Rest and Recovery

The Lifter Rest

Here is our second important word when talking about bodybuilding. We have seen in a previous article that bodybuilding without a good diet will cause little or no results at all.

If many have problems with their diet, others won’t have the same concern.

Their training is good, their diet is strict but they don’t get results. They even use different high-intensity techniques and eat correctly but still, they don’t reach their goal.

In fact, the third parameter less famous but yet to be considered for full optimization of your workout is rest.


Besides bodybuilding, it is the number one humans’ ‘bullshit’. It is often believed that doing more will lead to have better results. And I think that the best example is at school.

Many students think that if they revise non-stop until the last minute, they will have more chance to know everything by heart. The problem is that such a thing often leads to burnout and the day of the exam you won’t even remember what you’ve learned.

There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to replicate what you have studied for weeks and even months.

Bodybuilding is the same. You want to go to gym every day because you think that the more you do, the bigger you get! This is a great way to kill your motivation.

Your body is a machine that needs to rest, but above all, you must know your body.

How our Muscles Work

What’s my point? before driving a car, you learned how to drive! Well it’s exactly the same with your body. You need to learn how it works before using it.

What you need to know is that your muscles recover and grow during rest, not during your workout! Already knew that? It’s definitely not the case for everybody.

I was the first one to believe that our muscles were built by going to gym. This is not quite wrong, but this isn’t true either.

Muscle FibersMuscles are made up of thousands of muscle fibers (several types: red, white and pink) – these are actually small size cells.

I will not go into technical details but when you lift a weight, those fibers will be used (not all of them) depending on the weight. During your workout, these fibers will shrink to allow the contraction of your muscles. Somehow, these fibers are going to break, it is the destruction of your muscle fibers.

Muscles have an incredible genetic memory. After several workouts, your muscle fibers will want to overcome this destruction and this daily effort. They will repair through your diet and when you rest.

Your muscles will adapt to this stress and increasingly grow recruiting more fibers leading to a gain of muscle mass.

So, if you train your muscles every day, they will never have time to recover and thus to rebuild and grow.

This is also a reason why you should avoid training the same muscle on two consecutive days to allow enough recovery time. In general, you should rest from 24 to 72 hours but this can go beyond depending on the intensity of your workouts (if you use high-intensity techniques for example!).


As I said before, it is necessary that you train through cycles. It is particularly recommended to take 1 or 2 weeks break between two different programs.Cycle

I understand that you are not really excited to stop even for a small period of time. You think that you’re going to lose everything and it is a very normal feeling. I hesitated before making a break in my training.

But yet, I assure you that after one week of rest, you are generally bigger muscularly speaking. My friends surprised me a few times by telling me that I got bigger whereas I was just going back to gym after a rest period.

I can also assure you that you will be stronger when going back to gym after your break. Your muscles would be fully recovered and ready to move mountains. The feeling is really nice because a heavy bar will seem lighter than usual. You will feel the power within you.

Injuries Injury

That part is fairly obvious though not really followed by everyone. If you are injured, you should immediately stop your workout in order to prevent further injury.

Then you have to take a rest, as long as you need, it is very important. If you go back to gym before complete healing, your muscles will not have had time to fully recover and you will always have this little pain when lifting weights.

I went back to gym several times with this little pain, and it was a mistake. Pain tells you that you have not fully recovered. So you are not as strong as usual and performances are largely altered (the little discomfort in your muscle).

If only this was that easy!

You will probably aggravate the injury and not being able to go to gym for a long time. So take the time to heal.


This is the last paragraph of this article. We discussed the different types of rest you should consider when doing bodybuilding. The most important and my favorite, is sleep.

Getting back to people who don’t have results, sleep is an important parameter not really taking into consideration. You can have the best program in the world, the best diet, but if don’t really sleep at night; you will not reach your goals.

This parameter is actually the least obvious of the three (training, nutrition and rest).

Someone who wants to fully achieve its objectives (mass, getting lean, especially getting stronger) should have from 7h to 9h of sleep per night. But when I talk about sleeping, I don’t talk about going to bed at 3h in the morning and wake up at 10h!Sleeping

For the most effective sleep, you need to go to bed early. From 21h to 22h30 it’s pretty good, but after than that it’s getting late.

Me for example, I go to bed around 20h30 to 22h (max) and I wake up at 6h20. Sleep has always been my strong asset and one of the keys to my success to gain mass. Your lifestyle will impact a lot on your body.

If you are tired, you will have less strength and therefore lift lighter than usual. So do not forget that sleep is the ally of ‘bodybuilders’.

Final Word

As you can see, results in bodybuilding are a combination of three inseparable elements: training, nutrition and rest. It is often said that 70% of your results are in your plate. I’d rather go with nutrition 40%, training 35% and rest 25% of your results so do not forget any of them.

Rest Well dear lifters, you’ve earned it!

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