Recovery vs Augmentation

When it comes to physical fitness, we talk much about “recovery”–the days you don’t lift in order to become stronger.

My thought: instead of calling it “recovery”, better to call it “augmentation”.

The difference

When we workout hard at the gym, and we say we need to ‘recover’, inherent in it is the feeling:

If I were simply stronger, I could recover faster.

However, this is perhaps the wrong thinking. This is why I prefer ‘augmentation’:

How to trigger muscular growth

Selfie body muscle chest

A simple question:

How does our body “know” to start triggering human growth hormones, in order to build our muscles, bones, sinews, and things which make us stronger?

The current theory is that of “micro-tears”. When we lift a very heavy weight, we create micro-tears in our muscles. Then our muscles go:

Oh no — we need to repair ourselves!

Thus your body secrets some sort of “human growth hormone”– which stimulates our hunger to eat more meat, protein, and food items in order to repair the micro-tears in our muscles.

And perhaps in this repair process, our body repairs MORE than it needs to– a hyper-repair, which makes our muscles slightly stronger than they were before.

back muscle flex eric kim

The augmentation phase

During this “repair” phase (about a week after your epic “one rep max” attempt), your body stimulates hunger hormones, which motivates us to eat more meat and protein. The meat and protein are the building blocks which augment our muscles.

Also, it seems our body needs around 1-2 weeks to fully augment our muscles, and to make them STRONGER than they were before.

muscle flex

Listen to your body

Taken further:

Perhaps as we are augmenting our intellect, we also need “augmentation” phases, in order for our mind to truly incorporate these new ideas and thoughts.

Furthermore, it seems that our mind is like our muscles — we need to practice. The more we practice the movements, the more accustomed we become. The less afraid we are of pushing ourselves.

Why I love failing PR attempts

A “PR” is a “personal record” in powerlifting lingo. The basic notion is this:

You attempt to lift a new maximum weight once.

For example if last week I deadlifted 445 pounds (once) last week, then this week I will attempt 450 pounds (once). If I successfully lift 450 pounds this week, I have achieved a new “PR” (personal record). If I fail to lift the 450 pound deadlift this week, I simply take a few days off (eat more meat, and let my muscles augment), then will attempt it a few days later, or next week.

Deadlifting 420 pounds (four 45-plates on each side, with a 2.5+5 pounder)

The benefit of failing a new PR in deadlift (or any lift):

You are no longer afraid of attempting epic PR attempts.

The biggest fear many of us have is the fear of failure. The fear we will hurt or injure ourselves. But if you attempt a new PR, and you fail, and you DON’T injure or hurt yourself, you actually feel MORE INVINCIBLE and MORE BULLETPROOF!