How Rest Periods Affect Muscle Growth

One of the most important yet most hotly debated and misunderstood aspects of a good workout routine are rest periods. Rest periods are crucial for muscle growth. How do rest periods affect muscle growth and what’s the optimal rest period? Let’s explore these questions.

Why Rest Periods Are Crucial

rest periods
Quick warm up at the home gym

There are a few reasons why rest periods are crucial.

First of all, when you exert your muscles you’re building up lactic acid and hydrogen ions. In small doses, these substances don’t harm your body at all. However, during a workout these substances can really build up to substantial amounts.

These substances will prevent your muscles from exerting themselves fully and cause more fatigue. In other words, it can cause you to tire yourself out without actually making any progress towards your goals.

Even worse, however, is that lactic acid and hydrogen ions can prevent the proper delivery of proteins to your muscles. In other words, your muscles won’t be getting the necessary building blocks they need to build stronger muscles.

The other reason rest periods are crucial is because of the way muscle building works. You’re basically causing tiny micro injuries in your tissues when you work out. Then when you rest, the body repairs the muscles and makes them stronger than before.

If you don’t have proper rest periods, you’ll just continually injure your body without actually gaining muscle. That can be very unhealthy.

What’s the Proper Rest Period?

The proper rest period is about 48 hours for each muscle group. That said, it’s really rare that someone can actually work out one muscle group three times in a week. More realistically, your rest period is probably going to be more like two to four days per muscle group.

Resting your muscle groups doesn’t mean not working out. It basically means you alternate working out different parts of your body. For example, you might work out your upper body today, then work out your lower body two days from now, then work out your upper body again a couple days after that.

Also try not to workout three days in a row. Working out a couple days in a row is fine, but keep in mind that even if you’re switching up the muscle groups it still takes your body a lot of energy to repair tissue every single day.

If you’re continually working out without rest, even if they’re different muscle groups, the micro tissue injuries and the lactic acid will build up.

Rest periods are a critical element of strong muscle growth. Make sure you’re getting enough rest by spacing out your workouts and alternating the muscle groups you’re training. Sometimes the best thing for your muscles and your workout routine is a nice break.

rest periods
7 Keys To Body Transformation *FREE DOWNLOAD*

Why Calories Aren’t a Good Metric

When it comes to losing weight or building muscles, the amount of calories you eat is one of the most common metrics you’ll find talked about. Unfortunately, this simply is not a good metric for tracking and improving performance.

A calorie is just a unit of measurement for energy. One single calorie is equivalent to the amount of energy you would need in heat to raise the temperature of one gram of water one single degree Celsius.

calories

That energy is then converted into food and measured to see how much energy you’re taking into your body.

However, this kind of measurements doesn’t take into account many of the crucial factors that actually determine how much weight you gain or lose.

 It’s Not What You Eat, It’s What’s in Your Body

One often overlooked aspect of calorie counting is the measurement of how many of the calories you eat actually end up in your blood stream.

Two people could eat the same meal and have completely different amounts of fats, vitamins, minerals and toxins absorbed by the body.

One person may take in a lot of the fat and gain weight as a result, while another person could eat the same meal and have the fats pass right through his body.

In this case, what matters really isn’t how many calories you’re eating, but how many calories are absorbed.

It Leaves Out the Quality of the Food

Of course, measuring calories completely leaves out the measurement of the food quality.

Is a calorie of ice cream the same as a calorie from organic lean meat chicken? Just a few decades ago, health experts would have said “yes.” Today however, the answer is a resounding “no.”

Where your calories come from play a much larger role in determining whether you gain weight or lose weight than most people imagine.

Other Metrics

There are many other metrics you can use to track your progress.

One of the best metrics is your body fat percentage. If your body fat percentage is going up, then there’s probably something your dietary habits that you need to change. If it’s going down, you’re probably doing something right.

Keep a food journal and write down everything you eat. Then compare what you ate to the fluctuations in your body fat percentage. This information can help you identify which kinds of meals result in better results for your body.

This is a much more effective approach than measuring raw calories, which have a different effect on different people.

Another metric you can use is BMI. While the BMI equation isn’t perfect, for the majority of people it can provide a very good indicator of overall muscle health.

In short, calories really have limited use for someone who’s looking to build muscle or lose weight. It simply leaves too much information out to be useful. Instead, try using other metrics that actually give you data that can help you follow the correct course.

 

calories
Fat Burning Secrets *FREE DOWNLOAD*

Compound Exercises: The Fundamentals of Good Muscle Building

When it comes to muscle building, all exercises can be separated into two different camps. On one side are the compound exercises, on the other side are the isolation exercises. They each have very different functions.

As the name might suggest, compound exercises are workouts that exercise multiple muscle groups at the same time. Isolation exercises are exercises that target a specific muscle group.

muscle building

If you’re trying to build muscle, using compound exercises is a much better way to go about it. Both for building overall tone and putting on muscle, compound exercises will get you there faster.

Compound exercises work out your muscles, your tendons, your joints and your ligaments. It puts the most strain on the area of your body that’s the weakest, strengthening the overall system. It’s the “broad strokes” of building overall muscle quickly.

Is There a Time When Isolation Exercises Are Better?

Yes, there is. Isolation exercises are great for targeting and improving a specific muscle group that’s out of balance.

If your right triceps is larger than your left for example, you might want to do some isolation exercises targeting just your left triceps.

Compound exercises are the fastest way to build muscle mass in your body in general. However, compound exercises aren’t great for laser-targeting specific parts of the body to develop.

Isolation exercises also have an additional benefit of being able to put on short-term mass quickly. Professional bodybuilders will often do isolation exercises before a major competition to add an inch or so of muscle. This muscle doesn’t last, however, and will disappear if you stop working out.

