In Part 1 we asked the hopeful question:

Unfortunately, those who hope that such things are true need to consider the limited resources of the human body. If you're unfamiliar with my "bricklayer" analogy, Part I is a must-read.

But where were we? Ah yes, I was writing a reality check for those who think they can train intensely six days per week so long as they eat over 5000 kcal per day. Here are some other systemic (whole body) points to consider:

So what do we do?

Baring obvious things like individual food intolerances and contraindications, here are some general guidelines for eating to increase the quality (not necessarily the speed) of recovery...

In a nutshell, we're attempting to improve the quality–not just the RATE–of recovery. If we eventually realize through careful recording that we can squeeze-in more volume during a meso-cycle, fine, but that's not our purpose.

Remember, since we're growing during the period outside the gym, not inside the gym, we want to avoid any impairment of gains during this recovery period. The worst thing we could do is go tear down a "building" (muscle) that we've just recently gotten under construction! We're in this for SIZE after all, boys and girls. Let the biological bricklayers do their thing. Even if you've "hired" extra bricklayers via androgen use or other supplements, let them work for an extra day rather than one too few; you'll be bigger for your effort. Try not to be daily-training-addicted or fearful of smallness; learn to stay out of the gym every other day if necessary! (I know it's upsetting; here, have a hanky.) And if you dare dismiss that full week "off" after each mesocycle as unmanly or as over-wrought geek-talk, consider this: Even six weeks of detraining doesn't affect 1RM squat, body mass, or percent body fat.(11)

It's my belief that most physique athletes overtrain. Hopefully this article and its promise of added mass will entice you six-day-per-week lifters to back off a bit... if even for a while. I've personally seen skinny overtrainers put on 20 pounds of muscle in a matter of 2-3 months by reducing their out-of-control training load. Although most ectomorphic (thin, angular) trainers could indeed use far more calories than they currently consume, any adjustment toward big eating still doesn't permit an abusive training schedule!

Should these patient approaches create a psychological state of well-rested eagerness, that'd be a great sign that you can get back to business or even up the intensity-volume of your next training cycle.

So here's to new growth through increased patience and thought, as well as increased eating!

References / Additional Reading:

1. Borel, M., et al. Estimation of energy expenditure and maintenance energy requirements of college-age men and women. Am J Clin Nutr 1984; 40(6):1264-72.

2. Coyle, E., and S. J. Montain. Thermal and cardiovascular responses to fluid replacement during exercise. In: Perspectives in Exercise Science and Sports Medicine. Exercise, Heat, and Thermoregulation, edited by C. V. Gisolfi, D. R. Lamb, and E. R. Nadel. Dubuque, IA: Brown, 1993, vol. 6, p. 179-224.

3. Dolezal, B., et al. Muscle damage and resting metabolic rate after acute resistance exercise with an eccentric overload. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32 (7): 1202-1207, 2000.

4. Evans, W. and Cannon, J. The metabolic effects of exercise-induced muscle damage. Exerc Sport Sci Rev. 1991; 19: 99-125.

5. Fowles, J., et al. The effects of acute passive stretch on muscle protein synthesis in humans. Can J Appl Physiol. 2000 Jun; 25(3): 165-80.

6. Frayn K., Regulation of fatty acid delivery in vivo. Adv Exp Med Biol. 1998; 441: 171-9.

7. Fry, A., et al. Catecholamine responses to short-term high-intensity resistance exercise overtraining. J Appl Physiol. 1994 Aug; 77(2): 941-6.

8. Ganong, W. Review of Medical Physiology, 15th Ed. Norwalk, Connecticut; Appleton and Lange: 546.

9. Jung, F., et al. Effect of Ginkgo biloba on fluidity of blood and peripheral microcirculation in volunteers. Arzneimittelforschung 1990 May;40(5):589-93.

10. Kentta, G. and Hassmen, P. Underrecovery and overtraining: A conceptual model. In: M. Kellmann (Ed.) Enhancing Recovery. Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics; 55-79.

11. Kraemer, W., et al. Detraining produces minimal changes in physical performance and hormonal variables in recreationally strength-trained men. J Strength Cond Res. 2002 Aug; 16(3): 373-82.

12. Ljungqvist, O. and Soreide, E. Preoperative fasting. Br J Surg. 2003 Apr; 90(4): 400-6.

13. Lowery, L. Nutritional support of athletic recovery and overtraining. Accepted for presentation. Tutorial to be presented at the annual conference of the American Society of Exercise Physiologists, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. 2004.

14. Lowery, L. and Mendel, R. Measuring Muscle Recovery. Sports Cardiovascular and Wellness Nutritionists (SCAN) Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, USA. 2003.

15. MacDougall, D., et al. The time course for elevated muscle protein synthesis following heavy resistance exercise. Can J Appl Physiol. 1995 Dec; 20(4): 480-6.

16. Martinez-Riquelme, A. and Allison, S. Insulin revisited. Clin Nutr. 2003 Feb; 22(1): 7-15.

17. McKenna, D., et al. Efficacy, safety, and use of ginkgo biloba in clinical and preclinical applications. Altern Ther Health Med 2001 Sep-Oct;7(5):70-86, 88-90.

18. Moldawer, L. Tutorial presented at the American Dietetic Association annual meeting, 1995.

19. Melin, B., et al. Effects of hydration state on hormonal and renal responses during moderate exercise in the heat. Eur J Appl Physiol Occup Physiol. 1997; 76(4): 320-7.

20. Nieman DC, Influence of mode and carbohydrate on the cytokine response to heavy exertion. Med Sci Sports Exerc May;30(5):671-678, 1998.

21. Priti, R., Miracle, A. and Lowery, L. Immunological responses are related to biochemical stress markers in the acute phase following damaging exercise. Ohio J Sci (Med Biol) 102(1): A7.

22. Sexton, T. and Lowery, L. Effects of eccentric exercise on glucose kinetics and insulin concentrations in resistance-trained athletes. Oh J Sci (Medicine and Biology) 2001; 101(1)(abstr): 13.

23. van der Merwe M., et al. Lactate and glycerol release from subcutaneous adipose tissue in black and white lean men. J Clin Endocrinol Metab. 1999 Aug; 84(8): 2888-95.

24. Widrick, J., et al. Time course of glycogen accumulation after eccentric exercise. J Appl Physiol 1992 May; 72(5):1999-2004.