Learn and grow through experiences


Strength Training

Why muscles grow during relaxation

Do you engage in strength training? Then you might feel me on the rookie mistake called “overtraining”. Why is it bad to work out the same muscle group too frequently? Let’s explore this one the ExperienceZone way.

It’s all about the balance

The ExperienceZone continent Sports & Relaxation already indicates the importance of mastering both ends of the scale. In my early twenties, I used work out my arms and chest every day. Like an sports addicted, I would develop a training program, which pushed me to my physical and mental edges every day. Bear in mind: Your brain can push your body forward. A strong will is key progress in any kind of sport. However, after months into my plan, I felt frustration creeping up in me. Why’s that? Well, I plateaued. In other words: I simply wasn’t able to make that last rep. Over weeks, the man in the mirror just didn’t got stronger visually anymore. What went wrong? Overtraining. This is what Google and experiences athletes told me.

It seems like your system needs time to rest. The regeneration time differs by level: Your vegetative system regenerates after a few seconds, your cardiovascular system requires some minutes, muscles needs 24-48 hours and your joints and bones can take the next workout after a couple of days. Of course, the regeneration times are a function of your training intensity.

How do you surf the tension-relaxation waves effectively?

Over the last decades, I discovered some die-hard rules. Applying them will ensure great training results and thus retained motivation to tackle the next workout:

  1. Set training objectives. It all starts with your goals. What do you want to accomplish? Do you want to increase your endurance, loose fat or gain muscles? For latter: Which kind of muscles do you want to build – small hard or voluminous ones? Mind the need for clarity about your end-state.
  2. Design a training plan. Develop your own program, which includes which muscle groups you want to train in which way and how often. Ensure enough time to rest in between. The relaxation window should stretch between 48 and 96 hours for each group. Vary the relaxation types, i.e. passive (e.g. chilling on your sofa) and active relaxation (e.g. lightly run after strength training).
  3. Start and observe yourself. Engage in strength training and listen to your body as you execute your training plan. Do you “feel” your muscles grow? I’m not kidding. The more you work out your body, the more aware you become of its transformation. Ensure to get enough sleep (at least 8 hours) as well as eat right (best case plant-based raw food).

Why can you eat more if you work out regularly?

Eating equals life-quality. Especially if the meal is well prepared. Many people rather listen to their palate than to their entire system. This often results in gluttony. I used to eat 4-5 times a day. My excuse: “Well, these are only small meals. Plus I’m training like a beast.” Was I right or wrong?

What happens in your body during physical exercises?

Motion requires energy. One source is nutrition. Focus on the appropriate food quantity at the right mealtime. Especially if you move every day. In case you want to get in shape through strength training, work every day different muscle groups. Also, you want to consider days off every now and then. Why’s that? If you exert muscles, you put them under stress. This causes growth since your body “thinks” it need to lift more weight or more often than before. Muscles can only increase their volume during relaxation. That’s why tension and relief or sports and relaxation always need to be well balanced. During your work-out your body transforms food in energy and thereafter it builds muscles. The higher your body’s muscle percentage in relation to fat, the higher your metabolic rate. The harder you train, the bigger the gain an the more your can eat. Yet burning fat and building muscles is a science and dependent on non-dietary factors too, such as the intensity of your training and regeneration. So you want to push your physical limits carefully. I found out that strength, balance, flexibility and endurance components in a very special relation work for me best.

Find the right training mix!

My daily program contains calisthenics, yoga and cross-fit elements. I usually train 10-20 minutes and always different muscle groups in alternating sequences. Slow-motion-style, which means maximizing the strain time. Though I do incorporate high-intensity pieces, such as burpees. What do you want to consider?

  1. Define your training goals. Do you want to become a lean leopard or a bulky beast? Your diet, exercises, weight, speed as well as number of sets and repetition is a function of your personal objectives. I recommend you to find a balance rather than going into the extremes. Believe me: I’ve been at both ends.
  2. Create a training plan. Your program needs to be divers and makes you move your boundaries. Humans are habitual beings. Yet if we don’t vary, we get bored. If we don’t push ourselves mentally, physical adaption sets in. The resulting plateau will dissatisfy you and lower your motivation.
  3. Take action and follow through. No matter how heavy you are. No matter if and which disease you’ve. No matter how busy you think you are. No excuses. Start where you’re, use what you’ve and do what you can. It takes 3 months or 100 days to cultivate a new routine. The earlier you begin to work out, the easier it is. The more you delay, the harder it is. Those are the ExperienceZone truisms we live by every day.

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