In my opinion taking a good week off is as important as
training hard for 12 weeks! Each and every aspect of living this lifestyle has its
benefits and you should never deprive your body of any of it – let alone rest. Many
people fail to progress simply because they over train and send their body into
‘’burnout’’ mode. To help avoid this I strongly recommend having a week off
after every 10-12 weeks. Below are the main reasons why I feel this is totally necessary.
Within your central nervous system you have
neurotransmitters which act as the signal bearers between your brain and
muscle. When you ask the muscle to move a weight in a specific manner it is
your neurotransmitters which send the signal for the muscle to do so. However, these signalling elements of the CNS
can and will become depleted if they are not allowed to recover sufficiently. This
means that your workout intensity will become sloppy and the quality of muscle
contraction you achieve will be poor – studies suggest a 7-10 day break allows
the CNS to replenish these neurotransmitters with a good diet.
The ligaments, tendons and attachment points within your
joints become tired after weeks of resistance training – as a result small
micro-tears can potentially develop. Unlike your muscles, connective tissues
take a while longer to recover simply because the blood flow into these areas
is very limited. By taking the 7-10 day rest from the weights your body is able
to recover any partial tears more thoroughly within your joints.
Taking 7-10 days off to re-focus the mind towards the task
at hand can be a great thing to do! So often people go to the gym with no idea
of their real intentions or goals, they just train blind. As a result they
become bored, frustrated and begin to stop training. During the 7-10 day break
try and ask yourself if you are training towards the goals you desire, the
goals that will make you happy. If not, you need to change your training and
diet to ensure you are mentally engaged once again with your efforts in the
When you are constantly pounding your muscles with intense
workouts the nutrients you eat are used to recover and rebuild the muscle. However,
when you take a few days off to recovery properly and sustain a clean eating
schedule you instantly allow the body a surplus of high quality macronutrients
to accelerate your progress. During the time off it is a good idea to really
eat plenty of food, just make sure it is the ‘’right’’ food.
There are four very solid reasons why you should consider
taking a good break from your training every few months at least!