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Pain means gain! More mean muscle! Train until you puke! Does this sound familiar? Does this sound reasonable? NO!

This is the hard core mentality which dictates injuries in abundance. Recovery is not taken seriously enough and is not recognized widely enough as part of the muscle gain process by enthusiastic young muscle worshipers. Recovery comes in many forms yet most of these forms are ignored by frequent weight lifters.

Rest comes in 3 forms when referring to weight training. There is rest between your exercise sets which can vary in time value depending on the style of training you are doing and the amount of intensity being used. Then there is rest that you take during your workout week, that day or 2 off which is needed for muscle rebuild and health. Last is active rest which is not really time-off per say, but rather a week from every 4 which allows you time away from the normal weight training. Active rest also helps to avoid plateaus by doing some different activities that you normally would not do. An active rests week is ideal for biking, hiking, a step class you normally don't take or maybe a drop in for a sport you have never tried. The active rest week helps shock the body to force ongoing gains. These forms of rest cannot be ignored if you want serious results.

Water which is not normally considered for recovery is actually a huge part of recovery. 8 glasses per day is a minimum that the governments dictate knowing most will barely get this amount in but you actually should be looking a 3/4 gallon or more per day if you are very active or take in excess caffeine's, sugars and processed foods. Water carries oxygen into your system which is very important toward muscle growth. Alike stretching which helps to bring oxygenated blood through to the muscles again enhancing the results of lean muscle gains. Stretching also prepares the muscle for the next time around and helps decrease muscle soreness the next day.

A supplement that is widely used for muscle recovery and rebuild is Glutamine. An average of 5 grams per shot taken 1-4 times per day is a great way to help your joints as well.

Proper sleep in proper amounts is the last recovery component. It amazes me how many people function off less than 5 hours sleep per night meanwhile 7 is already cutting it low. Body recovery in general needs proper sleep never mind those who are working hard in the gym as well. It may be hard to get into a proper sleeping pattern and a sleep diary will help with this as well as tactics such as chamomile tea, banana before bed or hot milk (latter 2 choices are not ideal if you are overweight). You may need to work with your doctor towards a healthy sleep pattern and lifestyle change may also be a factor but is well worth it as it can add years to your life not just help with fitness gains.

Remember, if you want to improve your fitness level, workout smart at the gym and give enough rest to your body.