Take a Break Ė Gain some Mass
By Scott Conroy
In the world of athletic training and bodybuilding, there are two kinds of people: Those who train, and those who train hard. Ė There is no mistaking the two, and itís pretty obvious where most of the population lies.
For the other 1% of people (an extremely rough estimate, as Iím not staring any statistics in the face while I type this) that actually want to see progress from their hard work, week after week of intense training takes its toll on our bodies, most specifically our central nervous system.
Itís no secret that when a muscle is worked that it is actually being damaged in the process. Muscle growth only follows the period of recovery. Ė Sure, you probably have your workout setup allowing for optimal recovery time, but what about minor pulls and tears that can hinder your training in the long-term? They may not cause you any problems right now, but just when you least expect it, they will.
Iíve experimented with all types of rest periods, and Iíve come to discover that for me personally, I actually see not only extreme recovery and repair from a week off of the gym, but I see GROWTH! I come back bigger and stronger than I was the week before. Ė As bodybuilders, isnít that what weíre trying to achieve in the first place?
Taking a week off to rejuvenate after every 9-12 weeks of intense training not only proves beneficial to your muscle recovery, but also to your hormonal levels such as testosterone and cortisol.
Scheduled breaks are a great way to de-stress. I tend to plan my breaks around vacations, trips, family holidays, and long weekends as to really take full advantage of my recovery period. Scheduling your time off in advance is a great way to stay focused, and gives you a goal to work towards. Rather than training week after week with no end in sight, you now have a time frame to accomplish it in. This is especially great for those of us who donít take part in the competitive aspect of bodybuilding or powerlifting.
Additionally, and perhaps even most importantly, taking forced weeks off allows you not only to reflect on the importance of training and living a healthy lifestyle, but it reminds you of how much you love it!
So do yourself a favor and give it a rest! Youíve earned it.