There are more theories abound about this, than there are conspiracy theories about Area 51. Not kidding.
Ask anybody in the gym and they’ll probably have their own ‘secret sauce’ to getting beefed.
‘Once a week’s all you need bro. Anything more is overkill’.
‘You’ve got to lift at least twice a day bro’!
‘Dude, you are gonna kill yourself if you train that frequently’.
Jeez! There’s enough contradictory information to baffle, even seasoned fitness. Just when you think that maybe the internet has a solution, you discover that it’s worse.
There’s the fitness expert who believes in old-school training methods and advocates the bro split. More on this in a bit.
There’s your favorite Instagram influencer who doles out guidance on YouTube and IG. They believe that full body workouts are far superior than the bro split.
There’s someone who follows their favorite bodybuilder from the golden era and works out twice a day.
What makes things even more confusing is that research on this subject has largely been inconclusive, and sometimes conflicting.
But if you are looking for a simple answer, then here it is.
Sorry if you were expecting a binary response.
The ideal training frequency for YOU depends on factors that are unique to YOU.
Your goals, your age, your body conditioning, your nutrition, your experience, whether or not you use drugs, to name a few.
But don’t sweat. For thou are in the right place. Today, we are going to demystify this perpetual conundrum once and for all. So strap in and enjoy the (longish) read.
The Most Popular theories about training frequency
Before we get into more scientific details, let’s take a quick look at some of the most popular theories/programs that you will encounter when you set out to research training frequency.
The Bro Split
The ‘Bro Split’ probably earns its moniker from being the most commonly used training methodology in gyms worldwide. If your gym bro doubles up as your guide and coach, and you are using a split training routine that targets each muscle group once or sometimes twice per week, then you are doing the ‘Bro Split’
While the term is increasingly looked down upon by pseudo experts these days, it is a reasonably effective training routine, provided you have the intensity and the volume nailed.
In a typical bro split routine, you will train one or two muscle groups a day, with 4-6 days of training in a week. Unlike full body workouts where you will perform only 3-5 sets of exercises for each muscle group, the bro split generally involves a lot more volume.
The caveat is that you will indirectly engage supplementary muscle groups in almost every workout. For instance, any pushing movement, be it for the chest or the shoulders, will also involve the triceps and the bicep. Ditto with back exercises, which involve the deltoids and so on. This increases the risk of overtraining.
This workout methodology was probably conceived in the late 60s after the likes of Steve Reeves and John Grimek who used full body training routines, had walked away into the sunset. The likes of Arnold Schwarzenegger & Franco Columbo were early proponents of splitting their training routine, by targeting individual muscle groups instead of full body workouts. Tada, the bro split was born.
But soon researchers would discover that the bro split routine was not as optimum for muscle growth and recovery as it was once believed. We’ll touch on the science behind this in a bit.
What does a typical bro split program look like?
Sample Bro Split Routine
There are tons of ways in which you can customize a bro split. Here’s one way.
- Monday – Chest
- Tuesday – Back
- Thursday – Legs
- Friday – Shoulders and Arms
- Monday: Legs
- Tuesday: Chest and Triceps
- Wednesday: Rest
- Thursday: Back and Biceps
- Friday: Shoulders and Abs
- Saturday and Sunday: Rest
The key takeaway here is volume. If you are targeting each muscle group with the sufficient volume, it will produce a hypertrophic response, with all other factors being in place. As you progress in your bodybuilding journey though, you may discover that the bro split becomes less efficient.
- You can push each muscle group to the maximum limit since you are only going to train them once or twice a week.
- You can target individual muscle groups with ease. If your shoulders lack development, you can increase the volume for shoulder exercises without it affecting your other body parts.
- Since you will target a body part only once a week, or at least separate the workouts by three days, you are less likely to overwork a muscle group and experience fatigue.
- It’s more time consuming than a full body routine since you will increase sets to compensate for the reduced total volume
- Your training frequency will reduce, while the intensity and duration increases
P.S – The Upper/Lower body as well as the Push, Pull, Leg routine are also variations of the bro split. So we are not going to cover those in detail.
The Full Body Routine
The full body routine which involves training all major muscle groups on one day, comes from the opposite school of thought. The idea behind training routine this stems from multiple concepts, some of which originate from years of trial and error, and part from clinical research.
