10 Things You Shouldn’t Do If You’re Trying to Build Muscle: Body Building
While it’s important to think positive and focus on all the things you should be doing to achieve your goals, it’s equally important that we focus on those things that interfere with our goals and remind ourselves to avoid doing them. Some call it the “not to do list,” which I like. Many of the behaviors on not-to-do lists are deal breakers, so it’s arguably more crucial that we identify and curtail those that apply to our lives. But that’s hard; these are behaviors we might already be doing. Heck, they might be bad habits we’ve developed, or biases we’ve internalized. And so before adopting good behaviors, we should clear out the bad ones. Otherwise, we’re just pissing in the wind.
1. Skip sleep for a late (or really early) training session.
It feels good to make that late night Facebook post about the weights you just lifted, or brag about your 4:30 AM wakeup for CrossFit class. It looks impressive. That’s true dedication, right? Except that you’re not building muscle in real time as you hoist that bar off the floor. You build muscle by recovering from your training session, and sleep is where we do most of our recovery. Sleep is where everything good happens. Sleep debt actively inhibits muscle recovery and hypertrophy and promotes muscle degradation. Sleep deprivation increases cortisol and reduces testosterone; for optimal muscle building, the former should be lower and the latter higher. One older study found that total sleep deprivation increased urinary excretion of nitrogen, which could be indicative of muscle breakdown and loss of lean mass.