The answer is recovery. People talk about steroids as being magical muscle enhancers, but really they're only recovery agents that allow you to do more workouts over the same time period. If you train more you can get better, but only if you're adequately recovered. There are so many things that we can do to speed up this process that we normally neglect.
A vital component to recovery and performance, we tend to de-prioritize sleep. Uninterrupted, comfortable, full-night sleep is a valuable tool to increase our ability to train and function. Even eight hours may not be enough when training at our highest loads - some of the best athletes have been shown to get that much and take naps during the day.
|You don't have to be able to do this,|
but wouldn't it be cool if you could??
|Just looking at it gives me the shivers.|
|No excuses, just drink it!|
|The best part of recovery time!|
This year I spent so much time working on these recovery aspects I actually didn't even have enough time to do them all. I literally finished each workout, ate/drank something, stretched, iced, ate/drank at the dining hall, took a cold or hot/cold shower, and it was already time for the next workout or bed. Only on the days we had just two workouts did I have time to sit and relax at all.
As a result I felt pretty good even by the end of camp. I think this is a valuable lesson I can take home, and surely I can fill a trash can with ice water if it will help me fit in a few more exercises a week.