The 3 WORST Workout Routine Mistakes (Part 2 - Recovery)


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The 3 WORST Workout Routine Mistakes (Part 2 - Recovery)

You're back! Welcome welcome...

 

If you're just starting to read this series, you can go back and read part 1 later. It's not a prerequisite for this section of the 3 part series.

 

So, back to it. We're talking about the 3 WORST Workout Routine Mistakes that are killing your results. Can I tell you a quick story?

 

When I was in Marine Corps Bootcamp my Drill Instructors nicknamed me...

 

Fallopian Tubes...

 

I remember it like it was yesterday.

 

It was our first strength test, and part of the USMC strength test is pull-ups, which is not my strong suit.

 

I stepped up to the pull up bar with where the DI was staring at me like he hated every inch of my being. I knew I had to give it everything I had.

 

As it turned out... everything I had was 3 pull-ups. I tried my best for a fourth but it wasn't in me. I finished with a loud "This recruit is done, sir!" I can recall the look of disappointment on the DI's face right before he screamed...

 

"3 F'ing pull-ups recruit!? Get the back of the line... Shake out your little fallopian tubes... AND TRY IT AGAIN!"

 

Another drill instructor heard the commotion and screamed, "Hurry up fallopian tubes!"

 

And from that point on, the nickname stuck...

 

I was now 'Recruit Fallopian Tubes' for the next 3 months.

 

As you can imagine... I was thrilled with my new nickname...

 

You see, I was 6'6", but I only weighed 176 pounds. I was scrawny. After they shaved my head and threw me on the firing range, I looked like someone gave Earthworm Jim an M16. Let's just say I wasn't exactly the most terrifying sight the enemy was going to see.

 

When I finally checked into my permanent unit after bootcamp, 1st FAST Co., I was determined to get bigger, stronger, and faster. After all, FAST was known for being a group of physical specimens, and I didn't exactly fit the bill.

 

So I got to work. My philosophy at the time... Work Harder, Not Smarter.

 

I was running 30 to 50 miles per week. 

 

I was lifting in the gym 2 hours a day.

 

I was taking every supplement I could get my hands on. 

 

And after 6 months, when I went to get my measurements redone, guess how much progress I had made?

 

Zero. Zilch. None.

 

I still weighed under 180 lbs. I could barely do 5 pull-ups. And worst of all, my run time was actually getting slower because my body felt like crap.

 

I felt exasperated and discouraged.

 

I thought, "maybe I just don't have the genetics..."

 

I watched other guys put in half the effort I was putting in, and they were getting significant gains consistently. I just couldn't figure it out.

 

I felt like giving up. I hadn't put on a single pound of muscle, and my whole body felt like it was falling apart from the herculean effort I was putting into getting bigger, stronger, and faster.

 

That's when I talked to my buddy, LCpl Proctor. He started out in a similar place, but he was getting incredible results. I asked him what his secret was, and he gave me some of the best advice I ever got.

 

"Justin, you need to spend less time going hard and more time relaxing. After I work out, I just eat a burrito and sleep the rest of the day."

 

I figured I'd give it a try since nothing else was working. 

 

12 months later, I had put on almost 55 pounds of muscle. I was quickly becoming one of the bigger and stronger guys in my unit. And it was entirely because of my focus on recovery.

 

That's how I learned the power of giving your body time to recover.

 

The problem was I had a workout routine, but I didn't have a recovery routine, and that was absolutely destroying my results. 

 

I'm telling you this story because I don't want you to make the same mistakes I did. I want you to get the maximum benefit from your time working out. And to do that, you MUST focus on recovery.

 

Exercise Makes You Weaker, Recovery Makes You Stronger

 

This is critical to understand, so I'm going to repeat it, exercise makes you weaker RECOVERY makes you stronger.

 

Here's how getting leaner, stronger, and faster works in a nutshell.

 

  1. Workout (Lifting weights, plyometrics, sprinting, etc...)
  2. During a strenuous workout, your muscle tissue breaks down.
  3. You get proper sleep and eat appropriately.
  4. Your body recovers during step 3 and "overcompensates" for the damage, and you go into your next workout stronger than before.

