Does Playing Sports Negatively Impact Muscle Growth?

Does Playing Sports Negatively Impact Muscle Growth?

What’s going on, guys? Sean Nalewanyj on And in this video here I want to answer a
pretty common question I get asked, which is how to combine bodybuilding with playing
sports. So can you still get good gains if you are
regularly playing sports throughout the week and how should you go ahead and structure
your program in order to maximize your results. So, combining bodybuilding and playing sports
I would say that in the majority of cases as long as you lay things out properly during
the week and you make the right adjustments then, yeah, you definitely can still make
great progress in the gym even if you are playing sports regularly. But it’s also important to keep in mind that
the impact it’s going to have, if anything, is obviously going to depend on what type
of sport you’re playing and how strenuous it is as well as how many total hours per
week you’re dedicating to it. So if you’re playing something like baseball,
let’s say, twice a week then that’s not going to have any impact at all realistically. Whereas something more strenuous like, let’s
say, soccer or basketball, for example, where you’re doing a lot of running that could potentially
have a minor impact depending on how often you’re doing it and if you were doing something
that’s going to stress both your cardiovascular system and that also puts you under a lot
of overall physical stress as well, and it’s going to create more muscle damage something
like, let’s say, MMA. And you were doing that three or four times
a week or more. Or you were playing like rugby or football
multiple days a week then, yeah, that could affect your results to some degree. But in any case, unless you are on the extreme
end of the spectrum there or you’re playing physically demanding sports in combination
with also having a physically strenuous job, again, with the right adjustments you will
still be able to make consistent gains. In my case, I started lifting in my teens
and I was pretty athletic back then and the different points I was playing baseball, basketball,
running track and field, playing rugby, and I was doing that in combination with gym classes
at school five days a week and I was still able to make perfectly good muscle building
progress all the way through. And most people should be able to do the same
as long as they structure things properly. So if you are wanting to combine bodybuilding
and sports or bodybuilding and MMA, for example, that’s one of the more common questions people
ask me, I’m going to give you six tips that you can use here to strike a good balance
between the two and to help you get the best muscle building results you can while still
playing the sports that you enjoy. So tip number one is the most obvious and
the most basic one and that is that you need to make sure you’re getting in enough total
calories. If your goal is to maximize muscle size and
strength gains then you’ll want to be eating in a small calorie surplus and playing strenuous
sports throughout the week is going to burn additional calories and it’s going to use
up a certain amount of nutritional resources that your body needs to recover and grow in
between weight training sessions. So make sure to monitor your overall body
weight on the scale, your measurements, your strength numbers in the gym and if you find
that they’re remaining stagnant from week to week then that’s going to be a good sign
that your current calorie intake is too low and that it needs to be increased. And obviously the more intense your particular
sport is and the more hours you’re devoting to it the more heavily you’re going to need
to adjust your calories in order to compensate for that. As a rough estimate, a beginning lifter who
is building muscle at an optimal rate without gaining excessive bodyfat, they should be
expecting an overall weight gain per month of around two pounds, three pounds at the
very most, and that should decrease by about fifty percent for every year of proper training
after that. Those figures are just approximate numbers
but the bottom line is that if the scale isn’t going up then that means that your calorie
intake currently is equal to your calorie expenditure, in which case it’s going to need
to be bumped up if you want to build muscle as effectively as possible. Tip number two is to try to space your weight
training sessions out away from the days where you’re playing sports by as much as you reasonably
can, because that’s going to help you maximize recovery. And also make sure to take into account the
major muscle groups that your particular sport uses when you are laying out your weekly gym
schedule. For example, you ideally wouldn’t want to
go rock climbing or do an intense rowing session right before or after a back workout since
both involve a lot of pulling movements. Or something that involves a lot of running
like soccer or rugby, let’s say, you’d probably want to try and schedule your leg workouts
further away from those. Or something like boxing which involves a
lot of upper body pushing, try to space that away from your chest workouts. So just do the best you can with this to try
to separate them throughout the week so that there is as a little overlap between the two
as possible and so that the muscles that are being worked are given as much recovery time
as you can give them. Tip number three is to reduce or eliminate
any separate traditional gym cardio that you’re doing. So if you’re playing a decently strenuous
sport three times a week or more then there’s really no reason for you to be performing
extra cardio, let’s say on the treadmill or the stationary bike assuming that you’re trying
