I know taking a solid week off of heavy training is important to break plateaus and continue to make gains and grow but how often should someone take time off? I am talking about someone who trains persistently and heavy.
Listen to your body.
When I was a CrossFitter, I could always tell because I would struggle to improve. If I went a few weeks without going faster/heavier/better, I was overtraining. I had all of the other normal symptoms at this point, especially poor sleep quality.
If you do more conventional lifting, then plateaus are not necessarily from overtraining. I always time myself between sets. Normally, It's to slow me down to the appropriate 2 minutes. When I'm burning out, I feel like the clock is pushing me when I'm not ready. I also just generally don't want to be there.
Usually, I take one week off about every 3 months.
Or 12 weeks.
You know your body better than anyone, so whenever you feel exhausted and weaker, just take a good week off. Especially when you see a decline in the weight you've been doing.
But be sure to enjoy the break and hit it harder when you get back to the gym.
It's better to take a break when you feel like you need one than to keep pushing it. If you burn out your CNS it will take a much longer time to fully recover than had you just taken a week off earlier on.
You know what's weird... I'm powerlifting for like 2 months, and have not plateaued at all. I'm going up 3% every week without missing a beat. Yet, I'm lethargic lately, so I'm taking a week off before going right back to my current schedule.
Usually my performance diminishes before I lose my drive, but I guess there's a first time for everything. It's so hard to waste a week when you're hitting new records
^^ Yeah, unfortunately, I think I may never make it that long. I'm already thinking about going back to CrossFit. I can't help it; it's like crack.