For starters, it places equal emphasis on recovery. We’ll speak in detail about the significance of recovery. Stay tuned.
In a full body routine, you will be working out three to four days tops, which gives your body enough time to repair and recover.
It generally involves a lot more compound exercises, which are incredibly efficient for functional strength, cardiovascular fitness and hypertrophy. You can also structure the workouts based on individual goals, your strengths/weaknesses & energy expenditure.
Some of the most aesthetic bodies to walk the professional stage were built purely with full body routines. While there are too many names to mention here, Leroy Colbert, Steve Reeves & Reg Park are some of the noteworthy ones that we can think of now.
In fact, the immensely popular Stronglifts Program by Mehdi Hadim is based on the full body training technique used by Reg Park. You essentially do five sets of five reps of compound exercises for three days of the week. It has been one of the most researched and well-received fitness programs in the world.
On that note, here’s a sample Stronglifts-inspired full body workout routine.
- Monday – Workout A
- Wednesday – Workout B
- Friday – Workout A
- Monday – Workout B
- Wednesday – Workout A
- Friday – Workout B
Sample Workout A
- 5 sets of 5 reps of barbell back squats
- 5 sets of 5 reps of barbell bench press
- 5 sets of 5 reps of bent over barbell row
Sample Workout B
- 5 sets of 5 reps of barbell back squats
- 5 sets of 5 reps of barbell overhead press
- 1 set of 5 reps of barbell deadlifts
The key takeaway here is frequency. You are going to target every muscle group thrice a week. There’s no two ways about it. Clinical research veers towards frequency as one of the primary factors that influences hypertrophy.
- Higher energy expenditure. When you target multiple major muscle groups in each session, the net calorific expenditure is a lot higher than a split routine.
- Much better cardiovascular workout. One of the advantages of a full body routine is that it’s excellent for cardiovascular fitness. In fact, you may very well be able to skip that cardio routine if you perform the workouts intensely enough.
- Mentally Challenging. Compound exercises not only involve the primary muscle groups, they also engage your supporting muscles, stabilizers and fixators. It improves your strength, balance and coordination, which is mentally and physically more challenging than performing four sets of bicep curls.
- It’s a no-brainer routine. If you hate planning your workouts, then you’ll love the full body routine. You just have to pick from a select few compound moves and perform them repeatedly.
- There’s a real risk of overtraining certain muscle groups, which generally require more time to repair and recover, than 24-hours. This doesn’t extend to all muscles though and you can find a workaround for it.
- You cannot target individual muscle groups. Now, this is not necessarily a con for a beginner fitness buff mind you. You will discover that there’s ample room for growth and strength development when you are just starting off your fitness journey. But if you have been lifting for 5-6 years, then you will begin to crave those isolation exercises sooner or later.
The significance of training frequency
Researchers have for long been trying to unravel the ‘perfect’ training frequency for athletes of all ages, and with diverse fitness goals. In the last four years alone, there have been close to 22 published studies that investigate the link between training frequency and hypertrophy.
Let’s clear some concepts first.
Training Frequency does not equate to the number of days you lift. So, if you train thrice a week, that’s not your frequency.
Training frequency stands for the number of times you exercise a single muscle group in a week. So, if you follow a bro split routine and train chest twice a week, that’s the frequency for you.
Brad Schoenfeld, recently did a meta-analysis of 25 studies that try to establish the link between frequency and hypertrophy. He discovered a very interesting thing.
“There was little to no difference in muscle hypertrophy among participants who trained once a week and those who trained multiple times per week, provided that training volume is equal.”
This means that instead of focusing on the number of days that you lift, you should focus on the training volume and find the exact amount of ‘sets’ that places your body under a continual amount of stress, which forces it to adapt and grow.
The exact volume for each person varies. But a ballpark number for a major muscle group like legs, is 9-15 sets a week. What Brad’s meta-analysis of 25 studies show is that you can do these sets in one day, or split it amongst 3, 4 or five days. That’s completely up to you. As long as the muscle is being progressively challenged, it will grow.
Does this mean that training frequency does not matter at all?
Not really. Frequency is one of the most important factors because it determines the amount of time you attribute to recovery. If you are training too frequently, there’s a risk of overuse injury or overtraining.
More importantly, bodybuilding is also about consistency, mood, motivation, nutrition, stressors in your life and priorities. That’s where frequency comes into the picture.
