Phil Heath and Kai Greene give some sage advice.
Everyone knows that sleep, as one of the most important aspects of recovery, is therefore critical to bodybuilding. Yet we rarely afford sleep the same attention as nutrition or training. In these videos, elite bodybuilders Phil Heath and Kai Greene discuss the importance of sleep.
Phil says that during competition season he only gets around 5-6 hours of sleep per night. However, he supplements this as often as possible with naps. In the off season, he tries to make up for the rest of the year with extended sleep cycles:
“FOR ME IT’S VERY TOUGH. I CAN SAY I GET 6 CONSECUTIVE HOURS, AND THEN I’M UP EATING OR DOING SOMETHING ELSE. THE OTHER PART IS I WILL TAKE A NAP. I LOVE BEING AN ADULT BECAUSE NOW I CAN TAKE NAPS. I VALUE NAPS LIKE SO MUCH. SO IF I DO HAVE TIME TO CATCH AN HOUR NAP I WILL DO THAT. NOW WHEN I’M NOT COMPETING I LITERALLY GO INTO HIBERNATION…THE MONTHS OF NOVEMBER DECEMBER I LITERALLY WILL PROBABLY SLEEP TEN TO 13 HOURS PER DAY.”
Kai Greene delves into WHY sleep is so important for recovery.
“OFF THE TOP OF MY HEAD I CAN IMAGINE THAT IT IS IN THIS STATE OF REM SLEEP THAT THERE IS A HOST OF BENEFICIAL HORMONAL RELEASES THAT OCCUR- I BELIEVE THE ANTERIOR PITUITARY GLAND AND THE DRIVERS OF YOUR ENDOCRINE SYSTEM THAT HAVE A POSITIVE IMPACT ON MUSCLE GROWTH AND CELLULAR RECOVERY AND REPARATION, ARE DONE MOST IN THAT STATE. SO REM SLEEP VERY VERY IMPORTANT, IN ORDER TO GET THERE YOU NEED TO BE ABLE TO UNWIND AND REST.”
He also discusses the particular importance of sleep during contest prep when stress on the body is peaking. Additionally, Kai says in order to gain the most benefit from food, rest must be prioritized in order to balance the metabolism. The body at rest processes food differently.
Both of these men understand the critical nature of sleep, and it sounds like both men struggle greatly in order to achieve adequate sleep. With physiques that size, it is no surprise that they have a difficult time reigning in natural circadian rhythms. But their reverence for sleep should be an indicator that it is a critical aspect of recovery for every bodybuilder.
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