I'll never underestimate the importance of time off again!

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    I'll never underestimate the importance of time off again!


    Since I started lifting I've gotten really hooked by the iron game, enough so that I very rarely took scheduled breaks away from the weights. The longest I had ever given myself off was 5 days, and after that I was going insane with the need to get back at it. I've come to realize that this is so far from optimal however, as a recent 9 day hiatus from lifting has shown me

    I finished up pct after an m1t/superone+ cycle, and was dealing with a number of nagging aches and pains. While the time off didn't allow for these to fully heal up, it did go a long way to seeing improvements in these injuries. And the biggest plus I've seen is renewed energy levels while working out, as well as some nice strength gains while cutting. I normally tend to see a pretty quick drop off of strength levels while in a caloric defecit, but this time around just about every lift has been improving weekly, even though I've dropped 4 or so pounds in the first 3 weeks of cutting.

    How often do you guys tend to give yourself a break from the vigors of workouts? I'm still trying to get to know my body in terms of recuperative abilities, and when it's time for a rest period. I wasn't feeling particularly rundown before my break, but do feel alot more energetic now that I did give myself the time off.

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    In my first years of lifting I never took time off and got really overtrained. I hung at 167 for almost 2.5 years. I worked up several nagging aches and a shoulder problem that still flares up.

    I started reading more and more on overtraining at it all made sense.

    Now with my work sometimes I'm forced to take a week or more off about every month. I've noticed I tend to keep my strength for longer periods and I can keep my wieght very easily (not hard yet since I'm only 180). This fall/winter I plan on going over 200 for the first time ever.
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    5-7 days off every couple of months definately helps rejuvenate my body.
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    I highly recommend 1 week off after 12 weeks of training, it also helps me get more mentally psyched up and gives me more time to plan changhes in my routine based on how I felt during the previous 12 weeks.
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    I think its a combination of genetics,diet, and lifestyle that dictate how much stress from training your body can take before it becomes overtrained.
    My personal scenario - my bro and I trained together for about a year, diet was spot-on and I was researching and learning everything I could to improve our gains. We did an awesome cycle of 1test/4AD and gained nearly 20lbs...kept it all and strength kept on soaring even after PCT. Here I am feeling like superman, 40lbs heavier than I was only 12 or so months before, finally benching over 300, etc.

    At the time, I was working only 20-30 hours a week, devoting most of my time to diet and ensuring that I was getting 8-10 of sleep every night, etc.

    Then May roles around, I get a new job where Im working 50+ hours a week. Stressed to all hell because its something Im really not into but I know I need the experience/cash. Kept on training as I was used to, but it was tough to eat right and get the right amount of sleep on my wacky schedule.

    In august, tore a chest tendon, messed up both rotator cuffs and my right knee started to bother me. Went from being on top of the world right into over-training land, I didnt even see it comming.

    Now, 8 months later, Im finally heading back to where I was before after a lot of self-prescribed physical therapy and rest.

    I would say Iron Warrior's recommendation is a must, and that's if you're gettng enough sleep, training with the right volume, etc. If you're stressed out, working too much...3 or 4 days off every 4-6 weeks would be ideal.

    BigV
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    Agreed....I take a week off after every 4 weeks. Not only does it let you recover more thoroughly, but it also lets your hormones, etc. get back into the normal range again so that when you start back up, you can kind of shock your body again w/ fresh amounts.

    I wouldn't have it any other way...
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    Hmm, it's cool to see the differing views on the necessary span of time within to take breaks from the iron game, and I can see how this would be a highly personalized thing. I personally work an oddball schedule, where I work 12 hour shifts 7 days in a row, and then have 7 days off. With this schedule it makes it impossible to determine things like maintenance level calories, because I'm usually much much more active during the week at work than the following week off. And at the same time I'm generally better rested the week away from work than the week at work.

    I think I'll try taking a week off lifting once every 2 months or so, and try to coincide the week off with the week while I'm working. It was nice to actually have a bit of time to do things other than lift after work on the last break that I took.
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    Quote Originally Posted by max silver
    I think I'll try taking a week off lifting once every 2 months or so, and try to coincide the week off with the week while I'm working. It was nice to actually have a bit of time to do things other than lift after work on the last break that I took.
    Yes, IMHO that would be a very good idea with your schedule being the way it is...
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    seems like your nervous system resets with a little break
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    In general I used to take time off randomly throughout the year based around vacations, sickness, holidays, and so forth and it usually fit the bill.

    This past year I've been hitting it pretty consistant and only have two 'real' breaks set up. The first was 10 days during Christmas for the holidays and a little surgical work on a hockey injury and the second will be another 8-10 day in June.

    I do though take a 'dead week' every few months in which I follow my same routine lifts, but run a quick and easy workout with less rep/weight stress...it sets me back in mode and keeps me loose. Also, my back is a little banged up from years of being 'me' so if I don't keep a regular workout going it randomly locks up like a motha.
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