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Muscle Gain

Once upon a time: What actually happens in your body during the 7 days after the 6 Minute Workout?

Once upon a time: What actually happens in your body during the 7 days after the 6 Minute Workout?

Surely that's a scam!", "That can't work"... These are the rather harmless statements made by many people when they first hear about high intensity strength training. Typically, these skeptics turn into enthusiastic brand ambassadors for us as soon as they realize bit by bit after the trial training: "There is something to it after all". The others who wave us off without having done a trial training can't be helped anyway.

For me personally, during the time when I was still married to my desk in investment banking, it was not the mere 20 minute time committment during training itself that was the kicker, but the "just once a week" frequency. In other words, I would have invested an hour or two on Sunday as well, and then enjoyed the positive effects over the next 7 days. The time saved by only having to go to a gym once and not having to spend the rest of the week getting to the gym, showering, preparing your bag, etc., is where the time is made of wasted. You can't get that time back, no matter how short the workout itself might be.

And most of our customers think exactly the same way. Once you understand that it is even better to wait exactly 7 days after training, you go from being a doubter or a sceptic to a missionary, because, in accordance with our human nature, you want to prevent yourself and others who train from harming themselves.

To understand why we don't do ourselves any good when we train too often at high intensity, we need to understand what happens in the 7 days after training:

Day 1 after 6 Minute Workout

The analysis is clear, average strength gain is getting better and better after 3 days of rest and peaks at 7 days. This graph suggest a shorter break would be ideal, but as we grow so fast, new customers are still contributing most of the sample and hence squew the results as they have bigger gains in the beginning even if they only do a short break of 4 days between workouts.

In the first 24 hours after the 6 Minute Workout, your body is essentially saying "We're under attack, mobilize the army!" That's the white blood cells. The analogy to an army is not too far-fetched, as the white blood cells also operate with reconnaissance units (basophils) that signal other white blood cells to join the fight by releasing histamine, instructing the capillaries to open and allow other white blood cells and plasma to enter the muscle tissue. When the muscle tissue suffers these completely harmless microtraumas, cytokines are released. These chemical messengers direct the immune response to the affected tissue. All this causes a slight swelling, which is the reason for the nice muscle soreness the day after. At the same time, the body produces enzymes called lysosomes, whose job is to break down and metabolize the damaged tissue. This process of cleaning up and concentrating white blood cells in the tissue is called an acute inflammatory response and is very good for you. Don't confuse it with its nasty cousin, chronic inflammation.

Day 2-3 after 6 Minute Workout

Veterans in high intensity training typically adopt a 7 day rhythm because of the convenience and for the simple reason that you become so good at fatiguing the muscles and need longer time until you feel ready again. The phases of recovery and supercompensation in your body can be felt and give you a clear signal, when you are ready again.

During this phase, macrophages, also a type of white blood cells, produce neurotransmitters that help increase the number of lysosomes. Another neurotransmitter released is the hormone prostaglandin E2, which causes increased sensitivity to pain. So increased pain sensitivity should serve as a message for us to avoid the gym. This increase in pain sensitivity is another reason for the well-known muscle soreness. The increased pain sensitivity of the muscle typically lasts for about 24 to 36 hours, in some cases even up to a whole week (also depends on the genetically pre-determined muscle fiber composition of the FT and ST muscle fibers). Throughout the acute inflammatory response, the fatigued muscle becomes even more tired due to the cellular breakdown process that cleanses the microtrauma for something new and better. So, only after this process is completed, the muscle cell rebuilding process can begin.

Tag 4-7

Of all the workouts ever performed at AURUM a clear majority was done in a 7 day interval

During the build-up process, the weakened muscle grows back to its original size and after some time, if you can resist the temptation to go to the gym and instead continue to recover, becomes even larger (hypertrophy). However, this does not happen before the 5th day of recovery, often it takes rather 5 to 7 days. Therefore, stimulating the muscle fibers again with a high intensity workout like AURUM before the build-up process is completed, makes no sense. If we still "train on it" too early, we interrupt the healing and growth process and the muscle will not be able to perform as it did the last time we trained. (We see this in the app with a 10% or more drop in performance).

If we challenge our body too often with high intensity training, it will be constantly in the catabolic state and therefore permanently inflamed. However, muscle building can only occur after and not during an acute inflammatory process. Too frequent training is therefore counterproductive because the positive adaptation of our body is interrupted and we reach an artificial plateau of muscle strength or even risk overtraining. Training at optimal intensity resulting in the desired ultimate muscle fatigue and sufficient rest between workouts sets off a cascade of positive fitness and health effects. Good things come to those who can wait. In this case, that shouldn't be too hard for most people.

What has always satisfied me the most is that I must not train if I do not want to jeopardize the hard-earned progress. Similar to a medicine that you must not overdose, so that it can develop its full effect and not become toxic.

And this can also be seen in the evaluation of our data set. Under 3 days break we do not have enough data, because nobody manages to torture themselves at AURUM with the sore muscles. Between 4 - 7 days break we make the best progress. Most of the more than 1500 trainings per month therefore take place quite naturally in a rhythm of 7 days. The body has its own intelligence and let's be honest, training 1x per week is just so wonderfully convenient and makes it possible to do strength training for our lives and not to live for strength training.

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