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5 Tips for Ideal Muscle Growth and Recovery

5 Tips for Ideal Muscle Growth and Recovery

Written by Alex Phan - Osteopath | 8th December 2023

Have you noticed your training hasn’t been as effective lately or there’s been a decline in your training progress? Have you seen a decrease in muscle growth and have had poor recovery post work outs? Then you might want to reconsider some simple aspects of training that most people often overlook. Below are some tips that most people brush over which are quite important for optimum muscle growth and recovery.

1. Stay Hydrated

Most people who work out or perform some form of physical activity will sweat and the loss of fluids and electrolytes can be detrimental to training and training outcomes. It’s important to stay hydrated as the loss of fluids and electrolytes can dictate how long you can train for and whether you will experience cramping or not. Exercise induced cramping is an uncontrollable muscle spasm which usually indicates poor hydration and physical fatigue. Furthermore, hydration is important as when you train there is a phenomenon called ‘muscle pump’ where exercise causes blood to rush into the cells of the muscle, causing them to swell and to expand in size.

2. Refuel and Repair

When you exercise you will be burning a large amount of energy which will need to be restored post workout. It’s important to replace certain macronutrients such as carbohydrates and protein post workout which will be ideal for muscle growth and recovery. Carbohydrates will be converted into glycogen which is stored in muscle and then used later as a source of energy to fuel physical activity and exercise.

Protein is important for muscle growth and recovery as it contains the building blocks for the growth and repair of muscle cells. During a workout, you create microtears in muscles fibres which will need to be repaired. It is suggested that you consume about 0.2-0.5 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight.

3. Get Lots of Rest

Sleep and rest are often overlooked and not well prioritised among many individuals. However, ideal sleep and rest is vital for the recovery process required post workout and is important for future workouts. When you are sleeping this is the time that the body uses to recover physically, especially important for the repair of microtears from exercise. Sleep deprivation can also impair cognitive functions such as decision making, reaction time and accuracy. It also impairs submaximal strength and endurance.

Poor sleep can cause the secretion of cortisol which is a stress hormone that can influence metabolism and immune response. Too much cortisol can impair muscle growth and recovery. It’s suggested that the average person should get about 7-9 hours of sleep of optimal recovery.

4. Try Alternative Therapies

Alternative therapies have been shown to have some good benefits in today’s modern age. Therapies like cold plunges or cryotherapy are alternative practices which essentially exposes the body to extremely cold temperatures to target the inflammation that occurs post workout. This in turn will help with promoting a faster muscle recovery process, alleviate muscle soreness and reduce pain.

5. Get Regular Treatment

Not everyone requires treatment, but regular check ins or maintenance work does not hurt and can even promote better workouts and recovery. Treatment from a health professional such as an Osteopath can help alleviate muscle soreness, treat any injuries or conditions suffered from training, and can facilitate in the rehabilitation of injuries. Osteopaths can also provide advice on training, tailored exercises, and further recovery interventions.

If you feel like you need some more clarification about these tips are find that these tips aren’t as effective, it would be a good idea to come down and see one of the osteopaths at Canterbury Health Hub. The osteopaths can help tailor your exercise program and can provide more advice and tips on making your workouts more effective and efficient.