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Bulletin #143 – Supplementation & Rest Go Together

Getting enough rest and taking the right supplements are important ad-juncts to your fitness and health. There are different categories of rest. One quantifiable type is the rest interval between sets. How much time do you allow before commenc-ing the next set? A second type of rest is the rest interval between training sessions. How long before you train the same muscle again? Then there is sleep: how long do you sleep each night and are you getting enough quality sleep? Fi-nally, where in the “rest process” can you introduce supplements to opti-mize your progress? I’ll answer these questions for you in this column.  Rest Intervals Between Sets  Use different rest intervals between sets to elicit different muscular ef-fects. The length you choose will trigger a different physiological ef-fect.

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If you want to get cut-up and lean, you would naturally and cor-rectly gravitate towards a focused and fast-type of workout style. If your goal is to increase your muscle mass, you will need to increase your strength. Increased strength occurs when additional poundage is han-dled or more reps are performed. In order to handle heavier weight or perform more reps per set you need to be totally recovered from the previous set. Allow plenty of time between sets when you are tackling the big weights. Heavy, compound exercise movements, those which in-volve the movement of two or more joints to push the weight to com-pletion: i.e. squats, bench presses, rows, cleans, overhead presses, deadlifts, etc., will require more recovery time between sets than isolation exercises like curls or del-toid raises. Again, this is com-mon sense stuff but basic concepts need to be repeated periodically.   Here is where supplementation comes in: Weight training is in-credibly intense exercise and with-in seconds of the commencement of a heavy set, energy reserves are depleted and waste products begin to accumulate (1-4). Creatine phos-phate serves as an energy donor and helps to maintain the supply of ATP, the molecule used by muscles to power contractions.

ATP is rap-idly depleted and strength fades as a heavy set proceeds, muscular contractions soon stop altogether. During the rest interval between sets ATP and creatine phosphate stores are repleted. Supplementa-tion with Creatine Monohydrate™ can help the entire depletion-re-generation process as it increas-es intracellular Creatine pools(5-6). Supplement with our Creatine Monohydrate Formula™ and you will get a better training effect.  Rest between Training Sessions  What is the amount of time to rest between training sessions? Some people do best by training each muscle group once a week, but training it very hard. Others get better results by training a particu-lar muscle two or in some instances even three times a week. One key factor is your strength level. As you get stronger and lift heavier weights it takes longer to recover. Many ex-perienced bodybuilders like to train each muscle group once a week for this reason. Beginners do much better by training each muscle two or three times weekly. After all, a man who bench presses 500 for reps and does forced reps and negatives will need a lot longer to recover than a rookie handling 100×5 in the same exercise.

Like most ev-erything about training, variation is the name of the game. You could develop a two-day a week routine, a three-day routine, or a six-day routine. Variety is the spice of life and the way we keep progress-ing. Sameness equals stagnation.  Overtraining Is Really Under- nutritionOther questions are often asked of me, such as: When should I take a day off? What is the strategy behind rest and recuperation? What is the relationship between exercise, nutri-tion, rest and muscle growth? Gen-eralizations are dangerous since ev-eryone is different and circumstanc-es are never the same. In addition to weight training, a Parrillo-trained bodybuilder needs to do aerobics on a regular and systematic basis. Pre-contest bodybuilders will do aerobics twice a day in addition to regular weight training. This is a lot of work, particularly since we insist the athlete train intensely whatever the discipline. Our rule of thumb is that you should take off the least amount of days you need in order to recuperate. If you are eating properly and plentifully and getting plenty of sleep at night, you can train hard-er, longer, heavier and more often.

