Bodybuilding Layoffs

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Taking Time Off From Working Out

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The personality traits which drive us to bodybuild and weight lift can also be traits which make it difficult for us to succeed at the endeavor. It is easy to get wrapped up the notion that time off from training is time that you are losing from making gains in muscle and strength. This may be hard for some people to believe, but I went for several years without taking regular, scheduled layoffs from training. I had lost site of the reality that regularly scheduled layoffs are necessary to allow your body and mind time to recuperate.

How long and how often should you take breaks? It depends on the individual, but I've found that I need a full ten days of no weight training every 4-6 months. The first time it was really scary for me, but I had no choice. I was coming off of minor surgery and a 2 week layoff was inevitable. A few months after my layoff, I set a few PR's (Personal Records) on the bench press and squat. My gains that year were better than the previous two. I had nothing to contribute it to other than the 10 day scheduled layoff every 4-6 months.

How can you tell if you need a break?

1. Constant sore joints.

2. Lack of progress in spite of consistently hard training, good nutrition, and quality rest.

3. No desire to go to the gym.

Those are the three that I always look for. They typically start popping up every six months or so. I make my last training day on Friday and then don't come back to the gym until a week from the following Monday. I usually do some cardio work in the mean time though to avoid getting to chubby. Plus, I'd go nuts without a little exercise! ;-)

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