When was the last time you took a break from exercise? No, I don’t mean an active rest day where you still exercise but with less intensity than your normal workout.
I mean an actual rest. Where you wake up, take your time making breakfast, lounge in your PJ’s for a while, and take it easy the rest of the day.
Another question. When was the last time you took more than one day of rest per week? Two days? Three days? An entire week?
Most of you probably can’t remember the last time you did that. I’ll be honest, before my week off from weight lifting recently, I couldn’t remember the last time I took longer than three days off the gym.
After finishing round one of Body Earned, James advised everyone to take a week off from pumping the iron. He said after doing an intense program, or usually after about 12 weeks for anyone else doing intense exercise, that you should take time off to let your body properly recover.
I trust him completely, so that’s exactly what I did. Sure, most days all I wanted to do was lift weights and do HIIT because I love working out. I am one of those people that thrive on exercise – It is my lifestyle and my hobby. I love the feeling of endorphins and feeling sore the day after.
However, I knew I needed to let my body recover, especially since I didn’t take a week off weight training after Live Fit. So, I restrained myself from doing anything strenuous. And let me tell you, I am SO glad I did.
There are a few reasons why the break from weights has benefitted me and may benefit you as well.
- I feel stronger. Towards the end of Body Earned, I felt my strength decline. I knew I needed a break, and it showed during my workouts. I couldn’t lift as heavy, but now after the break, I feel stronger!
- I’m more energized. Towards the end, I was also just sort of going through the motions. Don’t get me wrong, James kept each day different which helped a lot with motivation, but I still just needed a break.
- My burn is higher now. How many calories I burned never really concerned me, but I noticed within the first few days of starting again this week that they are much higher. I am burning about the same amount with practically NO cardio.
- It is relaxing mentally. Not having to think about pre/post workout food, what my workout is, when I’m going to workout, etc. was nice for a week or so. It also helped that I was on winter break, so I just got a break from everything.
- Your muscles will grow. When you workout, you are tearing your muscles down. The time that you spend outside of the gym is actually when the muscle repairs and grows.
- It will shock your body. This is especially true for people who have hit a plateau in their training. After your week off, your body will respond a lot better and allow you to break past the plateau that you have hit.
Oh, and that first workout back at the gym will be the best feeling ever.
Have you ever taken a week off from lifting?
Did you feel stronger after?
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