When you are incredibly into your training and you feel that you are getting results, taking a break from the gym is often the last thing on your mind. No matter what you will want to get in the gym and push yourself to the limit. It is this mindset that makes champions and helps you to achieve your goals.
Unfortunately, in my opinion it is this mindset that can also run you into the ground and lead to the opposite of gains. There are times in any athletes career that they may be forced to take breaks from training. Some may try and force their way through these times and train anyway. This is not the solution in my opinion.
You need breaks from training in order to avoid overloading your body. You can’t sustain non-stop training with no breaks.
There are 3 main reasons that should lead you to taking a voluntary break from the gym in my opinion. These are things that I regularly see people training through and just trying to ignore through training harder. In most cases this doesn’t help at all.
So here are my top 3 reasons you should take a break from the gym.
One of the main mistakes I see people making in the gym is training through illness. There seems to be this whole concept that guys who go to the gym are somehow too manly to get ill or let illness stop them training. They see it as some weird sign of weakness and believe they can just train through it.
What they don’t realize is that your body needs rest in order to fight off illness. Your immune system will be doing all it can to help you recover but if you are putting all of your bodies energy into lifting weights then your immune system cannot do its job properly.
What’s more I cant think of many places that have more germs and bacteria than a gym. The amount of guys who will touch the bars or dumbbells without washing their hands is unbelievable so bacteria and germs will spread so easily. This will make getting better even harder.
So no matter how much you may not want to admit it, you are human and you will get ill. It will be far more beneficial to take a week off the gym and get better than try and train through it and just make yourself progressively worse.
Feeling run down –
It is a feeling that many of us will be familiar with. Feeling ‘run down’ can be caused by many things. It could be stress, lack of sleep or over-exerting yourself.
When you feel run down you often feel lethargic, heavy, moody and slow to react. It can affect your work, your relationships, your health and your training.
When you are feeling like this I seriously recommend having a break from the gym. It is most likely that it is over training that is causing this feeling in the first place. A week off the gym will revitalize your energy and leave you desperate to train rather than dreading it. This more positive mindset will help you train harder and feel better.
When you are no longer making gains –
Most peoples reactions to plateaus in training is simply to train harder. This may not always be the best option. Sometimes the reason that you have stopped making gains is that your body is too stressed to put focus on creating more muscle. If your CNS is over-taxed and your body is put under a lot of pressure through work, lack of sleep, training and any other things you go through in life then its natural reaction is not to build muscle or drop body fat as that will be counterproductive.
Taking a break from training will revitalize the body and mind and put it in a far better state for making gains than when it is battered.
So if you are in one of these 3 situations why not take a week off. Relax, enjoy yourself and come back ten times harder.