Sleep vs 5 Workouts Per Week

February 14, 2011 by  
Filed under The Fitness Bug

Before I begin my rant, I just want to get one thing clear.

Bodybuilding is not complicated!


  • Train to stimulate muscle growth
  • Eat the right foods at the right time to feed that muscle growth
  • Supplement when necessary
  • Sleep

You do the above and you will achieve. Simple!

But the mistake that many people make (Especially new lifters) is that they become addicted to the 1 hour muscle pump. Which is, that period where your muscles inflate briefly during the period that you workout. What then happens, is that thought then becomes fixated in their minds, that they have to train more to maintain that ‘look’. It’s not a completely silly way of thinking either, because it’s like, what you see is what you get. And looking fantastic for that brief moment in time does feel nice. But it’s a flawed way of thinking that needs to be corrected. Because as most of you may know. The real growth happens in your sleep, and most of you don’t get enough of that as it is.

Now, if you are a mature muscle mass lean machine, you’ve probably trained your body over the years to handle 5 workouts per week. But for those who…

  • Are still working to get shred with bulk results.
  • Hold down a separate professional career

5 workouts per week will often prove to be too much.

Think about it….

A young professional or higher education student will work say 10-12 hours per day. Add 2 hours of travel back and fourth. Add workout time (2 hours with travel). Add evening leisure time (3-4 hours). And you are left with only 4-5 hours to sleep.

You need at least 8-10 hours of rest if you intend on following a good program such as the upcoming shred with bulk program, if you are serious about seeing some serious results. Especially within the first 4 weeks.

You can get the full scoop on the upcoming Stay-fit Bug strength progression program that’s coming in a few weeks below.

The Stay-Fit Bug 31 Day Shred with Bulk program

You can eat well and train well, but skip that one crucial part of the cycle (sleep) and you will indeed break a very necessary link in the chain in order to build necessary gains. If you feel you have been doing everything right, but sometimes feel you are unusually deflated (Most will feel it in there arms first… this post does a good job of explaining that) it’s probably because you have been depriving your body of the necessary rest that it needs.

How much rest do you need?

Well, first things first. If you train insane the ‘In The Zone’ way, as described in the upcoming shred with bulk program (Enter your details above to learn more) then getting enough sleep will be an after thought. Because the way the program teaches you to train will indeed put you to sleep.

But the amount of sleep you should aim for is about 8 hours, to be realistic in this day and age. Which of course is something that we all struggle with. Some people may need even less. But if you find that your gains are lacking compared to the amount of dedication you are putting towards your nutrition and workouts, then sleep is the link in that chain that you need to fix. Yes, I know you may like those late nights. Sitting up on Facebook, PS3 or whatever. Just save 2 hours out of those few hours of leisure time that you have to get some proper rest. You’ll make your mirror very happy.

5 day workouts vs 3 day workouts


Like I said earlier. 5 workouts per week will often prove too much for a gym goer with a separate career. Yes, it’s fine for those pro bodybuilders who do nothing but lift all the time, or for those who have built stacks of mature muscle over the years. But for Mr. I have a career, Mr. I have a Family, or Mr. ”I have a damn life”. 5 workouts per week will prove to be too much. Your body simply will not get enough rest between the days in order to develop some real muscle growth.

A break down for your perspective.

168 hours in a week

  • You work 50-60 hours of those (Young professional or busy Further education student – Masters degree)
  • Travel 10 hours back and fourth
  • Workout 10 hours of those (Assuming 5 day workouts)
  • You need 56 hours of sleep per week
  • Leisure time 20 hours per week (On week days)
  • Weekend of doing nothing or leisure time of 24 hours

That is your entire week ‘overly’ maxed out. And this is without leaving room for actual ‘life’. Because as most of us know. Most weeks aren’t stream lined and perfect like that. You have things like…

  • Spending time with your partner/love interest
  • Seeing a friend on the odd day
  • Evenings out with colleagues
  • And other things

Training 5 days a week for someone with life demands other than bodybuilding is not a lifestyle. You become a prisoner to the gym, when you really don’t have to. Seriously, cut back. Change 5 days a week to 3 days a week.

”Most of what you achieve from going ‘to’ the gym, will be a direct result of  what you do ‘outside’ of the gym”



Let that quote sink in. Because it’s the truth in all its simple glory.

Have ‘Jack all’ days. Focus on the other links in the bodybuilding chain other than working out. Live the lifestyle! Once you do, you’ll start getting quotes such as this…

‘Dude, what you been doing. You been juicing haven’t you?’

That is a compliment in all its glory right there. And your response will be something like…

”Dude, I haven’t even been training’

‘Yea… right dude, I really do believe you’ (I’ve experienced this first hand. It was a glorious day to say the least :))

Once that happens, you are succeeding with the formula of obtaining more sleep, a balanced bodybuilding chain, a balanced lifestyle. And a happier fit bugger.

”Less is more”


Be consistent



The only other thing you need to focus on is consistency. Which is in fact, arguably, the most important aspect of this lifestyle. Because if you don’t stick to it, you won’t grow and progress. And even worse, you won’t develop any mature muscle mass. Which is of course muscle mass that sticks. Which allows you to decide if you want to train more or less, without there being much effect on your gains.

So when it comes to getting your optimum hours of sleep per night, whether its 6, 8 or even 10 hours. Stick to it. Try not to miss 1 -2 hours of sleep every other night. That’s 30-60 hours of rest that your body would have missed out on. And you can bet a mighty dollar that the hours missed will have an affect on your shred with bulk results.

Training tired is the same as training drunk



Lack of sleep… worse than training drunk?

I didn’t realize this in my earlier years of training. When I got my first car, I would do crazy things like, drive in a tired state of mind (And body). All I can tell you about that now, is DON’T DO IT! You will crash and die. And for a while I argued that driving tired is actually worse than being drunk, or driving drunk (Which of course is illegal. Again… don’t do it). And it wasn’t until later on that I found out that being awake for 24 hours or more has the same physical affects as being over the legal driving alcohol limit. But again, from experience, I’d say driving tired is worse.

That then means, in regards to your training, that training while you are tired is the same or worse as training as if you were drunk. Obviously something you would never do… right? :|

Of course not.

Therefore emphasizing the importance of getting enough sleep. Besides, lifting and dropping a 30kg dumbbell on your toe (Or on someone elses) is not a good look.

Don’t workout too late in the day



Working out too late in the evening may also be a factor in keeping you awake. Efficient sleep is directly connected to body temperature. Build up heat, you’ll stay awake. Get cold and you’ll go out for the count. Intense workouts will raise your body temperature high, therefore it’s a good idea to keep your workout periods up until the early evening hours only.

Conclusion

Don’t put sleep on the back burner just because you are ‘busy’. Set goals and structure into your life and getting enough sleep will become an after thought. Besides, what’s the point of being ripped and sexy only to look like a dead zombie half the time :|

Get those hours in.

See you in the comments.

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