4. FACT: To make gains, you have to recover.
The essence of training goes like this: First, you tell your body that it’s not fit enough by applying a new stress — lifting a heavier weight, running a faster mile. That breaks down muscle fibers, and during recovery, your body repairs the fibers and makes them stronger. That means recovery is just as vital as the workout. But the most effective method doesn’t always mean taking a day off. In many cases, active recovery — moving around — helps you bounce back fitter, faster. After a heavy weights day, for example, a University of Oregon study found the ideal recovery strategy is a day of light lifting using the exercises that got you sore. (So if you crushed the bench press with three sets of 10 reps at 135 pounds, your recovery session could be two sets of five reps at 65 pounds.) Same for cardio. After a long run Sunday, log a light 30-minute jog on Monday. “The idea is to increase circulation to those same muscle tissues,” says Pete McCall, adjunct professor in exercise science at Mesa College and spokesman for the American Council on Exercise. “That helps flush the metabolic waste that contributes to soreness and speeds delivery of oxygen and nutrients to repair muscle fibers.”
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