Taking Time Off
I have rarely spoken with a TRUE veteran trainer, or trainee that didnít understand the importance of taking periodic breaks from training to let the body (and mind) heal from the onslaughts of training. It is very rare indeed though to find a relatively new trainee that understands the importance of doing so. In fact, to talk to many about this topic, brings to light how TOTALLY OBSESSED many lifters are, but that is a topic for another day.
Many of these guys are totally convinced that they will shrink to nothing if they take a week off, that strength will go down XX% (you name it, I have seen the number-lol) and they will seriously hamper their progressónothing could be further from the truth. Most people actually come back as strong, or stronger after a week off, and those taking two weeks are usually close to as strong as they were before the break, and some will still come back as strong, or stronger. Yes, after 2-3 weeks, SOME people find a little, and other a significant strength decrease, but it is usually caught back up in a couple weeks. And then the trainee is in much better position to go all out again.
For some people it is needed after about 6 weeks, and for others 8, 10, 12, or even once every 16 weeks is the right time. But if you havenít taken a week off after 16 weeks of all out training, you are fooling yourself if you think itís not needed. Are there any ways to avoid this time off? VERY LOW volume work can circumvent the need for some people, as can a very sound intensity cycling format, but for the most part itís just a necessary part of the game, and if you really think you will lose a big chunk of size and strength during a one week hiatus, you more than likely need to see a sports physcologist-lol.
What should you expect during this time off, and how should it be spent? Well expect that you are mending your body some and will be growing during the time at least a little bit, maybe a lot. That means your diet should not go to hell, and if you are on an extended cycle, you keep your PH, or gear levels at least reasonably close to what they were. Eat good, sleep good, take a break from the mental output needed to go all-out in the gym, and enjoy yourself. You are doing your body a great favor, and it will repay you with increased dividends for your effort-and lack of effort during the time off.