By George L. Redmon, Ph.D., N.D.
When you consider the statement above by one of bodybuilding’s most accomplished participants, it implies that to reach your full growth potential, you need to also be doing something that is just as important— if not more important— than working out. In fact, according to Lee Labrada, “Recuperation is the factor with the biggest, most significant potential to help one reach the next level of muscular size and strength.”
Conversely, what the scientific literature tells us now is that if you don’t get adequate rest coupled with enough sleep, your body doesn’t fully recover from daily workouts. This aspect of non-adaptation, due to the micro-muscle damage and resulting inflammation followed by inadequate healing time, leads to what researchers refer to as being in a ‘perpetual under-recuperative state.’
To stimulate, build and repair muscle, you need to take a much more proactive approach toward recuperation. For example, after a workout, the body’s ability to bounce back from the inflammatory stress response can take up to 72 hours. That’s three days. In response to the time it takes to heal and readjust, this could take up to six weeks, depending on the extent of an injury.
It is the state of constant under-recovering from your workouts and/or injury that will limit your ability to build muscle and invariably lead to the development of other catabolic (muscle-wasting) factors. Additionally, without a well-planned recovery program, you will not only comprise your growth potential— you could also be compromising your overall health by overtaxing your system and perpetuating uncontrolled oxidative stress.
So instead of your driving force being no pain, no gain— let it be no rest, no gain!