What You're Missing When It Comes To Gaining Strength & Muscle...
There is this huge misconception within the fitness industry - and it's that your training matters most if you're trying to either gain strength and add weight to your frame
Whilst I agree that it's important, it's not what matters most. Your recovery does! Your sleep, your food intake, and your stretching/other recovery methods to prime you for your next training session
If you break down your week, it may look something like this... 90minutes of training or competing 6 days a week (AT MOST), which is 9 hours out of 168 total in a week... or 5% of your time
5% of your time is spent training and competing - so what are you doing in your other 95%
Plus, when you train or compete in your sport, you're breaking our body down. It goes into a state of catabolism... you're using your muscle stores of glycogen, you're tearing your muscle... all with the intention for it to grow back stronger - and this growth happens outside of the gym
And here is what you need to focus on outside the gym, and why
1) Eat Real Food, and More of It: food is our best friend, it's the most natural anabolic (growth) thing we can consume. You need to keep it simple when it comes to food - constantly making the best choice you can at any time available. Chances are you're still growing as a teenager, so this needs to be taken into consideration as well. You need meats, vegetables, fruits, grains, pasta's, rice, breads, cereals, dairy products - nothing should be limited except for soft drinks and other sweets - but everything in moderation
2) You Need Carbohydrates: they're king, not protein. Proteins are our building blocks, yes, but if you only had them, you wouldn't see optimal results. Let's think about building a house, and proteins are our bricks... if we simply got more bricks, would the house be built? Or, would we more than likely just have a big old pile of bricks? We'd have a pile of bricks waiting for some workers to come along and put the bricks in place to build the house - and these workers are carbohydrates. When we eat carbs, they elicit the hormone insulin within our bodies, which takes proteins and other nutrients from the bloodstream into the muscle so that it can repair. The perceived 'danger' comes when the muscle stores are already full, as insulin wants to take the nutrients somewhere for storage, and if the muscle is full (either from not being broken down, or already being full) the nutrients will be stored in fat cells. If you're a teenager or young athlete who is training hard this is the least of your worries :)
3) Sleep Like A King: sleep, you need it. At least eight hours a night, if not more. So, get off your phone, turn the TV or laptop off, and sleep. Why? Because this is when the body is in its most natural and powerful recuperative state. Physiologically, the hormonal cocktail of human growth hormone, testosterone, and many others is at an all time high and perfect mix - especially when you hit a deep REM sleep. And this sleep time - if you've given the body enough carbs, protein, and other nutrients to grow - is where the magic happens
Without the correct nutrients or sleep, the body has nothing to use to grow - and this is why this other 95% of your time is the most important to you!
So, if you're not seeing the progress or results you're after, stop trying to train harder or find the 'secret sauce' program - as it doesn't exist. Instead, take a look at how you're recovering, and if you're both sleeping and eating enough
Until next time, eat & sleep like a KING,