Assuming that most of the guys reading this are not pro bodybuilders who are sponsored to build themselves like tanks, you need to find a training frequency that works for you.
If you find that you cannot dedicate enough time in the gym to do marathon 15-set sessions, split it up by all means. Into three or four or five days. Whatever works for you is fine.
Find a routine that fits into your life. Don’t try to fit your life into a routine that you chose.
Volume & Intensity are equally, if not more important
Let’s decode the other most important factors in muscle growth, volume & intensity.
In simple terms, volume is the exact amount of physical work you perform in one workout session, or over the course of the duration of the program you selected.
With respect to lifting weights, volume is closely linked to intensity.
How much weight do you use per set? How many repetitions do you perform in a set?
What’s the time under tension for each rep? If you are lifting at a slow tempo, the time under tension increases. This makes tempo a component of training volume.
On the other hand, if you are training for endurance, then volume refers to the tempo, repetitions & the distance covered (sprints, swimming etc).
Here’s a simple example.
If you are deadlifting with 100 lb. and go from 5 to 10 reps, you just increased the volume. But if you increase the weight to 150 lb. and do 5 reps, you increased intensity.
Frequency, Volume and intensity are inversely proportional to each other. When the intensity is high, due to total weight load or tempo, then you should reduce the total volume and frequency to allow the body to adapt and repair. If you club high intensity and high frequency, you are in all likelihood racing towards an injury. Unless you are using ergogenic aids that is.
That’s exactly what Arthur Jones suggested years ago. As did Dorian Yates, who worked out just four days a week, with each workout lasting less than an hour. Yet, his conditioning was far superior to a lot of his peers.
How to find the right frequency, volume and intensity
As we have been repeatedly saying, finding the right frequency, volume and intensity is no cakewalk. It depends on a multitude of factors, most of which are individual. That said, we are going to break it down into a few relatively simple concepts.
Goals – What are your fitness goals? Are you looking to gain strength? Are you looking for increased muscle mass? Maybe you are an experienced lifter who’s hit a plateau and wants to progress. The right volume and frequency will vary depending on your fitness goal.
Fitness level – Before you pick a fitness program or a particular workout routine, it’s crucial that you analyze your fitness levels. Don’t go by what you feel either. Perform a proper fitness assessment. While overall fitness is based on multiple factors, the response of your heart and lungs to intense physical exertion, or your maximum heart rate (MHR) is a decent place to begin. You can also perform a stress test under the supervision of a physician, or determine your VO2 max (the maximum amount of oxygen your body can utilize during intense exercise) to get a starting point for your reference.
For Muscle Building/Strength – If your goal is to build muscle size and strength, you can use one rep maxes for specific lifts, as an indicator of your current fitness levels.
Based on the assessment, you can reverse engineer a program with the right frequency, intensity and volume. Here are a few standard outcomes to help you get started.
- Beginners – Start with a low frequency and low volume training program. This is the only phase when your body will respond extremely well to any form of stimulus. So be rest assured that you will see growth even if you don’t exercise all 7 days. You may want to go full steam at them weights. But high intensity workouts will exert a massive amount of mechanical stress on your muscle tissue, along with extremely high metabolic demands on the anaerobic energy pathways. Your body is prepared for neither of these at this stage. What’s more important is that you don’t over train or injure yourself.
- Moderate fitness levels – Use your baseline MHR and your 1 rep maxes to design a program that exposes your body to a certain amount of stress to facilitate growth.
- Advanced Athletes – You should work under the supervision of an experienced fitness trainer and coach to ensure that you don’t hit a plateau, and are able to sustain progress without getting injured.
Periodization is a technique where you organize or program a workout into specific periods of high/low intensity, high/low volume and frequency. There are tons of different periodization techniques in use by coaches and experts.
There’s linear periodization or progressive overload, where each period gets progressively challenging.
There’s undulating periodization or waves, where you alter intensity on a daily basis.
It’s important to program your workouts using a periodization technique that matches your fitness goals.
Recovery – The Most underrated aspect of muscle growth
Perhaps the most widely known fact, that rarely gets the importance it deserves, is that your body grows when it recovers.
When you exert physical stress on your muscle tissue, it forms tiny micro tears which triggers the body’s repair process.
