The more we exercise during a workout the greater the muscle catabolism (degradation); it’s one of the reasons why we actually become weaker as we progress through a particular routine. How quickly muscles degrade also depends on the strength of the individual and the intensity of the exercise.
After any workout routine, the muscles need to replace all elements lost. Both proteins and energy stores need replacing for muscles to make a full recovery. But if muscles are not given enough time to recover fully before another workout is repeated then the muscles progressively become smaller. What this could mean for weight loss is a gradual decline in lean tissue, thus lowering the metabolism over the course of a few weeks.
A lowered metabolism could be disastrous for a dieter because less calories are burned overall, meaning they must either lower calorie intake even further (not always recommended) or burn more energy through more exercise which will only exasperate the problem. This can be another cause for the common weight loss plateau for those who do exercise regularly. Our muscles calorie burning potential can only help us lose weight if they are allowed to reach their fat burning potential; this is the reason why recovery between workout routines is so important.
To help muscles recover there are a few tricks we can use :
- Do not lower calorie intake below 1500 per day
- Eat a little high quality protein at most meals
- Get plenty of sleep
- Try to rest a day between hard workouts
- If new to exercising try to train every other day rather than two consecutive days in a row
As fitness levels grow its possible to increase the number of training days in a week and still be able to recover within a day. Another reason why we should all start off any routine slowly and attempt to build up gradually!