To build muscles that really last, start with compound exercises, then refine your body with isolation exercises if imbalances come up.

A Few Popular Compound Exercises

What are some of the most popular and proven compound exercises in bodybuilding?

Perhaps the most popular is the bench press. The bench press works out many of the muscles in your upper body, including the many muscles in your arms and your back.

Squats are another popular compound exercise. Everything from your calves to your thighs to your buttocks is worked out by squats.

Deadlifts are another popular compound exercise. Deadlifts will work out your abs, your leg muscles, your back muscles, your hips and your forearms.

Of course there are many other compound exercises you can choose from depending on your fitness goals. Pick the exercises you use based on the kind of body you want to develop.

In summary, compound exercises are the main building block to a solid workout routine. While isolation exercises are definitely important for sculpting the body and perfecting muscle balance, the actual work of building muscle should be done primarily with compound exercises.

muscle building
7 Keys To Body Transformation *FREE DOWNLOAD*

Four Common Muscle-Building Myths

Bodybuilding is a field that’s often flooded with a lot of conflicting advice. While conflicting advice can sometimes have two right answers, very often the advice that’s given is just plain wrong. In this article, we’ll expose four of the most common muscle-building myths.

Myth #1 – Eat More If You Want to Build Muscle

muscle

One common myth is that if you’re skinny and want to gain muscle, you need to consume a lot of calories. Unfortunately, this is more likely to get you fat than get you built.

Yes, if you want to gain muscle mass you do need to eat a few more calories than you’re burning. But you don’t need to consume 2,000 more calories than you’ve been eating in the past.

Eat more food, but don’t stuff your body with calories. It’s not healthy and won’t help get you where you want to go.

Myth #2 – You Should Tense Your Abs When Lifting Weights

Another common myth is that tensing up your abs when you’re lifting weights will help give your spine more support, thereby reducing the likelihood of injury.

This myth stemmed from a research study that was conducted, showing that people who had back pain tended to have lax abdominal muscles. They concluded that by tensing up the ab muscles, back support was increased which reduced back pain.

This story spread among the bodybuilding community and has come to be accepted as fact today. Unfortunately, it’s just plain wrong.

In reality, your body naturally knows what to do when it’s lifting heavy objects. Yes, you do need to tense up your abs – but your body does that automatically already. If you tense up your abs even more manually, you can throw off the whole system and actually increase your chances of injury.

Myth #3 – The Trick Is to Eat a Lot of Protein

Yes, eating a lot of protein is crucial. However, just increasing the amount of protein you eat isn’t going to cut it.

In order to really make a difference in your muscles, you need to have the right kinds of proteins. You also need to have the right combination of proteins; and you need to eat other foods that support that protein intake.

Yes, increasing proteins is important – but it’s not the magic pill.

Myth #4 – The Path to Losing Fat is Not Eating Fat

Finally, a lot of people who decide to start building muscles decide that they need to cut all fats out of their diet. Unfortunately, this is actually harmful rather than helpful.

Your body needs fats in order to operate properly. Yes, you should definitely get rid of trans fats and oily foods, but it’s important to keep consuming healthy fats so your body has the resources it needs to work properly.

You can actually lose more fat by eating enough of the right kinds of fat than if you tried to cut out all fats from your diet.

These are four of the most common myths in bodybuilding today.

muscle
7 Keys To Body Transformation *FREE DOWNLOAD*

What It Takes to Develop Six Pack Abs

Six pack abs is one of the most common goals of people who get into body building. Yet it can seem very elusive for most people, as they can work out for weeks and months without seeming to make any progress.

That’s because most people go about building six pack abs wrongly. It’s not just about doing a lot of push-ups and sit-ups. Yes, ab exercises are important, but on their own they’re not going to get you there.

abs

Here’s how to actually get six pack abs.

Selective Working Out Doesn’t Work

Trying to just work out one area of your body to develop that part’s muscles doesn’t work. In other words, exclusively doing abdominal exercises won’t get you six packs.

Why? Because your abs have fat covering them. Even if under all the fat you have ripped abs, people won’t be able to see them. Unfortunately, when you’re just doing push-ups and sit-ups that’s what you’re doing: toning your muscle under the fat, without eliminating the fat.

The first step to actually getting six pack abs is to reduce the amount of fat in your abs. Unfortunately, you can’t selectively lose fat. You have to lose fat throughout your entire body for this to work.

Removing the Fat

Fat burning essentially comes down to doing cardio exercise regularly. Try to exercise at between 70% to 80% of your maximum heart rate for 30 minutes or more three or four times a week.

If you do this, in about a month you’ll start to notice your body overall becoming more toned. If you measure your body fat percentage, you’ll find the amount of fat in your body lowering and the amount of muscle increasing.

As this happens, your abs will naturally become more and more visible.

Diet

Of course, in order to burn that fat you’ll also need to make changes to your diet. You can’t just burn fat and then take the fat back into your body.

Eliminate all extraneous fats from your diet. A bit of fat from protein foods or other “healthy fats” is okay, but stay away from anything that’s unnaturally fat.

That means no deep fried foods, no fast foods, no meals that are frozen or microwavable. Read the calorie contents and ingredients of packaged foods before you buy.

Building Stronger Abs

The last and final step is to do the exercises that strengthen your abs. You can start the phase at the same time as when you start cardio and start changing your diet, but you’ll only see the results from the ab workouts once you do the rest of the steps discussed in this article.

There you have it. To build abs, you need to burn off the fat throughout your entire body so there’s minimal fat covering your abs. Then you need to change your diet to keep that fat off. Finally, use abdominal exercises to tone up your ab area.

love handles
6 Principles of Six Pack ABS *FREE DOWNLOAD*