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      FITNESS TIPS FOR 8/2/2000                  

Lost Bodybuilding Secrets  
Part 2: Workout Recovery

This article looks at the importance of allowing enough time 
to pass between workouts and what happens if you train 
too frequently. To build size and strength we undertake 
what scientifically it is known as the over compensation 
factor. Very simply if you stress the body by lifting a heavy 
weight the body will adapt to the demands placed upon it. 
Once recovered, you will be able to lift more weight or do 
more reps because the body has overcompensated for the
initial stress and has built a reserve. It is easier to
visualise what is going on if you imagine being chased 
by a lion one day and you just manage to escape. If you 
got into the same situation your body will have adapted, 
and because you are able to run faster, the chances of 
being killed are far less. Now that you understand this 
simple, natural mechanism you will be able to see the 
importance of allowing your body to fully recover 
before you next train. 

Once you have stressed you body in the gym, you need 
time to allow it to recover and overcompensate for the 
stress. If you donít rest long enough, the body will not 
have had time to overcompensate and you will be no 
stronger than the last time you trained. For an average 
man, recovery from a truly hard workout may take 
between 3 and 10 days. It is not true that after 48 hours 
your muscles begin to degenerate. Just recently due to 
a busy work schedule I was unable to train for 16 days. 
According to modern misconceptions I should of lost 
considerable amounts of strength, in fact I was able to 
lift more than the previous workout. I had not lost any 
strength, for if I had, it would be impossible to lift more 
than the last workout. Actually I train a lift (bench press, 
deadlift, squat etc) once every 10 days, when I am 
working truly hard at the end of a training cycle. It 
actually takes me that long to recover. 

The harder you work out, the more you stress your 
body and the more time needed to recover. The more 
advanced a lifter is, the more time is needed in order 
to fully recover because they can generate more 
intensity than a beginner.  Age, work and family 
commitments are another factor to consider because 
they all use energy that is needed to build your body. 
The more pressure you are under and the more 
commitments you have, the longer you must wait until 
you have another workout. The consequence of 
training too frequently is something I am sure you are 
familiar with overtraining. As you can now see, this 
common term refers to the body being unable to fully 
recover before it is stressed again. But how do you 
know when one is recovered I hear you say. I go on 
how my body feels. If I am full of energy and cant 
wait to get into the gym and have a demanding 
workout, then you can bet, Iím fully recovered . This
may be three days after my last workout, it may be 
ten or somewhere in between. My cut off time is 10 
days, because I donít want to make excuses not to 
train and baring an illness, Iím confident my body 
will have fully recovered by then. 

So the moral of the story, is donít be afraid to have 
that extra days rest, science has proven you need 
time for your body to grow bigger and stronger. 
Unless you are a genetic abnormality or on Ďgearí 
training more frequently than twice a week is counter 
productive and I would strongly advise every 
intermediate or advanced lifter to train three days 
every two weeks or have four whole days between 
workouts. So go out and experiment on having an 
extra days rest, assuming you are serious about 
your training and are working hard enough to NEED it. 

Next Issue
© David Gentle 1997/98. from Muscle Mob Magazine, 
by permission of the publisher 


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