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  1. #1
    Registered User zakkala's Avatar
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    Taking a week off...

    Hiya,

    I'd appreciate a bit of feedback on taking a week off. Here's the scenario...

    Last time I exercised regularly, I was the 'work through anything type' - whether it was cardio when I was losing weight, training for half marathons or weight training, I would train regardless of how I felt and just make myself keep going. I trained through illness and injury when I probably should have rested and while it's great to know that I have the mental strength to do that, I am well aware that it is rather obsessive, and can do more harm than good. Part of it is fear that if I don't go to the gym, miss even just one of my 5 scheduled sessions a week, it will all fall apart and I won't go back (illogical and unreasonable I know), which is a mind-set I'm trying to change.

    So, after 18 months or so off from any sort of exercise I got back to weight training at the beginning of this year. This time, I am trying to do things the right way both nutrition-wise, and training-wise, and listen to my body. After 3 weeks I found I was feeling exhausted and lost focus - so I took a week off (very hard for me) and then got back into things. Now, I've done another 3 weeks training and find myself once again exhausted and in need of a week off, so I'm taking this week off.

    I eat well (2000 calls a day when training, 1800 on these weeks off - aiming to cut body fat), take a multivit, fishoil etc and other than arthritis and asthma am fundamentally healthy. I train on a 5-day split which I enjoy - have previously done 3 day full body workouts but didn't find that as beneficial. I don't sleep well when I'm training for some reason, so the build up of lack of sleep is certainly part of it, but I'm hoping that will improve with time.

    What I'm really looking for, I guess, is an independent opinion as to whether taking every fourth week off is okay or if it's going to severly limit my progress? I know it will slow things, but I'd rather take the time off if I need to (although the little voice telling me to get my arse out there regardless is pretty loud!). Has anyone else had experience of this and if so, did you find you could go longer between breaks as time went on?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
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  2. #2
    No door is safe. CharliC's Avatar
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    A full rest every forth week is a little excessive. However, a deload every fourth week may be a good idea for you. Have a look at this thread for more info.

    I personally take a full week off every 10-12 weeks.

    I do think it's great you're fighting the more-is-more mindse- it's definitely worth experimenting to find a balance that compliments your goals.
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    Registered User hyacinth30's Avatar
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    I would agree that every 4 weeks is a bit much, but I also think its important to listen to your body. So maybe just take it easier that week, or mix up the rep ranges. If you normally go really heavy, lighten it up and go for higher reps.

    Generally I take a week off to rest every 6 months. Other than that, I include regular rest days.
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    Registered User zakkala's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CharliC View Post
    A full rest every forth week is a little excessive. However, a deload every fourth week may be a good idea for you. Have a look at this thread for more info.

    I personally take a full week off every 10-12 weeks.

    I do think it's great you're fighting the more-is-more mindse- it's definitely worth experimenting to find a balance that compliments your goals.
    Interesting article, thank you.

    I agree that a full rest week every four is excessive - I just feel completely drained. Maybe I'm coming down with something this time round; I've had a headache all day too. Or maybe I'm just whining for no reason and need to get over it!
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  5. #5
    Worth it StephanieShine's Avatar
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    Most textbooks and journals will say one week every 8-16 weeks. Personally I find that life gives me my breaks. About once every 6-8 weeks I'll have a hard week at work, extra papers to write, a more social week, a vacation, whatever. Its like a built in rest period. Sometimes if I work through that my body lets me know when to stop, I am generally sore and have a negative mental attitude. This clears up in about a week and I am back and refreshed. I try to do some light yoga during my break week too.
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  6. #6
    Nursing Student SophieM's Avatar
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    I normally try to schedule my breaks around vacations or times I know will be difficult to stay consistent. Thought when I was lifting in the 4-6 rep range, I was tkaing reps more frequenctly just because I needed it. I still made great gains though.

    I'd say listen to your body. If you need a rest, either back off some or take some time off.
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  7. #7
    Registered User blckdragun's Avatar
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    I personally take a full week off every 10-12 weeks. I may go a few weeks extra sometimes but typically 10-12 weeks
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  8. #8
    Gettin' back up again Rowyn's Avatar
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    Just a couple of thoughts. What time of the day do you train? If you are training later in the day/evening, it causes some people to really have issues with sleeping. Sleeping is much more important than most people realize, especially if you are making serious physical demands on your body. I will train at night when I have to (as in an once a week when I am time crunched), but I tend to do best working out in the am.

    You mentioned you eat well, what are your ratios? Perhaps you need to switch it up and focus more calories on good fats or something of that nature.

    Finally, from a medical perspective, when was the last time you had a physical with bloodwork? If you are eating well and taking care of yourself while you are training, you should not be so exhausted after 3 weeks, given that you take 2 days off per week.

    Over the long haul of life, I listen to my body versus sticking to a rigid schedule (which also sets you up for failure if you are an "all or nothing" person). If I am feeling really good and working strong, I may not always take 2 rest days. Other times when I have really been pushing hard and feeling sore, I will take more than that. I don't schedule rest weeks, they usually come naturally every few months or so with a family vacation/wedding or whatever.
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  9. #9
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    Charli beat me to the link I was going to post...

    I deload every 6 weeks or so. (5 weeks on, 1 week light/rest) Seems to do pretty good for me.

