Recently, health nuts who are up to date on the latest health and nutritional science have discovered a new boogeyman: inflammation. But what is inflammation, exactly? Is it really as bad as most people think it is? And what can you do to protect your gains from detrimental inflammation? Keep reading, and we'll give you the scoop.
In reality, there are two types of inflammation: acute, and chronic. Acute, in its own way, is the "good" type of inflammation. When you get a small cut, or a bruise, or have a really hard workout, your body responds to these injuries with acute inflammation. This type of inflammation is short-lived and only happens when your body needs to heal from a specific injury. Once the injury is healed, your immune system calms down and everything in your body pretty much goes back to normal.
Acute inflammation is actually necessary for bodybuilders who want to make serious gains. Among many other helpful benefits, acute inflammation is a necessary biological process which:
The unfortunate downside to acute inflammation is, of course, pain. Most athletes prefer to alleviate their soreness with over-the-counter pain relievers and/or ice. But that might not be the best move if your gains are important to you.
The second type of inflammation is chronic inflammation. Rarely does chronic inflammation occur as the result of exercise; however, there are some athletes who are at risk. Marathon runners, CrossFit enthusiasts, and daily heavy-lifters may need to worry about exercise-induced chronic inflammation. That's why pacing your progress and taking rest days for recovery are so important to proper fitness.
The majority of chronic inflammation actually comes from eating a poor diet and avoiding exercise. We've talked before about what you should and shouldn't eat for maximum gains. And, luckily enough, those same foods are great for warding off chronic inflammation. But if you aren't careful and let chronic inflammation sneak up on you, it can lead to heart disease, cancer, and autoimmune disease. It can also hurt your gains by diverting the body's healing resources away from your muscles and joints. This can slow down your healing process and minimize whatever gains you are hoping to make.
First and foremost, let acute inflammation do its thing. If you're experiencing mild or moderate pain after a tough workout, do your best to let your body heal itself, as opposed to taking NSAID (anti-inflammatory) pain relievers or icing sore areas. Tylenol is a good substitute for the NSAIDs because it relieves pain without interfering with the acute inflammatory process. But if you're trying to recover from a severe injury, or if the pain is extreme, by all means, do what you gotta do to get through it.
The next step is to prevent chronic inflammation from building up in your system. In addition to eating healthier and exercising regularly, give your body time to heal itself in between those really difficult workouts. If you don't give your body time to cycle in and out of the acute inflammatory (healing) process, then it will remain in a constant state of inflammation. And when acute inflammation becomes a constant reality, that's when chronic inflammation sets in and the body goes haywire.
Here's the deal: acute post-workout inflammation is only half the battle when it comes to meeting your bodybuilding goals. Acute inflammation is like a bulldozer at a construction site; it helps clear away the junk so that your body can build newer, stronger, bigger muscles. But unless you give your body new building materials, you can't rebuild the damaged tissue.
That's where Growth Factor comes in. Think of it as your building materials, contractors, and foreman all-in-one. It provides you with the amino acid profile your body needs to build muscle tissue back bigger and stronger. It also helps with blood flow so that you have fully-fueled muscles ready for those tough, high-energy workouts. Lastly, it speeds up recovery so that you aren't kept away from the gym for too long due to pain and inflammation. So what are you waiting for? Try Growth Factor now.