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Why Rest Is So Important

Why Rest Is So Important

Posted by Jarred Popp @jarred_popp on Aug 3rd 2020

Do you ever take a week off?

For some people taking a week off from the gym sounds insane. But what they fail to realize is that proper recovery is one of the most important aspects for growth. Most lifting veterans will already know a majority of this information so this will be a review, but for the people that don't, listen up!

Why is taking a least a week to rest important?

Now I say a "week off" because that has typically been the standard for weight training for years. You may take 4 days off, a week, or 2 weeks. It is all dependent on the person. Weightlifting puts a large amount of stress on the central nervous system, tendons, joints, ligaments and muscles. Overtime this could create a decrease in performance and you could actually lose your hard earned muscle and strength because you are not recovering properly. Taking some time off will also allow nagging injuries like minor strains to fully heal. Most athletes report that after taking a rest week they actually come back to the gym stronger!

When should I take a week off?

Recovery is based on the individual. If you ever feel like you starting to feel unmotivated for no specific reason, you are extremely achy, your lifts or rep ranges are decreasing, or you just can't get past a plateau, then I think it's time to take a break. Some athletes need a week off after 8 weeks of training and some take a week off only once or twice a year. I personally take a week off after every training cycle, which typically lasts 12 weeks. This allows me some time to recuperate before a new routine. Many of you take one to two week long vacations throughout the year. Maybe use this time as your rest period. Although you may not be getting the best nutrition or sleep during this time, take this time to relax and enjoy life. You need to recharge your mind!

Will I lose muscle if I take a week off?

The thought of losing muscle and strength is probably the main reason athletes are afraid to take a week off. They believe their gains are going to evaporate into midair and never return. Trust me, I was that person before! Do not panic, you will not lose any muscle if you take a week off. Only after 3 weeks off will you slowly start to lose muscle, but there are ways to mitigate the loss. You will notice weight loss, but don’t be alarmed, its just water weight. I typically lose 5-8 pounds during my week off. Its because water and glycogen storage have dissipated from your muscles. That weight will come back after your first week back.

Caloric intake during your break

Your body is currently in optimal recovery mode so you want to make sure you are getting all of your calories in. If you are in your building/bulking phase keep your calories at a surplus because you still will be growing during the rest week. If you are cutting I would recommend keeping your calories at maintenance. Now if you’re cutting, you won’t lose any fat during this period, the goal is to maintain your muscle mass during this week of rest.