With the right nutrition and ample rest, the repair process goes unhindered and the new, repaired muscle tissue is bigger and stronger. That’s muscle growth 101.
However, we often have unrealistic expectations based on what the pros train like. A professional bodybuilder like Arnold Schwarzenegger may have thrived with a ‘double split’, working out twice a day. But Arnold is an outlier. So are most other professional bodybuilders who have years of experience, nutrition dialed down to the T, and are in all likelihood, on a cocktail of androgenic hormones.
Even if you discount the last bit, you cannot overlook the rest of the factors. If you are an average fitness buff with two to three years of lifting under your belt, you need to select a program that allows your body ample time to repair and recover.
Don’t forget that there are two distinct components in your body that need recovery.
Irrespective of whether you choose a bro split or a full body routine, you should ideally allow your muscles to recover for 24-hours. Even better if you can give it 48-hours. This depends on your age, ability to recover, sex and fitness levels. For instance, a 20-year old with testosterone levels at its peak, with great nutrition and 8-10 hours of rest can probably workout 2-hours a day for 6-days a week, without getting over trained. A 45-year old man who works 50-hours a week and barely manages to meet his macro and micronutrient goals, may find themselves fatigued if they follow such an intense program.
Here are some simple rules to create a workout routine that emphasizes on muscle recovery.
- Do not lift for more than 90-minutes. Ever. The only two body parts that require more than one-hour of training are legs and back, because of the multiple muscle groups and the complex nature of these workouts. Everything else should be done in less than an hour. Don’t go blasting those arms for 60-minutes. End your smaller muscle group workouts within 45-minutes. Else, you are spending too much time lollygagging between sets, or are doing too many sets and reps. Not good for recovery.
- Do not train for more than 2-days in a row. After two days of training, your strength, intensity, energy levels and endurance will begin to wane. Also, when you train constantly for days, you are likely to compromise your immune systems, which makes you susceptible to illness and injury.
- The ideal volume varies from one person to the other. But if you are performing each set at max intensity, then you do not need more than 9-10 sets/week for large muscle groups. Smaller muscle groups may not need more than 5-7 sets in total.
- Don’t be afraid to take an extra day off. Your muscles will not get deflated. If you feel that you need a break, take it. It’s usually tiny signs that indicate that our body is getting stressed and fatigued.
CNS (Central Nervous System) Recovery
Central Nervous System Fatigue is a concept that has been thrown around from time to time in the fitness industry. It has both, proponents and detractors, each side vociferously calling out the other for spreading misinformation.
Which side wins the argument though? Unfortunately, we don’t know yet.
CNS fatigue is described as the stage when your brain and spinal cord are unable to generate a proper stimulus due to being constantly overworked. Motor unit recruitment, firing rates, neural response and synchronization are some parameters that get affected.
The theory goes that if you work out 6-days of the week without proper nutrition and rest, your CNS ends up being burdened.
Lethargy, reduction in muscle contraction, lack of strength, reps getting slower, feeling sleepy in the gym, are some of the signs that are attributed to an overworked CNS.
Research on the subject has been inconclusive to say the least. There are studies that reveal the risk of your performance suffering due to CNS or Peripheral (PNS) fatigue. But there are also studies that show that the CNS has a remarkable ability to recover from almost any stress that you exert it to. So, the verdict is still out there.
That said, if you are feeling worn out and unable to perform at max intensity, it may be in your best interest to rework your program and take more rest anyway. So, CNS, ANS, PNS, no matter what’s stressed, just take a few days off.
As surprising as it sounds, there’s a section of the health and fitness industry that believes that overtraining is humbug. There’s just under eating and under sleeping. Well, there’s no denying the importance of sleep and nutrition.
But to say that a drug free athlete is never at risk of overtraining is stretching it too far. If that were true, then the person who trains for 16-18 hours a day would probably be the biggest of them all.
That does not happen though, because your body needs time to recover and grow. Just like all the other aspects of fitness, there are many factors that influence the actual time you need to recover fully.
But 48-72 hours between exercises is a universally accepted rest period that works great irrespective of your age, goals or fitness levels. If you cannot afford to rest for 72 hours, maybe 48-hours suits your lifestyle better. Anything lower than 48-hours may be counterproductive for most athletes, barring a few elite ones.
Here’s a few telltale signs that you need more rest.
