You cannot grow if your body does not regenerate properly. Take the right steps in the regeneration process by reading this article with 5 tips for optimizing regeneration.
When it comes to achieving fitness goals, most people optimize their training and diet, but they fail on another key thing, which is regeneration.
While diet and training are undoubtedly key, what if I tell you that by optimizing regeneration you can improve your performance in the gym, and at the same time it will help you lose fat, gain muscle, or replenish strength in a short time.
Delayed muscle pain (ONBS) after exercise is very common among athletes and bodybuilders.
ONBS can start as early as 24 hours after exercise and last up to 72 hours and is normally an indication that you are in the process of regenerating, especially if it occurs on a regular basis.
If you’ve ever exercised before, then you know that ONBS is not only painful, but also reduces performance. Thus, for athletes and bodybuilders, any method to either speed up ONBS or reduce its intensity would be valuable.
If you train hard, take part in various sports or follow a certain diet, then regeneration can be a limiting factor, especially if you are already optimizing your diet and training.
Fortunately, I did some research and in this article I will give you 5 scientifically based tips for optimizing regeneration and reducing ONBS.
1. Proteins and carbohydrates after training
The training anabolic window has played an important role in the nutrition of athletes for several decades.
The protein itself has been shown to have a positive effect on muscle growth and muscle strength after training. However, one practice that still remains misunderstood in many fitness or bodybuilding areas is a strong combination of carbohydrates and protein after training.
When you exercise, your body uses glycogen from your muscles as fuel for exercise. At the end of your workout, depending on its type and intensity, your glycogen stores may be very depleted.
Even if you are not an endurance athlete, some HIIT studies have shown muscle depletion of glycogen from baseline by 40-60% with a few short sprints.
To optimize muscle regeneration and performance, it is very important to replace the lost glycogen, which helps lower cortisol after training, increases insulin and ensures that you have the fuel for tomorrow’s training.
Due to improved carbohydrate tolerance and non-insulin dependent nutrient metabolism immediately after exercise, the best way to supplement glycogen is to drink a training shake as soon as you finish your workout.
As expected, studies found that post-workout supplementation of carbohydrates with protein also replenished glycogen stores to a greater extent, compared to carbohydrates alone. Carbohydrates have also been shown to reduce post-workout muscle pain the following day, compared to no carbohydrate intake after a workout.
Try to consume 0.2-0.4 grams of carbohydrates per 0.5 kg of body weight after training. This number depends on your caloric intake, goals, intensity / duration of exercise, etc.
2. Drink more water
Water is probably the most important nutrient your body needs – it plays a key role in digestion, absorption, transport and utilization of nutrients. Water is also responsible for energy production and joint lubrication.
It is common that after intense training you lose a considerable amount of water through sweat. 2% weight loss caused by water loss can lead to diseases associated with overheating and in some serious cases even death.
Most people do not consume enough water because they rely on the mechanism of thirst. However, this is not a good indicator, because by the time you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Therefore, if you want to improve performance and regeneration, it is recommended that you consume at least 2 glasses of water before your workout and another 2 cups of workout, for every half pound you could lose through sweat.
Adequate fluid replacement after exercise has been shown to improve regeneration and performance in subsequent periods.
Try to consume about 500ml of water when you are close to training, plus another 500ml of water for each hour of exercise. This number should be increased if you exercise in a hot or humid environment.
Massages are a regeneration strategy for many, especially in sports. While massages are a very common practice in regeneration, so far there has been surprisingly little research into the effectiveness of massages.
In one study, researchers examined the effects of massage on muscle regeneration in basketball and volleyball athletes. All athletes participated in three difficult days of intense strength training in the gym to maximize muscle damage and pain.
However, one group received a massage on the third day and another did not. The researchers then looked at the degree of perceived pain, as well as the performance of high jump and short distance running.
The results showed that 17% of participants in the control group experienced an increase in pain levels, while 80% of participants in the massage group experienced a decrease in pain after receiving the massage.
Regarding the vertical jump, the control group did not show any changes in the test reports before and after, but the massage group had a reduced sprint time.
Massages can be beneficial to improve muscle soreness, increase blood and lymph circulation, and also to provide extra blood to areas that lack blood, such as tendons and ligaments.
Remember, a massage does not mean you have to hire a professional. Now you can do the massage yourself, also using aids like foam rollers.
4. Casein protein at bedtime
While many people consume protein after exercise to increase muscle protein synthesis and regeneration, they forget about another important thing before bed.
There have been theories that by consuming protein at bedtime, you can increase muscle adaptation and regeneration even ahead, because protein provides a constant supply of amino acids while you sleep, along with reducing protein breakdown, which can occur during long starvation at night.
A group of researchers tested this, provided 16 young healthy men with an intensive training protocol and monitored the anabolic response during the day. These researchers then provided one group with 40g of casein protein at bedtime and another 40g with placebo powder.
The results showed that the group that consumed casein for sleep induced protein synthesis in the muscles 22% higher compared to the control group, which is a key mechanism for muscle growth and regeneration.
Along with helping your muscle regenerate, protein is added while you sleep a great strategy to increase your total daily protein intake, which will promote forward regeneration and reduce ONBS.
The importance of adequate sleep for muscle regeneration cannot be exaggerated and is one of the best tips provided in this article. Research has shown that when you sleep, you weaken your cognitive, immune and hormonal functions.
While cognitive functions are not associated with regeneration, your immune and hormonal functions play integrative roles in cell repair, removal of toxins and waste material, along with the growth of new cells.
The two key anabolic hormones that are regulated by sleep are testosterone and growth hormone. Insufficient sleep has been shown to lower testosterone levels, affect your natural growth hormone production and increase cortisol.
All of these factors are the clear opposite of what you want when you are trying to gain new muscle, reduce ONBS, and optimize regeneration.
To maximize testosterone and growth hormone production while improving muscle regeneration, make sure you have at least 7-8 hours of sleep overnight and occasionally when you are on a diet, training hard, training several times a day, or generally poorly regenerated, and more.
Many different factors affect muscle regeneration, fortunately, most of them are under your control and are easy to repair.
To optimize muscle regeneration and performance, try these top five tips:
Consume protein + carbohydrates after trainingDrink at least 2 glasses of water before and after trainingTreat yourself to a massage to quickly reduce pain and increase performanceConsume casein protein at bedtime to maximize gains during the nightBe sure to indulge in 7-8 hours of sleep each night
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