Overtraining leads to muscle waste and stunted growth. Yet most bodybuilders fail to understand why full recuperation is so important for building muscle.
Numerous metabolic variables affect growth; nevertheless, there are a couple of simple biological principles:
1) Growth occurs due to anabolic stimulations, such as those that are caused by hormones or growth factors, during exercise.
2) Growth is suppressed by high metabolic stress, such as occurs with the accumulation of reactive free radicals and damaged proteins in muscle tissue.
On the cellular level growth is tightly controlled by special proteins known as ubiquitins. They play a pivotal role in regulating two critical steps in the cell cycle, a process that underlies all growth, renewal and repair actions. Ubiquitin tags, or binds to, cellular proteins that inhibit growth. By tagging those proteins, known as APC (anaphase-promoting proteins), the ubiquitin enables a large enzyme called proteasome to destroy the growth-inhibiting proteins and thereby free the cell to continue to the next step (anaphase), and growth finally occurs.
The ubiquitin proteolic system destroys old or damaged proteins to allow synthesis of new ones; however, that system may be overwhelmed by high levels of free-radical toxins and damaged proteins in muscle tissues, such as those caused by overtraining or deficient diets. Without optimum recuperation time and sufficient intake of essential nutrients, as well as antioxidants, repair and growth can be suppressed.
So the idea of 'train, eat, grow' works, but in practical terms it should be 'train, eat, rest, supplement and grow'and the supplementation should include antioxidants. Here are some suggestions:
Do not overtrain. Give your body the time it needs to recuperate from intense exercise by taking off one to two days per week. If you feel constantly fatigued, take three to five days off, and always try to sleep seven to nine hours each night.
Eat well. Your diet should supply all essential nutrients, vitamins, minerals, EFAs and amino acids in sufficient amounts. An effective growth-promoting nutrition plan should include complete protein, about one gram per pound of bodyweight; vegetables, grains, legumes and nuts; daily calories that add up to about 30 percent above maintenance; an essential fatty acids supplement (two to four tablespoons or six to 12 capsules per day); and fruits such as berries, kiwis, oranges and apples to increase antioxidants, which can help reduce the metabolic stress and shorten recuperation time.
Supplement with antioxidants. Choose the most powerful ones, such as vitamin C with bioflavonoids (3,000 milligrams), vitamin E (mixed tocopherols, 800 I.U.), vitamin A (retinyl palmitate, 5,000 I.U.), CoQ10 (30 milligrams) and lipoic acid (50 to 100 milligrams).
Note: There's a potent new antioxidant compound patented by Quantum Nutrition Labs, known as DHLA (dihydrolipoic acid). It's the world's most bioactive form of alpha lipoic acid. Unlike alpha lipoic acid, however, DHLA can quench every known free radical in living cells, according to Dr. Robert Marshall, the creator. DHLA also regenerates or recycles all major antioxidants, including CoQ10, glutathione and vitamins E and C. Furthermore, it's been shown to dramatically boost ATP levels in muscle tissue, which can further promote muscle growth. For more information call Quantum Nutrition Labs at (888) 253-1840.
Editor's note: Ori Hofmekler is the author of the books The Warrior Diet and Maximum Muscle & Minimum Fat, published by Dragon Door Publications (www.dragondoor.com). For more information or for a consultation, contact him at [email protected], www.warriordiet.com or by phone at (866) WAR-DIET.