You hear a lot of talk on how to avoid over-training but often this is an excuse for laziness. Over training can be avoided if you take in lots of quality calories and get plenty of deep, restful sleep. In fact, at Par-rillo, if athletes think they are over-training, I advise that they up their calories rather than cut back on the weight training or aerobic activity. It is tough to make progress by exercis-ing less. If you are not making good gains and feel zapped and tired, try increasing your calories and adding another hour of sleep to your nightly allotment. Make sure you are training intensely enough to stimulate growth. What is intense enough? Pushing the envelope and upping poundage or weights every session. Push hard and make gains, then refuel and rest.  Muscle Characteristics & Recovery  Another key recovery factor is the characteristic of the muscle itself. Large muscles need more time to recover between workouts. Because big muscles are stronger, you can lift more poundage and are subjected to greater stress, you need longer to recover. You might find that your arms recover faster than your legs, for example. Or your triceps recover quicker than your lower back. Be aware of these muscular phenom-ena when scheduling your sessions.  Sleep and Stress IssuesAlways try to get enough sleep. If you are unable to sleep optimally, your recovery will suffer and you won’t be able to train each muscle group as frequently. Stress can be a definite detriment to recovery. Emotional stress is a very real factor as is illness. D

uring stress your body produces cortisol, which helps you through the stress but has the unfortunate side effect of breaking down muscle. Cortisol is a catabolic hormone that breaks down muscle tissue so that the protein can be used as fuel. Illness reduces your ability to recover as your body devotes its energy to fighting the sickness rather than re-pairing muscle tissue. If you have a cold and don’t feel too bad, then go ahead and train. But if you have a fever or are too sick to work take a few days off from the gym or do mild aerobics until you feel strong enough to weight train.  Recovery NutritionNutrition plays an absolutely cen-tral role in the recovery process. The foods you eat supply you with the building blocks the body needs to repair itself. If you are training intensely and getting enough sleep but not eating right, then your growth potential will be severely limited. You should be getting one to two grams of protein per pound of body weight every day for op-timal growth and recovery (7-10). Most bodybuilders use a protein supplement as the foundation for their nutritional program. We think the best protein on the market is our Hi-Protein Powder™ or Opti-mized Whey Protein™ or our new All-Protein™. Our whey protein is fortified with extra glutamine and branched chain amino acids. In terms of recovery and growth the two most important supplements are protein powder and Creatine Monohydrate™. Carbohydrates are required to maintain your muscle glycogen stores.

When muscle glycogen is depleted, strength and endurance drop off markedly (1-4). If you are no longer getting a good pump after a set, this is a sign that you are running low on glycogen. In this case, increase your carbs by using two to four scoops of Par-rillo Pro-Carb™ after your work-out. This is the perfect time to supplement with carbs as they will be stored as glycogen. Don’t forget to take your vitamins and minerals. I suggest six meals a day, spaced at regular intervals. Each meal should include a pro-tein source (such as lean chicken or turkey), a starch, and a fibrous vegetable. Good starches include potatoes, rice, beans, and corn. Stay away from simple sugars and refined carbohydrates such as pas-ta or bread. Metabolically, refined carbohydrates behave much like simple sugars. Also avoid milk and fruit, which are rich in sugars. Consult the Parrillo Performance Nutrition Manual for detailed in-structions. Adequate nutrition and sleep are two critical ingredients in achieving optimal recovery. Don’t be afraid to vary and ex-periment with your rest intervals and training frequency.


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3. Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, Thomas R. Baechle, editor, Na-tional Strength and Condition-ing Association, Human Kinet-ics, Champaign, IL, 1994.

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6. Greenhaff PL. Cre-atine and its application as an ergogenic aid. Interna-tional Journal of Sport Nu-trition 5: S100-S110, 1995.

7. Tarnopolsky MA, Mac-Dougall JD, and Atkinson SA. Influence of protein intake and training status on nitrogen bal-ance and lean mass. J Appl Physiol 64: 187-193, 1988.

8. Lemon PWR. Influence of dietary protein and total ener-gy intake on strength improve-ment. Sports Sci Exch 2, 1989.

9. Celejowa I and Homa M. Food intake, nitrogen, and en-ergy balance in Polish weight lifters during training camp. Nutr Metab 12: 259-274, 1970.

10. Laritcheva KA, Yalovaya NI, Shubin VI, and Shirnov PV. Study of energy expenditure and protein needs of top weight lift-ers. In: Nutrition, Physical Fit-ness and Health, eds. Pariznova J and Rogozkin VA, p. 155-163. University Park Press, Baltimore, 1978.

2018-03-13T11:10:24+00:00 July 30th, 2009|Technical Supplement Bulletins|

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