To be successful, you need to have discipline and consistency. For almost everything, I agree with the old adage "80% of success is showing up."
There's nothing different about trying to pack on muscle mass. One of the most important things you can do is to stay tight to your workout schedule, even if you aren't into it.
Or should you?
The truth is…
Yes, consistency is important.
When you are trying to pack on muscle mass, you should stick to your workout schedule most of the time. However, there is an interesting quote from the late Mike Mentzer that goes "Rituals have nothing to do with science."
The human body is a complex biological "machine," and not every workout or recovery period is the same. When you wake up feeling exhausted with achy muscles, and you're missing that typical excitement on a training day… don't think that your body is sending you a message?
Why would you force yourself to train to pack on muscle mass in a situation where more recovery time is clearly needed, and when you know that your training performance will be less than optimal? If you try to pack on muscle mass in spite of what your body, muscles, and mind are trying to tell you, you are doing yourself a disservice.
Intense weight training is extremely demanding on the body as a whole, and the recovery phase is the best time for your body to add new muscle tissue… So why would you deliberately interfere with the very process that allows you to pack on muscle mass in the first place?
Why not take an extra day to rest and go to the gym once you feel physically and mentally up for it? What harm could there possibly be in that?
As long as you aren't inactive for more than two weeks, you shouldn't worry about reducing your strength or size. Yet, there is the perfectly likely reality of a positive gain in the form of proper recovery from the previous workout and improved performance on the following workout.
Your body is willing to tell you everything-just listen. Sometimes your body needs rest, so just remember that rituals don't have anything to do with how you pack on muscle mass.
Don't push your body until it's ready to do battle with the weights again. If you have to skip a workout, don't let your ego run the show and make you feel like a failure-whoever said "never skip a workout" didn't think it through.
Tread lightly, though...
Remember, this isn't permission to only train to pack on muscle mass when you want to, because you may start delaying your workouts and telling yourself it's okay when in fact it is not. There are many times that you won't want to train to pack on muscle mass just because you aren't up for it mentally, but that's not what I'm talking about.
You should only stop working for a day when you truly, physically need it.
Always remember... it's okay to take an extra day of rest, but it harms your body if you train it to pack on muscle mass when it's not recovered.
Take the day off if you're in doubt!
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