Muscle Building Principles: Train. Eat. Sleep. Repeat
Train. Eat. Sleep. Repeat. It’s a popular phrase that you’ve probably seen before on social media feeds, motivational memes, and on gym shirts and vests.
It is actually a pretty accurate summary of all the elements that go into building bigger, stronger muscles. But how sure are you that you’re getting the basics right?
The anabolic process in a nutshell
At the most basic level, weight training sessions at the gym break down muscle fibres. We then rebuild that muscle with adequate protein from food and supplements, sufficient rest between sessions and adequate sleep.
While that is a pretty accurate summary, there are important intricacies and nuances to this approach, and you need to nail each element in this process to get the best results.
The final puzzle piece: Sleep
While most people know how important sleep is to repair and rejuvenate your body, few get the type of sleep they need to support muscle recovery and growth.
Are you getting the right amount of quality sleep and sleeping for sufficient time each night?
Restorative sleep is a combination of quantity (7 to 9 hours a night) and quality. This should include sufficient time spent in the deep, non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep phase – between 60-90 minute a night.
A good night of sleep includes a series of 90-minute cycles. During each sleep cycle, your brain moves from non-REM sleep to REM sleep. While the duration of every subsequent sleep cycle remains constant at 90 minutes, the ratio of non-REM to REM sleep changes.
And it is the early stages between 8 pm and 12 am when you typically experience the most restorative sleep as this is when you generally get most of the deep non-REM and REM sleep you need to support the muscle repair and growth process.