One of the most key components to building muscle that is often overlooked is getting enough sleep. I've known people who would brag about only getting three hours of sleep the night before their 5 a.m. training session. And these are typically the people who struggle the most with getting stronger.
Ideally, for your muscles to grow and perform at high levels you need at least 8 hours of sleep. And even though it may sound macho or productive to push through a workout on little sleep, it's counterproductive to increasing your fitness.
Tim Collins is a certified personal trainer and owner of TC's Strength and Conditioning in Omaha. He blogs for livewellnebraska.com. Read more from Tim.
When you sleep your body produces tons of human growth hormones. This particular hormone helps your muscles absorb nutrients and keeps them from breaking down. The largest amounts get released during deep stages of sleep.
While it can be challenging for most of us to get a full night of sleep, it is extremely important to strive for rest. I remember when my children were newborn babies it was hard keeping up my energy to train at high levels. Our children kept my wife and I up all night for months.
But at that I time I learned to make my workouts shorter and more intense. This gave me some extra time during the day for a few short power naps. You will be surprised what a 30-minute shut eye can do for you.
I'm not telling you all to sleep in all day and hibernate, but take care of your body. Sleep is a critical time that our muscles use for development and recovery. And if you have an ego toward getting sleep, don't let it keep you from progressing.
Make a goal to get more rest or make some adjustment in your schedule that allows you to recover better. In the meantime, keep hanging in there and know that getting sleep isn't for wimps!
If you are suffering from conditions like insomnia, a sleep disorder, you should consult with a physician for help.