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Since muscles grow when they are resting, has anyone got any tips, supplements or anything at all that will help my muscles grow more effectively during resting period?

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Do you even want steroids as an answer? –  Robin Ashe Oct 1 '12 at 3:03
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@RobinAshe Good question. I think we can generally accept that steroids will definitely achieve the goal of increased muscle growth. That said, I choose (thus far) not to use them, regardless of efficacy, for health & legal reasons. So, I guess let's leave steroids as a comment and out of the answers. –  Greg Oct 1 '12 at 4:03

2 Answers 2

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+100

Overview

Your supplements are called copious sleep, hydration (with milk if it's part of your diet, water if not), and food. You know--eggs, vegetables, olive oil, meat, butter, greens, starches.

Olympic lifting coach Greg Everett recommends walking, massage, self-myofascial release, and hot baths on rest days as well.

Beyond those, supplements are good primarily to make your wallet lighter, and thus easier to carry.

Details

Sleeping over 10 hours a night improved athletic performance. To quote Mah, Mah, Kezirian and Dement:

Optimal sleep is likely beneficial in reaching peak athletic performance.

Sometimes a very light workout is useful during a recovery day, but one's capacity for active rest intensity varies person-to-person, again according to Greg Everett:

Ultimately, you'll have to experiment to some degree to see what you can and can't tolerate. You may be able to get away with more than someone else, but most people need to keep their rest days super low intensity.

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Thanks for backing up the theory that I'm researching. The theory is that it really is as simple as doing basics properly and consistently. Everybody doesn't believe it's that simple, thus company's make millions selling products to people who believe it is more complex. –  Andi Apr 8 '12 at 22:27
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I think the Pareto principle applies here. 80% of results come from the basics. Chasing the last 20% might involve post-workout whey powder or supplemental vitamin D and magnesium, but the basics are far more important. –  Dave Liepmann Apr 8 '12 at 22:38

If we want to grow muscle, we need to give it a reason to grow.

This reason (ie the stimulus) can be a 185 lb bench press or a 400 lb bench press - it all depends on the person.

If the stimulus is not enough, we will not grow. If it is too much, we will not grow either. If it is just right, however, and we allow for proper recovery (sleep + nutrients), we will grow.

Make sure you are challenging yourself but no over doing it. When in doubt, keep the gas tank filled to 10-20%. Leave the gym stimulated; not annihilated.

Now we can be giving our body the right stimulus (ie right amount of training volume) but still not be growing.

What's up with that?

Well, exercise is stressful for the body. And depending on our overall stress load, it can be good or bad.

When we sleep 5 hours, spend the day drinking coffee, and then decide to do a 1.5 hr training session - this is BAD.

There is just too much stress for our body to develop a positive adaption.

In most cases, when people are not building muscle as fast as they want, they need to learn to manage all the stress outside the weight room so that body can focus on adapting to that one stressor (ie muscle damage).

So how to quiet all the other stress?

  • sleep enough
  • eat enough calories, sodium, and carbs, and dont restrict any macronutrients
  • make sure you are not deficient in vitamin/minerals ( most people, especially athletes, are deficient in zinc and magnesium)
  • manage psychological stress and avoid confrontational people
  • stay away from poisonous things (allergies)

RECAP:

1) Provide an acute stressor (exercise)

2) Cut down on all chronic stressors

3) Sit back and grow

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Indeed, stress management is important for growth & health! Thanks for the answer. –  Greg Oct 7 '12 at 15:06

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