• Rob Ellis

BODY-BUILDING: Your biggest allies for packing on size -food,weights,supplements & SLEEP!

Updated: Aug 4


If you're anything like me, you learned long ago that there's no quick fix and no shortcuts to gaining real size. It's a long, arduous, steady process requiring dedication and total focus. That doesn't stop us tweaking the diet, adding sets, upping weights and searching for the latest, cutting-edge supplements to boost our progress.

It's easy, when juggling a career and family life with gym time, to forget one vital factor in building your ultimate self: sleep.

I CAN SURVIVE ON FIVE, WHY SHOULD I SLEEP ANY LONGER?

Because your body will love you! You can have the best PT, the tightest routine, the fullest fridge and the hottest supps stack, but none of that can compensate for insufficient rest, so, get the pillows plumped and start counting those sheep if you want to grow. Here's the how...

THE SCIENCE BIT...

You actually produce your own growth hormone when you sleep (bonus!) And it gets better... Provided you consume decent protein before bed time (a top quality whey isolate shake will do it), protein synthesis is at its max while you're dreaming. These are just two benefits of a decent rest, add to those the fact your energy consumption is at its lowest during snoozing hours and your brain is left busy restoring cells, and you've got a quadruple whammy of bodybuilding assistance.

As a bodybuilder, sleep is your best mate. It serves all your vital functions, including and not limited to muscle growth and mental alertness.

TIME IN THE GYM COULD BE WASTED WITHOUT QUALITY SLEEP...

No, really... Sleeping for EIGHT to TEN hours per night is like fasting, its catabolic to muscle growth. Eating before bed reverses this and increases protein synthesis. When you're sleeping protein synthesis happens in your gastrointestinal tract, not your muscles.

Nearly 70% of your daily growth hormone release is created during deep sleep, in the earliest part of your sleeping cycles. The goal for any bodybuilder is size. Muscles build when energy consumption is at it's lowest. When's that? When we're sleeping... Am I repeating myself?...

IT'S ABOUT QUALITY AND QUANTITY...

In a typical 8-10 hour sleep session, the brain follows cycles. Typically, lasting 90 and 100 minutes each. The two different types of sleep are REM (Rapid Eye Movement( and Non-REM (you get the picture) sleep. A cycle starts with 4 stages of non-REM before they reverse and REM sleep begins. The REM sections are the periods in which you build. The deepest, most intense sleep.

Here's how a typical sleep pattern looks and what happens during each cycle:

Stages 3 & 4 are critical to physical and emotional health. It's imperative you get there, or your body and mind can't replenish and recover properly, rendering it impossible for you to function at your best, or for the body you're building to grow at the same rate as your training it to. Hopefully you're on board so far, so...

HOW DO WE GUARANTEE TOP QUALITY SLEEP EVERY NIGHT?

A full bank balance, no bills, no work strains and no family stresses is a start, but let's be realistic, don't panic, there are plenty of sure-fire ways to help ensure you reach that golden chalice of deep, restorative sleep, every day and maximise your growth.

BE AS STRICT WITH YOUR BEDTIME ROUTINE AS YOU ARE WITH YOUR TRAINING...

1. Ditch the mobile!

Wind down. Aim to turn off/abandon your mobile phone a good hour before bed. If you've checked those emails that just can't wait until tomorrow, had a flick through Tinder, wound yourself up over a distant friend's Facebook rant and checked what's new on Netflix, you've probably just robbed yourself of a decent, muscle building kip.

2. Visit that island called 'you'...

It's true, studies prove that 'you-time' - no matter how much the phrase grates on you, is essential for aiding good rest. So run that bath, take that shower, light those candles, tackle that book you keep meaning to read - but whatever you do, focus that overactive brain on one thing - you. Mindfulness is a great trick to learn.

3. Get a decent pillow!

Goose feather, Duck down, Memory foam or Polyester; find a pillow that's right for you. Ensuring you're supported and cushioned in all the right ways is the difference between tossing and turning in a night of restless, interrupted sleep - or, waking up refreshed and replenished like Goldilocks after a night in the three bears' house.

Which reminds me, after your epic Goldilocks sleep, get yourself a decent bowl of porridge to kick start your building process, and load up on some high quality supplements to aid your recovery, such as turmeric, branch chain amino acids and omega 3 fish oil. But that's a post for another day.

Rob Ellis is founder of Sky Spa and a bodybuilding client of Alistair Mills. Read his testimonial or watch his transformation video here, coming July 2016.


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