The True Way Your Muscles Grow

by OptimumNutrition 2706 views Gain Muscle

The True Way Your Muscles Grow

You know the importance of post workout recovery, but how can you optimise it so you get the best results not just from your gym workout, but from any physical training you do? If you're on a mission to be bigger, get stronger, be faster or simply have more energy, read on to find out what to do to maximise your training efforts.

Your muscles and training

Your body is constantly building and breaking down muscle proteins

Physical activity increases muscle protein breakdown and muscle protein synthesis. Intense physical activity can lead to micro-tears in the muscle fibres, which is a normal response to vigorous exercise.

man doing preacher curl at gym

Micro-tears are an important stimulus for muscle growth, and recovery time plus proper nutrition are important for muscle recovery. Plus, when you rest well and eat well, you can help your body's hydration status as well as the restoration of energy stores.

People often think that muscle recovery only happens after exercise

The truth is that muscle recovery is a 24hr process (meaning, it is happening all day, around the clock!) that can take up to several days. As part of recovery, your body is rebuilding muscle proteins and replenishing energy stores.

What is active recovery?

Following intense exercise with low to moderate intensity exercise is a form of actively recovering. Low intensity exercise the days after intense exercise promotes blood circulation to recovering muscles and also helps to warm up and loosens tight, sore muscles.

Principles of Muscle Recovery

  1. Proper nutrition
  2. Hydration
  3. Rest and Relaxation
  4. Sleep

1. Nutrition

Refuel within about one hour after working out to help support;

  • Supplying building blocks for protein synthesis
  • Replenish glycogen stores


  • Include source of carbohydrates and protein when refuelling
  • Don’t restrict food intake on non-training days

mean eating healthy balanced meal

Eat a balanced diet to help fuel up for the following workout. Adequate daily intake of carbs and protein are also important as post exercise intake, to support muscle recovery and performance


Protein musts:

  • Keep track of your protein intake to ensure you’re meeting your daily needs
  • Aim for 20-40 grams per meal or snack
  • Choose complete high-quality proteins to help support muscle protein synthesis

2. Hydration

runners drinking water

75% of muscle tissue is water... This means that dehydration can impair performance. Remember to have water and electrolytes to help support rehydration after exercise.

3. Rest and Relaxation

Make sure you schedule off-days... remember, mucles recover when you rest!

Overtraining can have negative consequences such as;

  • Burnout: mentally and physically
  • Fatigue
  • Injury

woman relaxing on couch

Rest allows for time to manage stress. This way you can also achieve a healthy balance between work, life and fitness goals.

4. Sleep

man sleeping

Quality and amount of sleep are key components of recovery and performance

If sleep is cut short, then the body doesn’t have the time to recover and consolidate memory. Inadequate sleep increases the possibility of fatigue, low energy and poor focus. It may also slow recovery post exercise


Protein Recommendations (Banned Substance Tested)

Gold Standard 100% Whey by Optimum Nutrition

World's #1 Selling Protein

Fast digesting whey proteins

Whey Isolate + Concentrate + Hydrolysed

24g of protein

More Info

Gold Standard 100% Isolate by Optimum Nutrition

Highest quality Isolate fasted absorption

Hydrolysed Whey Isolate

25g of protein 

Low carb and fats

More Info

Serious Mass by Optimum Nutrition

Multi-source protein for fast and slow absorption

250g of carbs 

3g Creatine for performance

50g of protein

More Info


For 30 years, ON has been the world's most trusted training partner. Thanks for taking us along to every workout since 1986.

Optimum Nutrition is legendary for both quality and innovation. In addition to making Gold Standard 100% Whey, the worlds' best-selling whey protein, ON created the slowly digesting protein category with Gold Standard 100% Casein. ON also created the anytime energy category, which remains dominated by Essential Amino Energy.

ViewOptimum's Articles