- Your form is suffering. The weights are wobbly. The balance is off. This could indicate CNS fatigue.
- You are always sore. A lot of athletes attribute being permanently sore to Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness. Sorry to break the bubble. Doms does not last for more than 72-hours at best. If you are sore for days or even weeks, it could be overtraining or an injury.
- You are not progressing. If you have given it your 100% and are still not progressing in terms of strength, conditioning and muscle growth, then maybe you are over training.
- You are always sick. Your immunity is compromised and this may be due to the constant stress that your body is exposed to.
- You mood is wayward. Ideally, exercising should release endorphins which makes you feel great. But over training does the exact opposite. You are irritable, depressed & demotivated.
- You are sleeping poorly. 8-10 hours of undisturbed sleep is critical to stimulate repair and growth.
Other critical factors that influence muscle growth
99% of the times, if you are not witnessing the kind of muscle growth that you believe you should be witnessing, it’s a badly programmed workout routine, poor form, lack of periodization or a combination of all of this.
But, there are a bunch of other factors that also influence the rate at which we build muscle tissue. Most of this, is well within our control. Some are not.
If someone tells you that Genetics are a lazy man’s excuse for poor work ethics in the gym, ask them to take a good look at some of the pros that have walked the stage. Agreed that most of these guys have insane work ethics, but some of them are built for the sport. Even in the gym or in your social circle, you may have met people who are able to stay ripped year round. People who can build muscle even while putting in 50% effort of what you do. That may be because they are genetically primed to build muscle. While research about genetics and its influence on bodybuilding is still at a nascent stage, one of the genes that does affect our ability to build muscle is ACTN3. This gene produces α-actinin-3, a protein that’s found in fast-twitch muscle fibers, which are responsible for rapid muscle contraction during exercise. That’s probably just one of the many genes that elite power athletes are gifted with. But if you don’t have the genes, there’s steroids.
Since time immemorial, man has sought to amplify their physical and mental capabilities beyond what’s considered normal. In the world of bodybuilding and sports, ergogenic aids such as anabolic steroids and other hormonal derivatives have largely made this possible. But it’s not limited to chemicals which directly help build size and strength either. Diuretics, stimulants, SARMS, Growth Hormones, Insulin and even Glucose, the professional bodybuilder these days uses a potent cocktail of chemicals to gain an edge over the competition.
This is where unrealistic expectations come into the picture. You absolutely cannot expect to lift and grow like a pro bodybuilder or probably your favorite IG fitness influencer. If they are on anabolics or other ergogenic aids, which is very likely, their bodies have an accelerated rate of renewal and repair. Their protein synthesis, RBC production, nutrient parting, everything is superior than a drug free athlete.
If you want to know more about how drugs can influence the rate at which you build muscle, here’s a clinical study that shows the effect of supraphysiological doses of testosterone on three groups of men. The men who were administered 600 grams of testosterone a week, but did not exercise were able to gain 3.2 kilograms of fat free mass in 12-weeks. The men who used the same dose of testosterone with exercise gained 6.1 kilograms instead.
That’s just testosterone mind you, which is the most basic of all androgenic hormonal drugs. Imagine what a complex cocktail of androgens can do. Even someone on testosterone replacement will probably be able to build muscle at a faster rate than a drug-free athlete.
The final and probably, one of the most important cogs of the complex wheel called muscle growth, is nutrition. Someone wise once said that you are what you eat. It couldn’t be truer, especially if you are pursuing a specific fitness goal such as building muscle or losing fat.
Nutrition is one of the aspects that most athletes struggle with. Yet, if you look at it closely, it all boils down to a few simple concepts.
You need to eat the right number of micronutrients, macro nutrients & adequate amount of calories to supplement your workout routine. That’s all there is to it really.
Energy Balance or Calorie Intake – Your calorie intake is the cornerstone of your body’s repair and renewal process. To grow, you have to eat in a calorie surplus. If you are eating fewer calories than what you are expending while trying to grow muscle, you are taking one step ahead and two steps back (for drug free athletes). Always match your total calorie intake with your training. Else, you risk Low Energy Availability (LEA) which affects all aspects of your life.
