This is bigger than dropping some whey or pre on the counter or ground.
This is gains going right out the window. This is working hard and killing it but having diminishing returns. Why? Because you may be missing key pieces to a puzzle you thought you had all the pieces to.
The body is a complex organism. It's adaptive and it adapts to the things you throw at it, but when you start depriving it of things it needs it down shifts everything to ensure you survive. It is not going to kick out of that gear till it is properly fixed. It is a protective mechanism.
We often think of stress as an exterior, outside thing. Stress at work, stress at home, stress every damn place you look. What we forget to manage is the stress internally and this is what matters most because it directly impacts how we deal with stress on the outside.
So, lets hit some key areas that you should be implementing and taking looks at regularly.
Oh, yes you know how important it is to sleep but you must not because if you knew just how much it funks up your health and gains in the gym, you wouldn't play with this piece. Yes, some people have very consuming schedules but sleep must be a priority. It must trump watching TV at night or gaming or whatever else you do in place of sleep. When you don't give your body enough time to reset and recover from all you put it through that day, the body doesn't get to fully rebuild and it places extra stress on the system. Your nervous system begins to run on overdrive which in turn slows down anything you think you are achieving in the gym. Strength, ya right, that's out the window. More muscle? Nahhh, the body doesn't have time or energy for that kind of recovery and work because you are not giving it what it needs.
You know who sleeps a lot to grow? Babies. If you want to grow in the gym, prioritize sleeping.
You will never meet a bodybuilder who doesn't take his or her sleep seriously.
2. Cool down and slow down
Most people skip warm ups (terrible idea) but even more skip cool-downs. Why? Because they don't see it as necessary but it is. When you go to the gym, you rev up all your engines and then you go home and expect it to just shut down on cue. Life is stressful, working out is stressful, the foods you put in your body can be stressful, all this stress gets your system revved up but it needs a way to come down. You need to be able to activate your parasympathetic system. This is your chill system, this is your recovery system. this is the system that builds muscle, burns up fat and does everything beautiful that you neglect.
Cool down after a workout.
Take time to walk it out, control your breathing.
Meditate for 10 minutes. Meditation isn't only for Monks and Yogis, it is for everyone and its impacts on the nervous system are great. Just sit silently and focus on your breathing or download a meditation app.
Take contrast showers, switching between warm and cold water at intervals. The cold water will help calm your nervous system down.
Post workout nutrition as almost everyone knows is important. You want to refuel what you just burned off. Protein of course is must but carbs are as well. Carbs in the system help with not only replenishing glucose stores and driving in the amino acids but also help with lowering cortisol (stress hormone). When insulin goes up, cortisol goes down.
Water intake as well needs to be a focus here. Being dehydrated is another stressor on the body. We need to eliminate as much stress as we can if we want the added stress of working out to be productive.
Take away note,
REST AND RECOVER JUST AS HARD AS YOU WORK.