T Nation

What Happens After a Week Off?

I am curious how a week out of the gym affects others. I hope I am not the only one who ever takes a week off.

Every so often my workload keeps me in the office from 8 AM until 8-9 PM, and I’m too spent for a workout after that sort of day. This can go on for a week or more. Other times I have to go out of the country for work, and those trips just are not conducive to a workout routine and normal feeding schedule. Sometimes, I plan a week off after a 4-6 week program which has left me feeling like my joints needs a little extra recovery time.

After the week off, I have lost weight. My appetite doesn’t drop noticeably, when I’m not in the gym, but when I am busy or out of town, the feeding schedule suffers. I know the weight loss is due to catabolism, and all it takes is a week and I’m down a few lbs.

I just came back after a week off, and I am down from 170 to 164. I bike a lot in the summer, so I’ve been consuming about 3500 calories a day. I have a detailed spreadsheet log of what I eat and when. I developed it using the principles I’ve learned here over the past few years.

It’s not just the weight loss, but how surprisingly quick it happens for me. Some people’s bodies burn fat and retain muscle, and I hate those people. My body’s preferred energy source is lean mass, so even when I am taking handfuls of BCAAs several times a day, I end up losing those hard earned gains way too fast.

Please share your experiences with this, especially if you’ve found an effective way to minimize losses.

my genetics must be horrible because my muscles love to atrophy at the first chance they get

if i take a week off it screws me up mentally, my reps/maxes are decreased and i’m way more sore

this is why i do a upper/lower split and hit it hard 6 days a week

Unless you just finished dieting for a competition or your workload is truly so hectic that you can’t even find 45min in a day to work out, there is no need for regular time off like that. I doubt most of the people on this board are training with enough intensity on a daily basis to even warrant taking a week off for no reason. If it weren’t for recent surgery, I would have been easily able to claim that I haven’t taken an entire week off in about 10 years.

I guarantee those who have made the most progress here are the ones who DON’T plan time off like this. Some spend more time worrying about how NOT to train than they do actually training.

With that said, I can understand 12 hour days and how stressful that can be. I also know people in the military who worked longer shifts than that who still made it to the gym so I am very skeptical when someone claims their work day keeps them from training.

I personally hate taking a week off. When I broke my collar bone last year I didn’t even take a full week off. I took just a few days to get past the point where it was constant pain all day long then I was in the gym with my shitty sling doing leg presses, leg curls, etc.

When I get a nagging tendon or joint pain I may just switch the routine to some really high rep stuff for the muscle and avoid heavy for a couple weeks or just drop whatever movements seem to cause pain in the area and substitute them with other movements. Basically - taking time off sucks.

Just looking at what you wrote, I wonder, can you keep your feedings a little more accurate by buying some protein bars and throwing them in your desk/suitcase? Not ideal, but seems like it would help. Maybe up your calories on your week off somewhat?

I was forced to take a week off as I prepared to move across country (moved home, no gym, moved to Tennessee, had to find a gym). I felt a lot better after it. I magically got stronger on upper body movements, but my lower body stuff went nowhere or regressed.

Why not just use the work/hectic time as a deload week? Drop the volume, keep the intesity up and get in and out of the gym quick. It might work better than taking a week off on a regular basis.

well it all depends how much you want it. do you want to get up an extra hour early so you can get in the gym at 5am when it opens?

whatever, people will be strict but its understandable that as you get older and acquire more responsibilites you will have less to spend on hobbies.

not everyone is going to be a bodybuilder, so i think whatever if youre getting in there as much as you can without it consuming your entire life then good for you cause youre still doing more than most.

i dont take time off just to take it off. ill adjust if i need it though. i usually just reduce the CNS impact of my lifts by taking it to high reps with a reduction in intensity for a couple weeks. your situation seems very different from all that though.

I train almost constantly throughout the yr;
however come Dec 1st, I stop all weightlifting an cardio for the entire month of December an go back in the gym on Jan 1st. I usually keep my weight on or gain a cpl pounds of fat, but nothing horrible.Maybe 4 or 5 pounds the most.

When I also go back in I maybe have to start a about 10/15lbs lighter than my last workout, but nothing that can’t be gained back in a cpl weeks an then continue to progress throughout the yr.

I really beleive my month off helps in the long run.

ive had to take about a month of from serious training recently(injuries) and i fucking hate it…that is all.

I hate normal off-days, nevermind taking an entire WEEK off of lifting. I think I would go insane, or, GASP, start ‘periodizing’ my training and calculate 70% of RM and wave loading, and all sorts of bullshit people like to messing about with instead of actually lifting weights.

WHenever I take time off, it’s usually because my joints are just suffering a bit, and I’m hoping a little rest will be good in the long run.