 

That's pretty much the whole game when it comes to improving your fitness. If you fail to achieve any of the first three steps, you WILL NOT IMPROVE. 

 

Most people don't fail in steps 1 and 2. They fail in step 3. And when you fail at step 3, you actually get weaker. Your body never gets the chance to rebuild. In the end, this results in means your body either gets worse or stays the same.

 

That's why I didn't get stronger in my "fallopian tube" days. All I did was break my body down. It wasn't until I started focusing on my recovery that I got any significant results. 

 

I know life gets crazy. Life is constantly giving you reasons to stay up later or get up earlier. But if that comes at the cost of your recovery it's time to go back to the drawing boards.

 

Your health is your most valuable asset so do what you have to do to maintain it, and that means you need to focus on your workouts AND your recovery. You don't have to like it, but you do have to do it... if you want to see results.

 

How To Recover Properly

 

You're probably wondering, "How do I ensure I'm recovering properly? What do I need to do?"

 

If you google workout recovery, you'll instantly be overwhelmed with all the super-sciency-sounding stuff out there. But it doesn't have to be complicated. In fact, it shouldn't be complicated. Just keep it simple by ensuring you focus on the 3 primary components of recovery.

 

  • Refuel
  • Rehydrate
  • Rest

 

Refuel

Eating is one of the most commonly misunderstood and over-complicated components of recovery. Once again, you and I are going to keep it simple.

 

Here's what you need to do.

 

Eat immediately after your workout. This can be a shake, a meal, a bar, whatever you like. The important thing is to make sure you're getting enough carbohydrates and protein following your workout. 

 

For women, a good rule of thumb is:

  • 25-30g of carbohydrate 
  • 15-20g of protein

 

For men, a good rule of thumb is:

  • 40-50g of carbohydrate 
  • 20-30g of protein

 

You can check out these tried and true supplements after your workout if you want even better recovery.

 

The bottom line is to make sure you get enough of the nutrients you need throughout the day, but especially after your workout.

 

By refueling immediately after your workout, you'll reduce your soreness, recover more quickly, and you'll see significantly faster improvement in your strength and muscle tone.

 

Rehydrate 

 

Being dehydrated is an absolute killer when it comes to your recovery. If you're dehydrated, you can expect recovery to take much, much longer. You want your muscles and joints to be well hydrated, or you're going to take forever to get leaner, stronger, and faster.

 

By drinking 1/2 oz to 1 oz of water per pound of body weight, you'll give your body all the recovery-enhancing H2O it needs.

 

For example, if you weigh 140 pounds, you should be drinking 70 to 140 oz of water per day for optimal recovery and hydration.

  • 140 x .5 = 70
  • 140 x 1 = 140

 

Rest

 

This one is my Achilles heel. I've struggled with insomnia since I was a child. So before you start saying... 

 

"But Justin! You don't get it! It's so hard for me to get enough sleep!" 

 

Yes, yes, I do get it. But the bottom line is your body, and my body doesn't care what our excuses are. You need a certain amount of sleep, and the closer you can get to that amount of sleep, the better off you'll be.

 

I'm not your mother, so I'm not going to sit here and beat you over the head about getting to bed. But... get some sleep! 7-9 hours of sleep, to be exact. 

 

There are some great apps out there to help you get better sleep. I'm currently using an app called Rise, and I'm loving it. It's helped me better understand my sleep patterns and adjust my habits accordingly.

 

 

And that's pretty much it. You could make recovery more complicated, but for most of us, we've got enough to work on just getting the big 3 down. Remember, you're not trying to qualify for the Olympics, you're just trying to be healthy and fit.

 

Remember, If you put a little extra effort into your recovery habits, you will exponentially increase the benefit you receive from your hard work in the gym. 

 

If you don't, you'll continue to get frustrating results and wonder how it's possible to work out like you are and barely see the benefit.

 

As always, the choice is yours. But I'd recommend eating quality food, drinking water, and getting some sleep.


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