Respect your recovery time

It’s really easy to “get into” muscle growth – work out hard and stay dedicated, and the muscle will come, right? Maybe, but it’s not that simple. While bodybuilders have no problem training all-out, many don’t give recovery the respect it’s due. But the fact is, while working out builds muscle, it can also hurt you for days after the gym.

A new study by Greek researchers examined the effects of a hard workout on oxidant levels and the effects of oxidant activity on lipids, proteins and DNA. They found that a hard workout increases the oxidation of fatty acids (lipids) and proteins and increases damage to your DNA. This is well-established, so this study confirmed what we already knew. But researchers also found something else: A hard workout also causes oxidative damage to your muscles – regardless of fiber type – and this damage can persist for days after you’ve gone all-out.


If you want to grow, you’ve got to respect your recovery time. Make it a habit and a priority. Immediately after going all-out, give your body the good stuff – proteins, fats and carbohydrates – and drink plenty of water. And keep it up, because it can take days – not hours – to recover from a single workout. Finally, don’t be afraid to step back and take it a little easy from time to time. Sometimes your best growth can come from by taking it slow – especially if you train all-out all of the time!


Nikolaidis MG et al. The effect of muscle-damaging exercise on blood and skeletal muscle oxidative stress magnitude and time-course considerations. Sports Med. 2008;38(7):579-606.

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