You’ve Made Your Bod, Now Lie in It (Virtues of Protein and Rest)

Statue of Adonis with sleeping mask and whey protein

Derivative by Jay Ray

Written by Jay Ray

Okay, kids, the coaxing and psychobabble of previous posts are going on hiatus this week. Instead, this posting will focus on  those who ARE working out, and the fuel needed to get a totally ripped bod ( I don’t think I like myself when I talk this way). But, really, supplements do make a difference — as does REST, which might be counterintuitive to a mind that is determined to push the body for glorious physical fabulosity (okay, I’ll stop with the hyperboles — I promise).

It is important to realize one very basic truth about working out: it tears the body down. Muscle tissue is ripped, literally, and it is in the recovery mode when strength and mass are gained. This is not only true for weight training but also for any other intense physical endeavor, such as running, bicycling, sack-racing, extreme bowling, etc. To make a long, scientific story short: the body goes into an anabolic state, which simply means that it has been depleted and seeks protein to restore itself. The cruel irony is that, without proper nutrition, the first place the body looks to for this regenerative sustenance is newly formed muscle mass (this is called the catabolic state). The paradoxical irony is that if the body isn’t given time to recover, further exercise that focuses on the muscles that are torn will only tear them down more. This prevents their rebuilding process which, in turn, prevents gains in strength and mass. Some people are exempt from these truths, but those are the people who were seemingly born with muscles upon muscles anyway.

For the rest of us:
Protein, protein, protein BEFORE and after a workout is key. I put emphasis on before because, though many people are aware of the need for post-workout protein, many folks don’t realize that without a pre-workout ingestion one is only robbing Peter to pay Paul. In other words, the body is burning protein like nobody’s business during a workout, so all the post-workout protein does is replace that which was exhausted during the workout. By ingesting protein before the workout, the body doesn’t diminish sources stored within that newly formed muscle mass you have worked so hard to establish. There are matrixes of conversion to determine the amount of protein needed based on body weight, but I won’t get into that here (this blog isn’t for Olympic weight trainers). The rule of thumb I’ve learned from personal trainers (and I almost became one) is ingest 30 grams of protein up to 30 minutes before working out; ingest 30 grams of protein no later than 30 minutes after working out.

You don’t need to deplete student loans to make the above happen because GNC is not the only place to find high-quality protein powder. Look for whey powder with the essential amino acids and a touch of creatine (the label will clearly indicate the presence of these) at your local retailer corporation (hint, hint: Wal*Mart). They’ll have it there…and on the cheap.

As for resting periods, it really is a case by case situation. If it is imperative to work out every day, rotate muscle groups. Work the upper body one day and the lower body the next. Go running one day and then hit the upper body with weights the next day. Whatever the regimen, don’t attack the same muscles day after day. The most obvious indication that muscles need more rest is soreness, but once the body is accustomed to a regimen the soreness will cease. The best way to recognize a good time frame for days off is to pay attention to how the body is responding: if muscles aren’t getting bigger or stronger, take two days off instead of one. Take this approach until finding the right fit and I assure you that, once you do find it, the progress will be quite evident.

Now, get to it.

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Posted on April 18, 2012, in Eating Heathly, Fitness, Fitness and Nutrition, Motivation, Physical Health, Preparation, Work Out and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.

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