    If your body is telling you it's time to do something, do it. Pushing through (in my experience) tends to make it worse, while some time away gives me the recharge I need to get back into the gym and hit it hard when I get back.
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    I think your diet or workout program are not working for you, if you feel "burned out" and ready for an entire week off after 3 weeks.

    I'd re-evaluate your calories and see if you are over doing it on cardio or with the weights.
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  11. #11
    Plain Jane Who Lifts **** kimm4's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by medjen View Post
    Charli beat me to the link I was going to post...

    I deload every 6 weeks or so. (5 weeks on, 1 week light/rest) Seems to do pretty good for me.

    If your body is telling you it's time to do something, do it. Pushing through (in my experience) tends to make it worse, while some time away gives me the recharge I need to get back into the gym and hit it hard when I get back.
    I find that deloading every 4-6 weeks works best for me. I used to go longer, but now I'm lifting heavier then I ever have, it's been over a couple decades and my body needs the break more often.
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  12. #12
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    Thanks for the input everyone - it's great to see what other people find works.

    Originally Posted by Rowyn View Post
    Just a couple of thoughts. What time of the day do you train? If you are training later in the day/evening, it causes some people to really have issues with sleeping. Sleeping is much more important than most people realize, especially if you are making serious physical demands on your body. I will train at night when I have to (as in an once a week when I am time crunched), but I tend to do best working out in the am.

    You mentioned you eat well, what are your ratios? Perhaps you need to switch it up and focus more calories on good fats or something of that nature.

    Finally, from a medical perspective, when was the last time you had a physical with bloodwork? If you are eating well and taking care of yourself while you are training, you should not be so exhausted after 3 weeks, given that you take 2 days off per week.

    Over the long haul of life, I listen to my body versus sticking to a rigid schedule (which also sets you up for failure if you are an "all or nothing" person). If I am feeling really good and working strong, I may not always take 2 rest days. Other times when I have really been pushing hard and feeling sore, I will take more than that. I don't schedule rest weeks, they usually come naturally every few months or so with a family vacation/wedding or whatever.
    Funny you should ask about time of workout actually - I used to workout first thing in the morning (05:00) but found I wasn't sleeping as I was so worried about fitting everything in before work the next day, so I moved my workout to the evening, and although I'm no longer worrying about getting up, I'm still not sleeping well!

    Diet wise I think I'm okay - 2000 cals per day, aiming for 150g protein. Other cals filled by carbs and fat - amounts vary day by day but do get plenty of healthy fat. Overall I'm healthy, just a bit of asthma and arthritis, nothing major - haven't had a full physical for a while but am due to see a nurse for an asthma check etc in the next week or so (and no doubt another lecture about my weight )

    I'm back in the gym this week and yesterday's and today's workouts went well - picked up straight where I left off and increased weights where planned. Also back to not sleeping well, courtesy of being back in the gym! I'm going to try going 5 weeks before my next break as that will fit in with a week I've got off work, but basically I think I'm just going to keep listening to my body. I think it might just be a case that I don't sleep well when I'm working out so might need to take more regular breaks than I'd like - but I guess that as long as I'm still making progress and enjoying it, it's okay.
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    Originally Posted by zakkala View Post
    Hiya,

    I'd appreciate a bit of feedback on taking a week off. Here's the scenario...

    Last time I exercised regularly, I was the 'work through anything type' - whether it was cardio when I was losing weight, training for half marathons or weight training, I would train regardless of how I felt and just make myself keep going. I trained through illness and injury when I probably should have rested and while it's great to know that I have the mental strength to do that, I am well aware that it is rather obsessive, and can do more harm than good. Part of it is fear that if I don't go to the gym, miss even just one of my 5 scheduled sessions a week, it will all fall apart and I won't go back (illogical and unreasonable I know), which is a mind-set I'm trying to change.

    So, after 18 months or so off from any sort of exercise I got back to weight training at the beginning of this year. This time, I am trying to do things the right way both nutrition-wise, and training-wise, and listen to my body. After 3 weeks I found I was feeling exhausted and lost focus - so I took a week off (very hard for me) and then got back into things. Now, I've done another 3 weeks training and find myself once again exhausted and in need of a week off, so I'm taking this week off.

    I eat well (2000 calls a day when training, 1800 on these weeks off - aiming to cut body fat), take a multivit, fishoil etc and other than arthritis and asthma am fundamentally healthy. I train on a 5-day split which I enjoy - have previously done 3 day full body workouts but didn't find that as beneficial. I don't sleep well when I'm training for some reason, so the build up of lack of sleep is certainly part of it, but I'm hoping that will improve with time.

    What I'm really looking for, I guess, is an independent opinion as to whether taking every fourth week off is okay or if it's going to severly limit my progress? I know it will slow things, but I'd rather take the time off if I need to (although the little voice telling me to get my arse out there regardless is pretty loud!). Has anyone else had experience of this and if so, did you find you could go longer between breaks as time went on?

    Thanks in advance for any advice.
    Taking a week off after every third week is too much.

    Maybe you are doing too much too soon. You have had 18 months off from training so you will have lost most if not all of your fitness.

    I think a 5 day split may be too much for you to start off with. Two days may not be enough for your body to recover.

    I think that to begin with you you should do a 3 day full body split. So you will train on a Mon, Wed and Fri. You will have four days off. Then when you start getting fitter you can change things.

    You can't go from doing nothing to doing loads of work.
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