echoes your experiences in the gym then I highly recommend you check out the No-Nonsense Muscle Building guide by Vince Delmonte which I used to put on a lot more muscle in several weeks compared to no muscle for months of work before.
Vince was once a hard gainer. A skinny runt who thought he could never gain the physique he craved but found out the secrets of skinny bodybuilding and went from 149 pounds to 190 pounds of rock solid muscle in less than 6 months!
Now a professional model and fitness coach respected worldwide Vince Delmonte has released a fully downloadable guide on how you can get the body you want without supplements or steroids. Vince’s guide has everything you need, from detailed muscle growth workout plans to exactly what you need to eat and when along with all the science behind every aspect of skinny to muscle growth. This is your best chance at going from skinny to muscle fast without wasting time and money on supplements and workout routines that just don’t work.