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Do's and Don'ts of Muscle Recovery - Cherrish Your Health

Do's and Don'ts of Muscle Recovery

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By Dr. Josh Axe, DC, DMN, CNS

July 17, 2015

[Below is my transcript of my video about muscle recovery, along with supplemental information on the topic.]

Today, I’m going to talk to you about the do’s and the don’ts of muscle recovery. Whether you’re trying to burn fat or build muscle, what you do in terms of exercise, diet and the time in between is crucial for how you burn fat and how you build muscle.

Muscle Recovery Don’ts

First, let’s start off with the don’ts. The No. 1 don’t in muscle recovery is don’t overtrain. Listen, your body needs rest to grow, but your muscles don’t grow when you’re exercising. They actually grow while you’re sleeping and resting and recovering. So don’t overtrain. You want to take off at least one day a week. For most people, you want to take off two days a week. Completely let your muscles rest.

The other big don’t is don’t consume a bunch of sugar and fast foods. If you’re addicted to sugar and consuming it regularly, it’s causing inflammation that’s going to slow down your recovery. The same thing goes for fast foods and hydrogenated oils, which both are going to trigger disease-causing inflammation. These are all foods to stop eating and will absolutely slow down your muscular recovery.

And the last don’t that you definitely don’t want to do or you want to skip? Don’t do a lot of isolated movements. If you are going to be building muscle, you want to do more of what we’re going to call compounding movements (see below).

Muscle Recovery Do’s

Now, here are the big do’s you want to do as you approach proper muscle recovery. The No. 1 thing you want to do is consume anti-inflammatory foods. You want to load up and get plenty of omega-3 fatty acids found in things like wild-caught salmon; you also want to get fish oil benefits from a supplement, plus consume chia seeds, flaxseeds, walnuts and grass-fed beef. Simply, get more omega-3 foods in your diet.

The second thing you must do for muscle recovery is get plenty of protein and amino acids. So many people today are not getting enough protein foods. You want to measure your bodyweight in pounds, and typically if you’re a male trying to build muscle, get that many grams of protein a day and at least get half of your bodyweight in grams of protein a day if you’re trying to build muscle.

Right after a workout, you want to get some good quality collagen amino acids and whey protein for health and strength. That’s ideal for muscle recovery right when you’re done working out. So really track your protein and amino acid intake.

The other thing you absolutely must do to improve muscle recovery and build muscle is doing compound movements with large muscle groups.

If you’re going to the gym and just doing a bunch of bicep curls and calf raises, that’s not going to build the maximum amount of muscles. You want to work your largest muscle groups, which include your legs and your back, as well as your chest and shoulders.

But you want to use the larger muscle groups and do full compounding movements — so things like squats with overhead press combined. Those sorts of exercises stacked together, and pull-ups where you’re using your entire body. These are the best types of exercises because you’re working your largest muscle groups, which is going to release the most human growth hormone, build testosterone naturally and help you recover even faster as well.

And last but not the least, get more fruits and vegetables in your diet. It’s easy when you’re trying to build muscle to say, “I know I need protein.” You also need the vitamins and minerals in fruits and vegetables. Aim for five to 10 servings of fruits and vegetables a day.

If you follow these do’s and don’ts, you absolutely will see improvements in your muscle recovery. 


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