In 20 years of training, the most consistently important factor towards my muscle growth (besides diet and exercise) is good old fashioned sleep. Proper sleep not only allows for a well-rested and refreshing new day, but provides a multitude of benefits for muscle growth.
Sleep is important to muscle growth because this is when Growth hormone is produced and protein synthesis occurs. Sleep also assists a lot of other very important functions, for example:
- The replacement of ageing and dead cells, and the mending of muscle and other tissue
- The lowering of energy consumption
- The recharging of the brain
Rest is one of the most important principles of exercise and often the most overlooked. When you sleep, you body goes into a suspended state of animation, and your body does precisely what you've been beseeching it to do since you raised that first dumbbell; Build muscle!