Friday, 02 March 2012 06:50

When to take a break

I'm a huge proponent of training hard on a DAILY basis. I believe this is the best way to train - or to pursue any interest, for that matter - success in any endavor comes through putting in the hard work and hard yards; and training is no exception to that rule.

But, there are times when you do need a break - and it is important you interpret your body's signals correctly on this one.

A couple of years ago, I used to do a daily routine consisting of pushups, pull-ups and squats - high numbers of each, and I followed this routine daily. This was preceded by some stretching, and was followed by stair runs (another butt kicking exercise) AFTER the workout. After this, I'd go to work. I'd come back home around 6, and I'd do another round of exercise then. Maybe some pushups, lunges - whatever it was, I'd make sure I'd do it without fail, and do it on an almost daily basis (the evening workouts - the morning workouts were daily ones without fail). 

This routine worked well for me for a while, but after a while, I noticed I wasn't quite progressing the way I wanted to on all my exercises. My numbers were staying stagnant, or in some cases, even going DOWN - which was a mystery, since I did these exercises on a daily basis. I mean, how can I NOT get that last pushup in despite doing them in high reps daily? How can I NOT be progressing on my planches, despite working on them religiously? 

And on top of that, I used to feel tired and worn out most of the time, and most of all, I wasn't FEELING like I was on the top of the world after finishing a workout. And THAT is when I decided something was wrong, and I decided to make a change.

I reviewed my exercise routine, which was fine in itself. My diet wasn't ideal - but I was making gains despite that, so I figured I'd start to clean my diet up as well (as a result of which the Simple and Effective Diet was born a few years later). But, that didn't bring about the changes I wanted either.

And one day, I got a bit sick of thinking about it - and simply did nothing for the day. That's right - nothing, except a mild walk outdoors, I did NOTHING by the way of hard exercise. Actually thought about changing my routine up big time at that point, maybe even incorporating weights (something I don't prefer). When your NOT getting results, you start to get frustrated and look for other options, and that is what happened to me as well.

So, took that day off, and came back again to my regular workout the next day. And guess what? I woke up feeling far better and stronger the next morning - despite not having exercised the day before. And I maintained ALL my numbers on my exercises, and felt much better after my workout - much better than I was feeling before I took the break.

Didn't exercise again that evening, but got back it to again the next morning - and guess what - I SURPASSED my numbers on some of the exercises - something I'd wanted to do for a long time, but never was able to.

And at that point I figured that I'd simply take a day off when I was really worn down, since it helped me. So, thats what I've been doing ever since, and making great gains. And that, my friend, is what YOU need to do as well - if you are REALLY worn out from your regular routine, then a break might be in order.

Note that taking a break from a regular, hard routine doesn't mean you sit at home and do nothing by the way of physical activity. The point is to  let you body recover, and one of the best ways to let it recover is by actually doing something - NOT something "hard", but something real light. So if your doing 150 pushups a day along with other things, and take a day off to rest - then you may not do any pushups that day, but take a long walk. Or you may do 20 pushups, some stretching, and then call it a day. I've found that your body actually recovers better when you are in "active recovery" mode as opposed to slumping on the couch in front of the TV.

I talk about more about active recovery in Fast and Furious Fitness - and I also talk more about what you can do on your active recovery days.

And last, but not least, note that it's important to know when you really need a break, and when you are just slacking off. Most people actually need to be working out MORE instead of less; and most people would do great on a daily schedule of exercises (alternate between hard days and light days). Of course, this may vary from individual to individual, but by and large, I have found that most folks these days need to be doing more - not less.

But, if you find you really need a break - then go for it - and watch yourself come back stronger the next day!

Best regards,


PS: I've been receiving some great user feedback as of late - so if you wish to send some feedback my way, feel free to do so! Remember that anything you send to me remains confidential - I may share your feedback in my daily emails, but only if YOU want me to do so!

PS#2: If you don't have a copy of Fast and Furious Fitness as yet, it's high time you got yourself a copy HERE.

PS#3: I mentioned the Simple and Effective Diet in the email above - go HERE to get a copy.