Should We Go Running After Leg Day?
One of the most common mistakes a rookie workout enthusiast makes is unnecessarily pushing the body to its limit without giving it sufficient time to recover. This is by no means a decision made by the brain; rather, it is driven by the train of adrenaline.
In this article, we will address a very common question asked by newbies - "Should we go running after leg day?" Stay tuned to find out the answer.
A word about muscle growth
Our body comprises many different types of muscles, like cardiac muscles (those surrounding your heart) and extraocular muscles (those that control the movement of the eyes). For this article, we will focus only on skeletal muscles.
The skeletal muscles are made up of thread-like myofibrils and sarcomeres that form a muscle fiber; these are the basic units of contraction. When you exercise your muscles, they become damaged. Following this, the body undergoes repair, and the damaged muscle fibers are replaced through a cellular process to form stronger muscle protein strands or myofibrils.
How important is rest when it comes to muscle growth?
The simplest way to explain muscle growth is that it occurs when the rate of muscle protein synthesis is higher than the breakdown. It does not take a rocket scientist to figure out that therefore, the muscle growth actually occurs when you rest. It may sound surprising, but it is a proven fact.
Hence, if you do not allow your body to recover, you can actually hamper the process of muscle growth by overexerting it. The body's recovery mode, which promotes muscle growth, lasts about 24-48 hours. The activity during this period greatly determines whether you will experience any muscular gains or not. Proper rest and high protein intake are a great way to boost your muscle growth.
The day after leg day
Whether you should go for a run or not depends entirely on how your body feels after leg day. If your body is cramping up and you have a hard time walking, then you need to take the day off and relax. However, if you are feeling well enough, you can go for a short run. Just do not push yourself beyond your limit; a 20-minute run is all you should aim for.
That said, taking an entire day off to recover and eating diligently will prove to be much more useful than going for a long run.
(Also read: How to Deal With Heavy Legs When Running)
What do professional athletes do after an intense workout session?
If you thought professional athletes are working out 24/7, then you are dead wrong. Rest and recovery programs are an integral part of their routines. Elite mixed martial artists like Conor McGregor take an entire day off after 3 days of grueling workouts, and this is during the fight camp!
What’s the final say?
Proper rest and a balanced diet are the keys to muscle growth. Whether or not you are feeling under the weather after a tiresome leg day, you should take the day off. It will go a long way in making your body fit and strong.