Personally, I believe that fundamentally recovery is the most important factor if you are going to stimulate muscle growth. If you cannot recovery you cannot grow, that is a very simple concept to grasp! Eating the right diet and using the correct supplements to promote recovery is easy enough, there are ‘guidelines’ as to what quantities 95% of people need. However, it is harder to know when you need time off the gym. Taking time off the gym every now and then is vital; in fact it is totally productive and if you don’t then you are going to prevent your entire body from recovering properly. Here are 5 reasons you should take a week off the gym every 12-14 weeks!
This is the most obvious reason, and it is potentially the most important reason! Sometimes you can feel as though you have a small niggle there or an irritating little ache here and this is often due to lack of rest. If you can imagine once your muscle fibres are broken down your body has to rebuild them. After doing this continuously for weeks it can sometimes find it hard going, and you end up failing to recover as you normally do. This is when the aches and pains can begin to creep in. It is at this junction whether or not you decide to take a week off or work through it. Logically, you need a week off because your body can focus on repairing any minor niggles instead of having to focus on the muscles you have just obliterated in the gym! This is a very simplified explanation, but it does enough to show you why a week off every few months certainly helps!
The majority of gym goers only understand the concept of ‘muscle’ opposed to ‘body.’ Every time you contract a muscle, which should be every repetition you complete in every set, in every workout, in every week your CNS is put under stress. This is fine, but there comes a point where it needs some time to recover, just like your muscles do! Do you ever feel as though you can’t get a pump? You just can’t get that ‘contraction’ in the muscle you normally do? Well that is probably because your CNS needs a rest. Remember it is our CNS which basically connects as all together! Treat it well and it will treat the rest of your body well!
Sometimes you will find that you’re getting a bit bored, fed up and loosing interest in your training. This is often after a few months of hard training! You don’t need to give up, instead stick to the diet and take a week off weights. This will leave you feeling hungry for more and before you know it you will be itching to get back in there!
Connective tissue recovery
Your ligaments and tendons can take longer to heal than a muscle simply because the blood flow into these areas isn’t normally as good. Blood is our transportation system therefore if the flow of blood is limited; the rate of recovery will be slow! This is why it pays to take a week out sometimes to enable your connective tissues to recover properly!
FitMag Top Tip - 'if your joints are sore, try putting ice on them for about 5 minutes. This will force the body to flood the area with blood to help heat the area. As a result the nutrients in the blood will help promote faster recovery!'
If you have had a solid 3 months training, your diet has been bang on and you have used all the right supplements having a week off will enable you to reach the next level. Why? After months of training and dieting your testosterone levels can in fact become suppressed, so by having a week off they will rise again. When you start back next week your strength should be better, your endurance should improve and so should your rate of recovery. All in all, your body is now primed to grow again!
If you’re thinking you may need a week off, take it, kick back and learn some new workouts on FitMag and then get your head back into it next week!