I have been doing a lot of reading about bodybuilding these past few months.  One thing I read says that if you want to be a professional bodybuilder that it must take over your whole life.  You must spend all your time either eating, sleeping or training. Anything else you do with your time will only detract from your goal. I scoffed at this when I first read it because you figure that you sleep 9 hours or so and you work out for maybe 1 hour and that leaves 14 hours left for eating.  I am eating a lot, but 14 hours seems excessive, even if you chew every bite 20 times (as I try to do).  Well, now I know, from experience, that you actually have to spend a lot more than 9 hours resting, even if you’re not asleep.  The reason why is that you create so much cortisol when working out so hard all the time, that you cannot afford to do anything else strenuous or stressful, at all.  You just don’t have it in you to handle it.  Unfortunately, life does not cooperate with that plan and strenuous, stressful things still get thrown at you every day.  And you end up feeling exhausted.

Another thing I read was that taking days off from training is just as important as the days you spend training.  This sounded ridiculous.  I figured that if you want muscle fast, then you better spend as much time training as possible and as little time sitting around not training as possible. Right?  I also read that working out for longer than 45 minutes at a time raises cortisol levels too high (which really taxes the immune system and recovery ability of muscles).  High cortisol levels are not good, I thought, but maybe this number didn’t apply to me, since I felt so good.  I was doing routines that were 90 minutes to 2 hours long every day and looking into training plans where you work out twice a day. I felt so great right after my workout (lots of endorphins) that I couldn’t imagine how it could be bad to do it more.   I never took off more than 1 day in a row and I tried to limit days off to 1 day a week (although I often found myself forced to take off 2 days in a 7 day period, which really bothered me).

You may have guessed that what I’m getting at is that those things I read were right and I was wrong to ignore them.  Now that it’s been almost 90 days that I’ve been bodybuilding, I have hit a wall.  It felt like a really hard brick wall (possibly with spikes or something on the surface) and it left me feeling totally beat up and torn down.  I have been completely exhausted and I contracted head cold-like symptoms (runny nose and sore throat) that kept coming and going for the past week or so.  I finally took a couple days off and got lots of rest (and a massage) and I feel so much better now.

I also added L-Glutamine to my smoothies and that seems to be making a huge difference (I felt better right after the first one). Do your own research on this amino acid.  All I will say is that it is plant-based and helps the body recover.  (I’m not going into it too much, because I really want to encourage you to do your own research on stuff like this before you add it to your diet).

So I have learned the value of resting.  I am going to be more careful to schedule rest breaks in my weekly work out routines and to not work out for longer than 45 minutes at a time.  I am also going to reduce the strenuous, stressful stuff in my day that occurs outside the gym.  This may mean that I socialize less so that I can have more time to rest.  It definitely means that I will do more yoga and meditate on compassion, peace and muscle growth every day.  I hope you will join me!


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