4 Ways To Improve Your Gains In The Gym Without More Lifting
Building muscle is a balancing act. It's not just about hitting the gym, chugging protein, and waiting for #gainz. The momentum gained through a hustle-heavy gym session is only beneficial if it’s followed by an equally rigorous recovery. The actual, natural process of building muscle only happens after you put the weights down and allow the muscles to take the energy created during the workout and grow. Because lifting weights creates micro-tears in the muscles that will only heal once relaxed, it’s impossible for these muscles to grow if you're in the gym seven days a week, pumping iron and posting mirror selfies. Here are some of the ways that recovery is not only beneficial, but essential to your exercise routine.
Reduces Muscle Tension
Throughout any given workout, the connective tissue known as fascia that surrounds muscles, joints, and other structures in the body can become compressed, creating knots, scar tissue, and trigger points of tension. During the recovery time, it’s crucial to let these points of interest decompress, loosening up the fascia and thus reducing tension in the muscle. For an active recovery, this release can be aided by stimulating the fascia through processes like foam rolling or Myofascial Release, which... *cough cough cough* ... we offer at Myologic.
Increases Blood Flow
Improving circulation to overworked muscles is an important part of recovery. By stimulating new blood and synovial fluid to flow through the joints and muscles that have been stressed through lifting weights or active exercise, scar tissue is able to break up and new, healthy tissue can form. Ways to encourage circulation while in recovery include light aerobic exercises or cardio, as well as our signature mobile Cupping. You know, that weird thing you saw Michael Phelps do a bunch during the last Summer Olympics? It looks weird, yeah, but it works AND also it doesn't hurt.
It’s scientific law, according to the science police, that every action has an equal and opposite reaction. For recovery, stretching is the unavoidable, completely necessary counterpart to lifting weights (or any other exercise that engages the muscle). Regular stretching before and after exercising can increase the mobility of joints and muscles, create space for new growth, and reduce tension and scarring. Options for incorporating stretching into an active recovery include isometrics, resistance bands, and sports massages.
Recovery doesn’t stop with the physical. Just as the act of exercising and lifting weights is incredibly influenced by the psychological, so is recovery. (It's a fact that depressed bros don't life weights as effectively as hyped bros.) In order for you to go as hard as possible in the gym, on the field, or on the track - you must take time to recover from the mental gymnastics that exercising can require. This means getting adequate sleep, managing work-life stress in your daily life, and taking time out of your day to relax with things like yoga or a Deep Tissue Massage.