Your muscle and performance improvements are always in no hurry to arrive and eager to leave. Here’s why and how you can come back strong after a lay-off
My senior year of high school was by far the best 12 months of my athletic career. For four years I had trained diligently, dropping nearly 10% body fat and gaining 15lb of muscle. My speed and power were so insane that at five-foot-nine, I could touch the rim of a 10-foot-high basketball hoop. Then it happened; I turned my ankle during a game.
Next came six weeks of crutches, which wasted away all my leg muscle and some of those feats. It’s the kind of situation that might sound familiar to you: several months of gains ebbing away when work, life or injury keep you out of your gym clothes.
You could shake your fists at the fitness gods, or listen up right now, understand why it all happens, and be one step ahead of cruel fate the next time to keep your gains.
Our bodies are hard-wired to conserve energy. Muscle burns energy (calories) and requires energy (calories) and nutrients to be maintained. Your body wants to unload energy and, if given the chance, will burn through it. This process is known as atrophy (decline). It also occurs when there is little or no stress being placed upon the muscle. The no-stress part is easy because it requires no working out, no nutritional effort and no attention to any sort of supplement regimen.
Muscle growth on the other hand, is hard and demands so many variables. For example, what are the best types of workouts, rep ranges, macronutrient levels and micronutrient levels for your body type? The bottom line is that depending on the person, their genetics and their metabolism, the way an individual builds muscle can be as unique as their fingerprint. Now, I know what you’re thinking. How do I maintain or even build muscle if I can’t spend five days a week at the gym? The answer to this age-old question is simple: proper nutrition. I could write 50-plus pages qualifying my Clutch Bodyshop definition of ‘proper nutrition’ but here are the big ones.
• Eat five to seven meals per day to keep a continual stream of nutrients to muscle tissue.
• Get five to seven servings of lean protein per day. Protein totals should be around 1g protein per 1lb bodyweight to ensure protein synthesis.
• Eat two servings of coconut oil per day. Plant-based saturated fats increase testosterone levels. Testosterone stimulates the nervous system to send stronger signals to the muscle to rebuild.
• Regulate your carbohydrate consumption based on how active or inactive you are.
• Eat only unprocessed carbohydrate sources if your activity level is minimal to ensure your blood sugar stays balanced.
• Cut out high-sugar drinks and foods, however do consume one serving of those kinds of high-glycemic carbohydrates after each workout. Spiking insulin is bad, except right after you work out.
I could recommend many different supplements to help build muscle but the following are the basics that every person should be on:
• Drink 25–35g of 100% r-BGH-free (recombinant bovine growth hormone) whey protein isolate after every workout.
• One serving of BCAAs first thing in the morning and before bed. And one serving before and after every workout
• One serving L-glutamine before and after every workout and before bed.
• One serving creatine monohydrate daily.