Progress in the weight room requires three things:
Each one requires the other. It doesn’t matter how hard you train if you don’t recover. It doesn’t matter how well you recover if you don’t train. And it doesn’t matter how consistent you are if you’re consistently shit. Everyone loves #1; that’s the fun part. But if you want to keep having fun, the other two need to be addressed.
Consistency is simple: Just keep doing the things that work and don’t stop. It may not be easy, but it is definitely simple. So for this article, we will address recovery.
What Really Matters?
Recovery can be broken down into a very hazy percentage analysis. I’d venture to guess somewhere in the 80-90% range of your total recovery ability comes from two things; eating and sleeping. The other 10-20% comes from the flashy shit, like rolling on butt-plugs or putting yourself in extreme temperatures for a while. This is the stuff some people really get off on, and all the power to you if you do, but there are plenty of big strong people who’ve never touched a foam roller, but not one of them eats like a mouse. Now, I’m not saying that stuff isn’t useful, but we need to remember where the bulk of our recovery ability comes from.
When people see the word diet, most immediately assume it is a temporary attempt to lose weight, when in fact by definition it is simply what you habitually shove in your face-hole. So we must look at it as a habit, not a temporary measure. Now, I’m not going to sit here and go over the minutia of diet, there are a million resources to find that sort of thing out and I’m no where close to qualified. I’m here to remind you, the novice trainee, that eating matters. A lot. You need lots of high quality food if you want to get stronger.
Think of it this way:
Every pound of muscle, bone, or sinew you develop has to come from somewhere, so if you want to look like Bill Kazmaier did, you’re going to need to eat a lot.
…And here is where EVERYONE fucks it up…
You may be sitting there thinking “Yeah, damn I need to eat more. I’ll start smashing food and get my calories way up.”
You can’t just hike your calories up out of nowhere and expect your body to know what to do with them. You need to build the metabolism to use those nutrients. So start by adding a little bit each week, consistently over a long period of time. This will allow your body to adapt and become more efficient.
Gee, that sounds familiar.
The next question is always the same:
“What should I eat?”
First and foremost – EAT FOOD. I know that sounds silly, but with such a rampant supplement market, we have thousands of people whose diets are a steady stream of protein shakes, BCAA powders, creatine and Nitrous Donkey Punch Formula-15. You need real, whole, nutrient dense foods and more water than you think. Foods like beef, fish, nuts, vegetables, and eggs. Milk is also great as long as you’re looking to get bigger. Liquid calories go in a lot quicker than solid ones.
There is always a silly debate going on over the internet around “clean food” vs “If it fits your macros.” And I get the debate; without it, many internet salesmen/women wouldn’t have anything to talk about, and people want a reason to eat junk food. But c’mon… we all know the answer to this. Eating healthier foods is always better than eating junk foods. There’s definitely a place for junkier foods, especially if you’re trying to get bigger – but healthy foods would still be better if you could stomach them. So as an aside: Learn to cook. Every human being should be capable of feeding themselves. Stop being a burden on those around you.
This is simple really; get lots of sleep if you are dedicated to getting bigger or stronger. The younger you are the less sleep you can get away with, but more is still better. No secrets or fancy tricks here. Try to get 7-8 hours of high quality sleep every night. I work a night job, so I therefore have to sleep during the day, and if there is construction or other excess noise outside, it directly affects my training the next day, so I know this is important.
This isn’t rocket appliances people, but it needs to be stated, especially for those who are new to the game. Recovery makes up a gigantic piece of the puzzle in the strength world, and when you can get your recovery dialed in consistently for long periods of time you will see the best progress by far. No supplement or toy compares to a hearty meal and a good sleep. Get consistent with the mundane and see the extraordinary progress to be had.
Grind. Evolve. Thrive.