to build muscle and you’re trying to gain strength at the fastest rate that you can. Because all that’s really going to do is burn
up additional calories and also eat further into your recovery time. So in this case what you want to do is just
treat your sports as your cardio. Do your weight training and don’t worry about
including extra gym cardio in the mix because it won’t be necessary and it’s probably just
going to end up being counterproductive, if anything. Tip number four, if you’re devoting a lot
of time and effort to your particular sport, so let’s say four or five days a week plus,
and you’ll probably be best off to cut back a bit on your overall weight training volume
and frequency just to make sure that you don’t over train yourself. So if you’re trying to do, let’s say MMA,
four days a week and you’re also doing four or five weight training sessions a week, you’re
likely going to end up pushing yourself beyond your ability to fully recover. And there’s a pretty good chance in that case
that your gains are going to be negatively impacted by that. Remember that muscle growth happens while
you’re out of the gym resting and that the process of recovery is what actually produces
the muscle gains you’re after. So if you can’t adequately recover then you
can’t grow. So if you’re playing a lot of sports then
you’ll probably want to cut back to four weight training sessions per week at the maximum
and three will probably be even better for most people. And in some more extreme cases you can even
reduce that down to as little as two weight training workouts per week. And if going to the gym say, or if you are
going to the gym, let’s say, three days a week but you’re still having issues with recovery
then you can also cut back on the actual volume per session by performing fewer total sets
or you could also reduce the frequency in terms of how often you train each individual
muscle. So instead of directly training each muscle,
say, twice a week, start hitting it once every four to five days or even just once a week. As long as you train hard and you focus on
progressive overload you can still make great gains by hitting each muscle only once a week. It’s not going to be fully optimal most likely
and it will take a bit longer to get the same amount of growth, but if the option is between
performing so much volume and frequency that you can’t properly recover versus performing
an amount that isn’t optimal but that still produces ongoing gains then obviously the
latter is still going to be the better choice. Tip number five, the other option instead
of reducing your weight training workload, if the sports you’re playing or just for casual
fun and it’s not a huge deal to you or something that you take too seriously but bodybuilding
is really important to you then just play those sports a little bit less often. This really just comes down to the person
in terms of what they value and what’s most important to them. I definitely wouldn’t recommend completely
ditching a hobby that you enjoy purely for the sake of bodybuilding but if it is noticeably
impacting your progress in a negative way then you could cut back a bit just to balance
things out a bit more. So instead of playing sports say four days
a week maybe you could cut it down to three or if you’re already doing it three times
a week but it’s for three hours a session then maybe cut that back to two hours or one
hour. And tip number six, a really quick one, but
make sure that your sleep is on point. This is important enough as is but if you’re
trying to juggle bodybuilding and sports and your job and everything else you’re doing,
getting a proper sleep becomes even more important because it’s a really important time for recovery. And being chronically under slept during periods
of high activity is probably eventually going to burn you out. And I’ll link a post I did in a description
box a while back that outlines seven sleep tips you can follow to make sure that that
area is taken care of. So if you want to combine bodybuilding and
sports it’s definitely doable in the vast majority of cases and you can still build
muscle and gain strength effectively as long as you follow those steps that I just outlined. It’s possible that your gain still might be
slightly affected even if you do follow all of that but it shouldn’t be too significant
in most cases, and for those who aren’t necessarily training to be as big and as strong as humanly
possible but just want to build a good solid all-around physique, in that case it’s probably
a non-issue altogether. Adjust your calorie intake to compensate,
space your sports and weight training apart as much as you can, reduce or completely eliminate
additional gym cardio, if necessary you can cut back on your weight training volume and
frequency, the other option is to cut back on the volume and frequency of the sports
that you’re playing, and lastly is to make sure that you’re getting a proper sleep each
night. So I hope this was helpful, guys. Thanks for watching. My recommended training splits that can be
used on their own or adapted to a schedule that involves sports during the week, those
are all outlined in my step-by-step Body Transformation Blueprint, along with nutrition and supplementation
plans as well. You can click here or visit
using the link in the description box to check that out. The official website is over at Make sure to hit the like button, leave a
comment and subscribe to stay up to date. And you can also follow me on Facebook and
Instagram as well for more daily tips. The links for that are also in the description
box. Thanks for watching, guys. And I’ll see in the next video.

