Q: I’ve heard that some people just automatically take a week off from all of their lifting after about 8-10 weeks. I’ve been lifting a short time and don’t know whether to do this or not. What do you guys think?
A: Well, it’s a good question and very valid if you were to have been training longer than 4 months. But you really have not been training long enough to warrant taking a full week off. You could change your training routine to reflect more time off during a given week, but to take a whole week off might knock you out of your rhythm, particularly if it’s going well. And that’s the real measuring stick for taking time off: Are you doing poorly in the gym? Have your weights dropped rather than gone up? Do you feel fatigued and look smaller or softer? These are the reasons to take time off. Some say you can take time off after 8 or 12 weeks, and some say you absolutely should do it. We think it’s dependent upon how you are doing in your workouts, and how you look and feel. Boredom is one thing, and if that’s the case, then you need to find ways to invigorate your workouts, not take time off. We do think that time off is essential for experienced or competitive lifters. Gains come quickly after a week off, so definitely try it out once you have at least 6-10 months under your belt. And only do it if you really feel like your energy, enthusiasm, or results are slipping.
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