In every gym there is an old man who passes on the secret of muscle building to young athletes. You probably heard it: "You don't build muscle in the gym. You build muscle outside of the gym."
The wisdom behind this proven advice is based on a basic understanding of the muscle building process: a healthy balance between breaking down and rebuilding, training and recovery.
When we exercise, we lose muscle, which triggers a natural repair process that leads to muscle growth. We apply a short period of intense stress to send the signal to our body that it needs to strengthen this area while it is in a state of recovery – the time when growth actually takes place.
We show up in the gym and attack. Our workouts like warriors. Then after the workout is finished, we throw our protein shake back after workout, shower and try to eat and sleep to grow.
But is it really that simple? Does the human body really change from a muscle-stressing to a muscle-building state as soon as we have finished our training?
Here is the truth
It is likely that you are sending the wrong signals to your body. those who indicate that you are not ready to grow.
You read that correctly. And even after you get in your car and start the rest of your day, it's likely that your body is still in that stressed state, not the state you want to relax and grow in.
These conditions are regulated by the autonomic nervous system (ANS), an old and fundamental governor of everything from your hormones to your digestion to your heart rate and almost everything else that happens in your body without you thinking about it .
So, let's take a trip back in time to ancient humanity, long before barbells and dumbbells. I don't know what you do for a living, but where we go there are only two professions: hunter and gatherer. Pay does not die and the survival of the human species is right on your shoulders. No pressure!
To help you with your task, you are equipped with many automatic physiological systems that are controlled by your ANS. This means that your vital body functions are carried out without you having to think about it. And that's a great thing! It frees your awareness of navigating the world around you without having to think about doing things like heartbeat or digestion of your food.
One day in life …
If you leave the security of your cave in the morning, you will immediately find yourself in a situation where you are either trying to find something to kill and eat can, or vice versa, get away from something that is trying to kill and eat you.
This is the time when the ANS of course switches to the likeable side that is most associated with the "fight or flight" state. In this state, your breathing speeds up, your blood sugar level rises, your heart rate rises, blood circulation shifts from your digestive system to your muscles and your reproductive organs are deactivated.
Basically, your autonomic nervous system turns off systems that you don't need and systems that you don't activate.
When the hunt is over and you have your woolly mammoth ribs in Fred Flintstone style, return to your cave, the place of security. Your heart rate and breathing slow down, your blood sugar drops and your digestive system comes online again.
Maybe you met someone special out there mammoth hunting, and now you are ready to use your reproductive system! All of these things are working now because your autonomic nervous system has gone into a parasympathetic state, also known as a "state of rest and digestion."
This is the condition in which your body can use the food you have eaten to repair the tissue you have used. That happens for you as a caveman, of course. This is because your environment has changed. You are in a safe place where your body can relax and grow.
What a great day to be an old person! Your autonomic nervous system is perfectly matched to the life you live. It fills you with energy and strength when you are in danger, and allows you to digest, heal, grow, and relax when you are in a safe place.
Now back to today …
Modern life has changed completely, but your body? It is the same make and model as your old ancestors. It expects external stimuli (like a tiger) to put it in a fighting or flight state, and external stimuli (like the safety of your cave) into a state of calm and digestion. But we don't have the same charms in modernity, do we?
No, today we are constantly put in a state of combat or flight by things like traffic, deadlines, confrontations with strangers on the Internet, news, job interviews and all the other stress factors that modern life brings with it. We even invite the outside world into our bedrooms with these amazing modern devices called smartphones.
Psychologically, all of these things put us in the same state as if we had to flee a predator. This article you read about an upcoming recession was like inviting a tiger into your cave.
Therefore, the sympathetic nervous system is habitually activated and puts us in a habitual "fight or flight" state rather than the parasympathetic state that we need to be active to promote recovery and growth.
And that's how we live our day. It is no wonder that when we go to work and go to the gym we are exhausted. So what do we do? We take a stimulant before training and chemically induce an increased combat or flight condition.
I'm not saying that we should never do this. We have to get through the workouts; But too much caffeine and the stress of the day prevent you from fully benefiting from the parasympathetic state of rest and digestion that we depend on for muscle growth.
Instead of being in a state of growth all day long (except for when we work out in the gym, we are in stress for most of the day. Then we work out.
And when we finish these workouts, our bodies process it Caffeine may end up being hours later, which means that no matter how good your protein shake is, no matter how perfect your diet is, if your body is not in the right condition to digest and use it, you are not really getting the maximum Get benefits you could get if you were in a state of digestion and digestion.
Turning on dormant and digestion conditions
How can we control this? How do we adapt our cave bodies to life in the 21st century
Well, you might be surprised to know that conscious breathing allows you to take control of your condition from top to bottom. Yes, the way you breathe sends signals to your autonomic nervous system. By changing your breathing, you can change your state.
This means that you can change your state of fight or flight, a naturally catabolic state, to a state of rest and digestion – a naturally anabolic state – by using breathing exercises designed for such an effect.
Try the following breathing exercise. Use it at the end of each workout before taking a shower. It usually takes about five minutes, but you can keep going for up to 10 minutes to make sure you get the maximum effect.
Here's what to do
- Find a spot near a wall. ] Place your feet on the wall with your knees bent at a 90 degree angle. (A plyo box would work too. You just want your spine to be in a neutral position.) Close your eyes, make calm and relaxing music when you can, and focus only on your breathing.
- Use nasal breathing, focus on lengthening your breaths and bringing them to your stomach. Avoid breast breathing. Breathe slowly through your nose.
- Start controlling your breaths. Each inhalation should last four seconds and each exhale eight seconds. This takes some practice, but over time this should be a relaxing exercise.
- Continue this breathing pattern for five minutes: inhale through your nose for four seconds, exhale through your nose for eight seconds. (Exhaling through your mouth is fine too, but you always want to breathe in through your nose.)
Ideally, your heart rate will return to your resting heart rate and you should feel a sense of calm, which means that you can you are no longer in a fighting or fleeing state and are now in a state of rest and digestion.
When you're done, take a shower, drink your protein shake, and enjoy knowing that you've told your inner caveman you're out of danger and ready to repair and grow.
Pay attention to your condition for the rest of the day. Are you breathing through your mouth and chest as if you were involved in a fight?
If so, take a deep breath, relax, and return to the breathing exercise described above. Take control of your condition to take full advantage of all the hard work you've put into your training.
Repair your breathing, build more muscle
Focus again with box breathing