One thing I love about our sport is that you’re never perfect. Some aspect of your preparation can always be improved, whether it is training, nutrition, supplementation, or recovery. How about the things that few people know anything about? How neurotransmitters affect growth, or how your adrenals control cortisol; you all know about cortisol right? How about how the food you eat every day can instantly increase estrogen and cortisol levels and completely halt growth?
How about how much training is the right amount for growth? Sets, reps, fast, slow, full, partials? There are so many factors to consider.
Learning about these little subtleties is what I love doing! How can I improve my performance, recovery and growth even 1% and sometimes 50%? As I have recently mentioned in part 1 of this blog, the approach I take is that an athlete is an athlete. We all have very similar needs and requirements for optimal performance and recovery. Bodybuilders obviously will have different caloric requirements, and different training volume and load, but at the end of the day, were all trying to get 100% out of our bodies. We try to minimize injuries, and recover as fast as possible so we can get back In there and do it all over again!
Lately, a lot of my time and efforts has been focused on learning to optimize recovery, short term and long term. This seems to be the limiting factor for maximal growth; the faster I can recovery, the more time I spend being anabolic. Everyone knows someone who can train as hard or harder than most people, and doesn’t really get sore. Chances are they have a greater capacity for growth because they can train again sooner and stimulate more new growth.
The question then becomes, how do I know what factors set these people apart and where do I find how to change these variables. For most bodybuilders, “recovery” means taking some carbs and BCAAs after a workout, eating lots of dietary protein, and we’re on our way to recovery right? Well, the truth is, when trying to maximize performance, the difference between being good and great needs to be a lot more precise. Training at an elite level affects a lot more than just the obvious things that you can see or feel.
One factor that I find to be THE most important aspect of recovery is inflammation. It is absolutely essential to be aware of inflammation and do everything in your power to reduce it and keep it under control. It has been said that 60% of all human ailments and health conditions are a direct result of inflammation.
Inflammation is the body’s response to irritated tissue or organs. It might be from training, allergic reactions to food, sudden blunt trauma, repetitive strain on a muscle, ligament or joint, etc.
When we train we are causing damage to muscle tissue. The body naturally sees this as an “injury” and instinctive tries to protect the area. It can sometimes take days for this to go away, inhibiting our ability to move properly and of course, limiting our training potential. It makes sense then, that if I can help to speed up the healing of the inflamed tissue, I will more quickly be able to train, with less inhibition and less pain!
Most important factors in reducing inflammatory periods:
This last factor is what you’re all probably waiting for. Lets stick to the basics:
1) Omega 3 fish oils
2) Proteolytic enzymes
3) Minerals (Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc are essential)
*I also use CoQ10 and greens which can aid in the elimination of accumulated inflammation.
Achy joints? Tight Muscles? Finding it takes a long time to recovery between workouts? Try the supplements above! And FYI, these simple supplements can also play a huge role in reducing heart disease or arteriosclerosis (inflamed blood vessels!).
Stay healthy, stay huge!!