Do You Really Need to Take Breaks From Exercising?
Discover how a recovery week can benefit you!
So often, when you’re striving hard towards your goal with immense dedication and passion, you can easily over train. Especially if you’re aren’t aware of the signs. Taking a week off after a few intense weeks of working out at home or at the gym can offer your muscles a proper chance to rest, which actually helps to build more lean muscle!
Signs of Over Training
If you’ve never taken a recovery week before, it might take a bit to get your mind wrapped around the concept. Especially, if you’ve been taught that any more than one day off is too much. But, have you ever noticed someone at the gym who works out faithfully, with little time off, that they look the same as they did last year? Or maybe you’re still lifting the same amount of weights you did a few months ago, with no further progress?
That’s because without offering your body time to properly recover, it can plateau or even progress backwards as it becomes weaker, instead of stronger. This is over training. Signs of it include:
- Chronic fatigue
- Low energy levels
- Poor moods
- An elevated resting heart rate
- Poor performance during workout sessions
The body will also become more apt to injuries and illness as your body’s defenses have been run down.
Why Muscles Need to Rebuild
Exercise can place a large amount of strain on your body, and you actually tear muscle fibers, in order for them to grow stronger! Recovery weeks are vital to many training programs, especially if you’ve been training hard. When you lift weights, this begins the muscle-building process and of course, it’s important to not miss a workout that you have planned in order to get the most out of your program. Yet, taking a planned week off is terrific for your body, muscles, and mind to rest and recover fully, before beginning another few intense weeks.
And it isn’t just your muscles that benefits from time off. Both your neuromuscular and immune systems get stressed during training sessions and benefit and grow stronger with time off.
What to Do During a Recovery Week
For those that are training hard, a week off is strictly that. No weights. No cardio. Typically, you’ll want to take every eighth week off. Some will even opt for every fourth, but of course, that depends on how hard you’re working your body and how tired it becomes.
For others that may workout low to moderate intensity, may still enjoy a light walk in the fresh air a couple times during that week without getting in the way of their muscles rebuilding.
This single week off also offers a wonderful mental break so that when you do dive back into your program, you’re refreshed and revitalized. Ready to keep going. And, it also gives you more time to get those errands done, or catch up on more work.
Now, you don’t need to worry that you’ll lose some strength if you take a few days off. Scientists have proven that this simply isn’t the case. But, you will still want to ensure you’re choosing nutritious foods, like high quality protein, to feed your body, and don’t jump off the deep end into Junk Food Land. Then, yes, you will set yourself backwards a few steps.
Let’s put it simply: If you desire to reshape your body, either slimming down or sculpting lean, sexy muscle, you need to do your body a favour and take that precious week off. If not, you may have a challenging time achieving your short-term and long-term goals at any rate.
So, enjoy your scheduled week off and you’ll go back with a new level of motivation next week!