Strength wise, I always seem to come back a little stronger, and size wise, even though I imagine that I’ll turn into a fat bastard, my muscles are usually fuller, and rounder (probably fully recovered for the first time in a while -lol).

I don’t think time off really hurts you overall, unless you either pig out like an animal, or, eat so little (thinking that you don’t need as much food)that you don’t support the lbm that you do have.

S

I look in the mirror and tell myself that I’m getting fat. I start tearing myself apart and reach the point of self destruction. Ya, old GB doesn’t do weeks off.

I find my intensity suffers past 5 weeks, so I take a week off to do only cardio and some accessory exercises that need work.

Thus far, it’s worked pretty well; I’ve always broken PRs on the week back because I feel refreshed and not sore or achy in any way.

I usually drop a few pounds on that week off too, but it’s really only water mass - as soon as I start lifting again it comes back the first day and I start gaining again.

[quote]machiajelly wrote:
I find my intensity suffers past 5 weeks, so I take a week off to do only cardio and some accessory exercises that need work.

Thus far, it’s worked pretty well; I’ve always broken PRs on the week back because I feel refreshed and not sore or achy in any way.

I usually drop a few pounds on that week off too, but it’s really only water mass - as soon as I start lifting again it comes back the first day and I start gaining again.[/quote]

I am going to make one point and leave it at that. That one point is not meant as an insult to you.

However, your profile lists you as 180lbs at 6 foot 2 and that you have only been training one year. If that is correct, maybe a little less time off is in order.

What I don’t get is how so many of you who have seen little in the way of results as far as gaining muscle mass…run to be some of the first to respond to posts asking for advice. How does that make sense?

[quote]Professor X wrote:
machiajelly wrote:
I find my intensity suffers past 5 weeks, so I take a week off to do only cardio and some accessory exercises that need work.

Thus far, it’s worked pretty well; I’ve always broken PRs on the week back because I feel refreshed and not sore or achy in any way.

I usually drop a few pounds on that week off too, but it’s really only water mass - as soon as I start lifting again it comes back the first day and I start gaining again.

I am going to make one point and leave it at that. That one point is not meant as an insult to you.

However, your profile lists you as 180lbs at 6 foot 2 and that you have only been training one year. If that is correct, maybe a little less time off is in order.

What I don’t get is how so many of you who have seen little in the way of results as far as gaining muscle mass…run to be some of the first to respond to posts asking for advice. How does that make sense?[/quote]

You got the guts that I lack… I want to point this out in about every second thread I read…

i was in spain for two weeks. fun trip, but sucked when it comes to being able to train.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
Unless you just finished dieting for a competition or your workload is truly so hectic that you can’t even find 45min in a day to work out, there is no need for regular time off like that.

I doubt most of the people on this board are training with enough intensity on a daily basis to even warrant taking a week off for no reason. If it weren’t for recent surgery, I would have been easily able to claim that I haven’t taken an entire week off in about 10 years.

I guarantee those who have made the most progress here are the ones who DON’T plan time off like this. Some spend more time worrying about how NOT to train than they do actually training.

With that said, I can understand 12 hour days and how stressful that can be. I also know people in the military who worked longer shifts than that who still made it to the gym so I am very skeptical when someone claims their work day keeps them from training. [/quote]

The last thing you said there, what you are skeptical about, I completely agree with. You work a 12 hour day and are tired when you get home, I understand that, but to me it’s just an excuse not to train. Lots of people claim they are to busy to train, but very few actually are.

Also I pretty much never take a week off training unless a serious illness strikes, I still make good gains in the gym.

[quote]The Mighty Stu wrote:
WHenever I take time off, it’s usually because my joints are just suffering a bit, and I’m hoping a little rest will be good in the long run. >>>[/quote]

That little voice is telling me my right shoulder would thank me if I listened to this. I have never taken time actually off except for injuries. If you have to take regular off weeks within your first few years then you haven’t learned how to plan your training yet in my opinion.

[quote]Professor X wrote:
I am going to make one point and leave it at that. That one point is not meant as an insult to you.

However, your profile lists you as 180lbs at 6 foot 2 and that you have only been training one year. If that is correct, maybe a little less time off is in order.

What I don’t get is how so many of you who have seen little in the way of results as far as gaining muscle mass…run to be some of the first to respond to posts asking for advice. How does that make sense?[/quote]

No offense taken; I know I’m still a noob, but I haven’t been pussyfooting around in that year - starting at 155 sucks.

What would you suggest doing instead if the intensity is waning? Only deloading?

[quote]machiajelly wrote:

What would you suggest doing instead if the intensity is waning?[/quote]

I would suggest you ask yourself how badly you actually want this.