How Rest Helps You Build Muscle

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Getting the right amount of rest helps you recover from training and build muscle.

Building muscle mass is the best thing you can do to improve your body composition.  If you’re slim and want more muscle mass you need to be strategic about packing on those muscular pounds.  Even if you’re looking to lose weight, building muscle will make your body more metabolically active so that you’re burning more calories all the time.

Most of us are looking to reduce our body fat percentage and shape our bodies, and the best way to do that is to add muscle. Many people believe that the more time you spend in the gym, the more muscle you’ll put on.  To a certain extent that’s true, but the time that you spend away from the gym also helps you get the gains.

Your muscle repairs and grows when you’re resting, not when you’re working out, so if you don’t take time off your muscle won’t have a chance to recover and get bigger. Training twice a day, 7 days a week isn’t the best way to achieve maximum muscle mass.  While some professional bodybuilders train that frequently, they normally use the assistance of drugs that speed up the recovery and growth process.

For a normal healthy individual (or a natural bodybuilder), regularly scheduling rest will optimize your muscle growth and avoid overtraining, which also hampers your progress. The more muscle mass you already have, the more rest you’ll need.  Men tend to need more recovery time between weight sessions than women do, partly because of the muscle mass issue.

The heavier you lift, the more time you need between sets as well. If you’re working in the 4-6 rep range you’ll need more rest time than if you’re using the 10-12 rep range.

Don’t overlook the power of rest!  Proper training and adequate time for recovery is the key to getting the muscle you want.

Ivana Chapman 

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Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman

Ivana Chapman BSc BA CSCS is a Canadian fitness and nutrition coach, happy wife, and mom to an energetic 5-year-old boy. She is a writer, published fitness model, speaker, 3rd Dan black belt in Shotokan Karate, former World Cup Karate Champion, one-time marathoner, and CBBF National level Natural Bikini competitor. She loves weight training and chocolate, not always in that order of preference.
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