Why Rest and Recovery Is Important for Athletes

The Importance of Recovery

Exhausted Fitness Girl
When you first set out on your journey to bulk up and build the muscular physique that allows you to look and feel your best, or even pit yourself against other athletes in strength, endurance, and overall fitness challenges, you might be focused on working hard in order to build muscle and advance as quickly as possible. While this is certainly an important part of the equation, over time you’ll learn that there’s more to bodybuilding than simply lifting weights.

For one thing, you have to create a targeted diet plan that provides you with the proper nutrients and caloric intake needed to steadily put on muscle. But you’ll also come to the realization that rest and recovery time is nearly as crucial to your ongoing success as ramping up the amount of weight you lift and the number of reps you do.

It’s when you fail to observe strategic down time that you suffer from weakness and possibly even injury, which can set you back significantly. Overtraining can lead to injury, loss of motivation, increased cortisol (the hormone that breaks down muscle tissue), and training regression.

But why, exactly, is rest and recovery time so important when you’re trying to build muscle and increase strength?

Why is Recovery so Important?

As you may or may not know, weight training, along with other types of moderate-to-intense exercise, stresses your muscles. In fact, resistance training causes trauma to your muscle fibers, which in turn sets off a chain reaction by which more muscle tissue may be built. When your muscles suffer this type of damage, satellite cells are called to the site, at which point they begin to fuse with each other and with the muscle fibers.

From there they start to multiply (through cellular division), helping to form new protein strands that will repair and replace damaged muscle fiber. And it is this biological process that is actually responsible for building new muscle.

Unfortunately, certain criteria must be met in order for this process to progress smoothly. As you might have guessed, it involves rest.

In order for your body to have the best chance of recovery, you need to allow it time to rest and heal. If you continue to stress already traumatized muscles without giving them a chance to undergo the process of repair at the cellular level, you will simple keep repeating the same damage.

While you may still see some results, you will actually build muscle and increase strength much more slowly in this way. Furthermore, denying your muscles the downtime required for repair can eventually lead to injuries, either mild or serious. And if you thought muscled weakness slowed you down, just wait until you have caused a sprain, strain, or dislocation.

Get Actual Sleep

Your growth hormone levels peak during sleep, so you’ll first want to make sure that you’re getting plenty of shut-eye each night. But you must also stick to a schedule that you’ve planned out with a trained professional if you want to ensure that your muscles have adequate time to heal following intensive weight training sessions. This is the best way to stay on track for forward momentum when it comes to bodybuilding.

Other Recovery Treatments

You could also include cold or heat treatments as needed for muscle aches or seek out a massage in Lexington, Los Angeles, or your local environs. When you properly care for your body by providing adequate periods of time for rest and recovery, you’ll reach your goals a lot more quickly than if you push yourself over the edge with too much training.

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