It sounds counterintuitive that you would want to break down your muscle fiber. But that’s what you need to do to shift your chassis into overdrive. In repairing tears, your body builds stronger muscles, as if to say, “Oh, yeah? Well let’s see you try that again.”
Do not, however, expect the rebuilding process to gain ground without other mechanics.
“If you want to build muscle, you need a calorie surplus,” says Dulce McMillon, manager of Fit in 42 Palm Springs.
That does not mean you can load up on doughnuts in the morning and chow down a bowl of gelato before climbing into bed. Quality and timing matter. McMillon recommends consumption of protein and complex carbohydrates 60 to 90 minutes before a weight-lifting session and 30 to 60 minutes afterwards — though the window of time can be longer and still be beneficial.
“After a session, you should have 20 to 25 grams of whey protein [available in a powder typically used for protein shakes], then within an hour a solid meal with a carb and protein,” McMillon says. “Whey protein has the amino acid leucine for muscle recovery.” As for the carbohydrate, she adds, “You want something like oatmeal, rice, beans, or potatoes.”
McMillon further suggests branch-chained amino acid supplements during a training session when blood flow to muscles is optimized. BCAAs may reduce fatigue and aid in recovery. Primed and fueled, your body shop needs time to do its job.“Typically, if you are looking to gain muscle, allow your body 48 hours to recover,” McMillon says. “Repair takes place when you eat and sleep.”
What better rewards are there for effort than eating and sleeping?