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Benefits of Time Off From Training

Hello,
I’d like to get people’s feedback about the benefits of taking time off from training. For how long do you take a break,(days/weeks), and how often do you take a break? Do you find there are IDEAL times to take a break? Finally, do you notice any differences when you return to the gym? Thanks for the advice…

Good topic for a thread. I usually go hard for 6-8 weeks and take a full week off. I feel refreshed when I come back. Just a litle more sore than usual the first couple of work outs. But I usually grow some during my off week b/c my body gets a chance to fully recover.

Also, whenever I feel like my body is telling me to take a break, I take one but if its not a planned one, it will be a 1-2 day break. If you have been training for a while, you will learn to listen to your body and respond accordingly. Dont confuse this with being lazy and taking short cuts though, there is a big difference.

Hope this helps, good luck Bro,
AA

[quote]Lorne wrote:
Hello,
I’d like to get people’s feedback about the benefits of taking time off from training. For how long do you take a break,(days/weeks), and how often do you take a break? Do you find there are IDEAL times to take a break? Finally, do you notice any differences when you return to the gym? Thanks for the advice…[/quote]

Personally I find that I will train hard 5-6 times a week for 3 weeks then I will alow myself to take 3-4 consecutive days off. When I return to the gym my strength and energy levels are through the roof. I also notice that my physique will be noticeably different on the second and third days off after the 3 weeks. The rest at this point really allows my body to recover and “super compensate.”

KCB.

I would usually say a week long break is good every three months. Along with that, it’s easier to break up the year in training phases.

The sick part is for me, if I take three days off in a row I start to feel guilty and force myself in to the gym. So I’ve never really stuck to my week off rule. :slight_smile:

I agree with the gentlemen above. Every 3 months or so take a week off. On my week off I do things, play ball, walk, rock climb, whatever, but I don’t lift.

AA was completely right. If you are feeling like its break time, take one. A day or two, come back and hit it hard after. There is nothing wrong with this, actually will improve your workouts. This is no excuse for laziness or not sleeping or eating right. “I slept bad and dont wanna work out so break time” is not acceptable.

I think time off is vital for physical growth and mental rejuvenation. In line with some of the above posts, I usually take 7-10 days off every 12-16 weeks. Since I tend to compete about twice a year, it works nicely that my time off will immediately follow a show. For the other times during the year, I think AA hit it right on the head…Listen to your body

4-5 years ago when I was 19 and just starting to train seriously I would never take time off as I felt like I would fall behind. So I just blasted on and as a result my progress stagnated and my motivation drooped. Now when I feel the little knicks and dings starting to take their toll and/or my hunger for the gym is starting to subside on a consistent basis, I know the time is near for a break.

Up until this year, during my breaks I would still try and do some cardio sessions to keep my endurance high. I’ve decided to scrap that, and now when I take a break I do nothing training related for the designated break time. I’ve found with this new approach that continuing to eat clean and sleep well are the real keys to keeping my endurance. Not to mention, giving my mind and body a complete rest from any/all aspects of training is very beneficial for me. In fact, I just came off of a break and this is the beginning of my 2nd week back and I feel great. My endurance is surprisingly good for only the 2nd week back, and my strength isn’ bad either. Usually it takes me about 2 full weeks to get back to where I left it at.

Bango

Jack Reape has written quite a bit about this topic. For maximum recovery he recommends waving intensity and volume seperately and have a deloading week after 3-4 weeks.

Check out this great article of his Cycle, Peak, Taper, Dominate
http://www.T-Nation.com/readTopic.do?id=741658

I usually train hard for 8 weeks, then take a week off. I find that I don’t lose anything during the rest period and if anything, I grow a bit during that time as my body has a chance to fully recover and rest for 7 days with no stress placed upon it.

Eight weeks is just an approximation…I can usually tell when it’s time to back off the weights when I start struggling to complete my last few sets with a weight I could normally handle easily.

Ditto with the posters above, but also from a different perspective on benefits, a week off is always a good way to realize:

  1. There are other things to life besides the gym and training; and

  2. If you cannot imagine what in the world you would do with that free time you gain from not going to the gym… umm, you need to develop a few more life interests.

Kuz

Sorry search function is not working for me right now.

Do a search for the Article “Back Off and Grow”

[quote]Kuz wrote:
Ditto with the posters above, but also from a different perspective on benefits, a week off is always a good way to realize:

  1. There are other things to life besides the gym and training; and

  2. If you cannot imagine what in the world you would do with that free time you gain from not going to the gym… umm, you need to develop a few more life interests.

Kuz[/quote]

What???! Nevaaah! :wink:

I think if you gain the ability to TRUELY listen to your body, then you’ve got it sussed. I don’t actually try to timetable it - because there are so many fctors that will influence when you need that break.

One could have maybe up to 2-3 completely stress free months, where you can afford to sleep well and eat crazy amounts of quality food. If you feel good, keep going.

If you feel ill or overtrained (or both, like me, and with a broken foot no less) then give it a rest till you feel like you can do some hard gymmin!

My big problem is that when I take a break - my diet tends to go down the pan…

:slight_smile:

I just got finished with week 3 of CW’s Hybrid Hypertrophy when I took a week off to go camping, showshoeing and fishing in Alaska. When I got back, I intended to repeat week three of HH with the same weights and reps. It was too easy. I increased the weights on all of my sets of three. I thoroughly endorse a week off.

I’ll give you a little different answer…First, I do build in to my training varying levels of intensity, and will change the type of lifting I do. However, once every year and a half or two, something will happen in my life that I will use as an excuse to put lifting on the back burner. It could be work, injury, family, etc. Anyway, I will end up not lifting, or lifting only a few times for 3-4 weeks. What happens is I return to the weight room with renewed vigor. It only takes a week or two to return to my previous condition, and then a few weeks later I will totally break through any plateaus I was facing before. Food for thought.