32 Replies to “Does Playing Sports Negatively Impact Muscle Growth?”

  1. During wrestling season I have practice 8 times a week,with 1 double practice day. It's good for my cardio but is lose mass, cause my strength training suffers

  2. you say baseball 2x a week will not have an effect, but what about baseball about 2 hours a day, 6 days a week?

  3. I never played any sports growing up. Al I did was lifting. Been lifting for almost 3 years. Didn’t really do any cardio too which was bad. I signed up for a spartan race and I died!!

  4. Does anyone have advice about swimming while lifting?? Swimming uses both lower and upper body and burns lots of calories. Please Help!

  5. Great advice brother! I play sports and find it helps with my performance in the gym. Just make sure my recovery and nutrition is on point!

  6. I am playing competitive basketball and what I come to realize is creating a caloric deficit does not work while weight lifting as well. Get great sleep, eat a slight surplus (even 100-150 might be enough), and decrease the intensity and volume of weight training.

  7. I would totally agree in every point you said, Sean. But if recovery would be the point here, and I train full body routines 3 times a week (M-W-F), is it still productive for me playing a bit strenuous basketball on my rest days (Tue-Thu-Sat)? Would that negatively affect my recovery?

  8. sean do u think dumbell side bends r effective for obliques,im hearing mixed opinions on this and i want to improve my obliques to be more agile while playing soccer

  9. Great tips! One question though: With all these activities going on how do I know whether I recover enough? For example are there clear signs when your recovery is not sufficient?

  10. great video …. its hard to do both play sports and build muscle at the same time. its almost impossible …if your playing soccer / basketball/ or other high aerobic sports its hard. cardio eats up calories and its hard to maintain. but you still can look lean and good without being big and bulky … athletes dont need to be super big and strong .. they need to be lean and fast. well that depends on what sport your playing…. I dont like how you say reduce sports … well an opinion … it depends on the person… Great vid Sean. Ive been waiting for a fitness youtuber to come out with a vid exactly on this topic. ! Great stuff Keep it UP .

  11. The is a good no BS channel. But when I go to the site to buy the programme, I have to sit through an annoying BS marketing video/landing page.

  12. Bro I had 3 hours of wrestling practice a day 6 days a week. I made gains during the season, but they were newbie gains.

  13. you're the only one i see talkin about this man and i've been searching for this kind of topic for months, thanks a lot

  14. Sean can you please advise on body building with a physical job. Is low volume high intensity approach better or something like push pull 4-5 times a week will be better. Been training for 2 years but not much in terms of gains.Muscle mass could have been more thanks to improper recovery as you stated in video due to constant stress.

  15. Hey Sean not sure if it's video worthy but I was curious about a mini cut? I'm on a small calorie surplus again after not count for a while and have been working out for almost 9 months. I've put on maybe 10ish pounds of muscle. I'm a senior in high school so Naturally were having a swim party next week. Not sure if I should just be in a calorie deficit or eat certain meals to appear leaner. Any tips?

  16. Sean I had purchased your muscle gain truth program way back in 2007. Helped me gain a good 20lb back then! 🙂 Sadly, the email address I used then is out of service now, so I have lost most of my resources. Is there any way I can get them again? You can search my name (in your email), I had emailed you with a "palm injury" question (when you were supporting buyers one-on-one for a few weeks). So, can you help?

  17. Hi Sean, big fan of your videos, and articles over the years. Could I ask, what's your opinion on trying to lose fat without weight lifting? Is it possible to do it in a healthy manner? The thing is, in addition to three weightlifting sessions per week, I also do a lot of swimming, and my job requires quite a lot of manual lifting etc, so I find that my upper body in particular often feels overworked. I'm reluctant to give up the swimming, and the exertion at work can't be helped, so I'm just curious; if I were to stop lifting, at least temporarily, is there still a solid way to reduce bodyfat? I'm eating at a 500 calorie deficit at the minute, maybe if i were to reduce that deficit?

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