Here’s a formula to calculate your energy balance – Energy availability = (Energy intake (kJ) − Energy expenditure during exercise (kJ))/fat-free mass (kg)
Macronutrient Intake – At the risk of sounding blasphemous, modern diets place too much emphasis on protein. Protein is the building block of muscle tissue, sure. But the only way in which you can replenish your glycogen and energy levels is by consuming carbohydrates. Similarly, fats will help optimize hormonal secretion, and prevent inflammation.
Here’s a look at recommended levels of these three primary macro nutrients.
- Low Intensity Workouts – 3 to 5 grams per kilogram of bodyweight
- Moderate Intensity Workouts – 5 – 7 grams per kilogram of bodyweight
- High Intensity Workouts – 6 – 10 grams per kilogram of bodyweight
- Elite Athletes – 8 – 12 grams per kilogram of bodyweight
- 6–2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of bodyweight. Source as much as you can from natural food. Supplement the rest.
- Club this with 50 grams of carbohydrates pre and post exercise to reduce muscle breakdown
- Consume at least 1 protein rich meal within 3-hours post your exercise
- 25 to 30% of your total calorie intake should come from fat.
- Recommended fat sources are flax/hemp seeds, cold-water fish omega-3 eggs walnuts &, grass-fed beef.
Micronutrients – Almost everyone these days pops a multivitamin, whether they need it or not. Micronutrients such as Vitamins and Minerals are definitely necessary for a variety of biological functions. That said, if you are consuming enough fresh foods, and your macros are in order, then chances are that you don’t need to supplement it.
Hydration – Water is a freely available ergogenic aid that sadly does not get its fair due. Even competitive bodybuilders sometimes fail to leverage the potential that hydration offers for muscle recovery and growth. 95% of our brain is water. Even a tiny 2% drop in water levels shrinks the brain and reduces our cognitive performance. With respect to muscle growth, adequate water intake is critical for forming protein and glycogen. It helps muscle contraction, prevents cramping, improves circulation and hence, nutrient delivery. Bodybuilders and athletes should make it a point to drink water pre workout, during exercise and after it to replenish lost electrolytes. While the recommended water intake is up to 3 gallons a day, athletes generally need more than what the average population consumes. If you are consuming caffeine for its stimulant effects, you need more water. Some drugs and supplements can also affect your body’s water levels.
Here are two simple signs that show that you are dehydrated.
- Your urine is not clear. Anything other than clear urine indicates a stage of dehydration. Mild yellow urine is mild dehydration whereas apple juice colored urine indicates severe dehydration.
- You are thirsty. By the time you are thirsty, your body is already dehydrated. Ensure that you drink water regardless of whether you are thirsty or not.
The nutritional supplements industry is worth billions. We all love magic pills, don’t we? Each one of us is guilty of popping pills hoping that it will fill the glaring gaps that exist in our nutritional intake. That’s not true though. The right supplements can enhance repair and recovery. But that’s only when you have a strong foundation with the right calorie intake, right macronutrient intake, adequate micronutrients and hydration. Else, supplements will do little on their own.
That said, here are some of the most basic supplements that you can consider if you are looking to address specific areas of your fitness.
- Fish Oil – 1500-2000 mg twice or thrice a day.
- Whey Protein – Depending on your total protein intake. Whey also contains essential Amino acids which can be beneficial in muscle repair and growth
- Creatine Monohydrate – The only safe and legal performance enhancer. 5 grams/day is all you need. No loading phase bull.
- Vitamin D – Incredibly important micronutrient for a plethora of biological functions.
- Nitrates – Gulp a glass of beet juice before workouts.
- Fiber – This is the intestinal cleaner and will also help improve your lipid levels.
As you can see, your choice of a bro split or a full body workout routine aren’t the only things that influence the rate at which your body grows. There are tons of other factors, all of which need to be aligned with your fitness goal, in order to maximize muscle growth.
Here’s a quick summary of what we have covered here.
- Pick a routine that works for your lifestyle. A bro split routine will also work, but is not ideal.
- Pick the right volume, intensity and lastly, frequency. Each muscle group x 2x/week is more than adequate.
- Dial down your nutrition
- Ensure that you are getting sufficient rest.
- Decide whether you wish to use ergogenic aids. (Only recommended if you plan to compete)
- Determine whether you need supplements.
Keep things simple! Don’t get swayed by fancy claims and ad-hoc theories that you read on the internet. Lift, eat, rest, and repeat! Good luck!