Posted 2 years ago

You can only train as hard as you recover

Are you constantly tired because you go to bed late? Are you training so much in the gym that you’re always sore when going into your sessions?

Tiredness and constant muscle soreness are both indicators of poor recovery – importantly, what many fail to realise is that recovery is absolutely critical to achieving your physique goals.

The importance of sleep

If I were to ask you to go to bed earlier, your first thought would probably be ‘no chance’. However, if I were to tell you that not getting enough sleep and/or getting poor-quality sleep would negatively impact your ability to add muscle mass or drop body fat, I’m confident you’d change your thought opinion.

You can look for the best protein powder or the best supplements to help you progress, but the number one thing that will make a difference will be your willingness to set a bedtime and be strict with your pre-bed routine.

Here’s how I would recommend you go about it:

Firstly, set a bedtime that will allow you to spend a minimum of 8-8.5 hours in bed. If you are training hard – which if you’re reading this you will be – your body is going to need this amount of time of rest to recover from your session; in addition, it will allow you to be ready for your next one too.

Secondly, make sure that in the 1-1.5 hour before bed you are doing something relaxing, to help the body prepare for sleep. No phones, no work – allow yourself to switch off an unwind. In doing so, you’ll help the body get into an anti-stressed state which is essential for falling asleep, staying asleep, and getting a good quality of sleep.

Muscular recovery
We have all fallen trap of thinking that “more is better” but trust me – when it comes to training and recovery, this does not apply. In fact, if you’re always feeling sore, it could be that you are doing too much. As such, constant soreness is your body’s way of telling you it’s struggling to recover.

So, what can you do?

In this case, my first suggestion would be to strip back your training volume and get the “most from the least” or performing the minimal effective dose of training. By this, I specifically mean doing the least amount of sets you need to continue to grow and get stronger.

You could also be strategic with your days off: for example, you could place them before the most energy-demanding training sessions, such as a lower body day. If you combine this with adequate sleep, your strength and performance in the gym will skyrocket.

In summary, if you have always thought that “more is better” and that “sleep is for the weak”, I would strongly advise you reassess your thought processes.

From personal experience – having applied this to myself and to my clients – I can certainly say that I am the strongest I’ve ever been, and that it’s all down to the emphasis I place on: sufficient and good quality sleep; minimal effective dose of training volume; and strategic planning of my training week.

If you’d like to know more about doing less volume in the gym and how to improve your sleep quality be sure to watch the physique formula where I cover this in greater detail.

Vaughan Wilson Bsc Hons