“Keep on going and the chances are you will stumble on something, perhaps when you are least expecting it. I have never heard of anyone stumbling on something sitting down.” – Charles Kettering
I hate vomiting.
I rarely get sick. Yet, even when I do I will force myself NOT to throw up because I hate it so much.
A few nights ago, however, I spent almost the entire night heaving over the toilet. It started the night we got back from vacation.
I felt the acid building up in my stomach and within 30 minutes everything came out. The next 12 hours were awful. Heaving and heaving. My body was trying to get rid of something.
Over the course of 2 days I ate nothing and drank only Izze. (I asked my wife for some Ginger Ale to settle my stomach but since we have never bought soda since we’ve been married, she said she just couldn’t do it. Gotta love a wife that’s strong when you are weak!).
Sure, I usually recommend not drinking your Calories, but when sickness comes to town, a lot of nutritional tenants that guide your life go out the window.
What is the result of throwing up for two days?
I lost mass.
Sure, I lost some body fat too which was nice but also I lost muscle.
However, something magical also happened but I’ll get to that in a moment.
Many years ago, I tried to build an online-video fitness company called “WorkIn Gym”. It was painstakingly slow and aggravating.
It felt kind of like this.
One of our advisers, Patrick Smythe, was the genius behind the rebrand of WebMD and he gave some counsel that I’ll never forget.
This is what he said…
“Todd, when you are climbing up the stairs of success it can seem like nothing is happening. That’s because your sights are focused upward and there is an endless staircase above. Sometimes you have to stop climbing, turn around and look down the steps. See how far you have come. It will renew your energy for the climb.”
Those words of wisdom breathed fresh air into my business and we pressed on.
Over the last couple days, when I was flat in bed, I had the opportunity to take stock of my goals and how far I’ve come.
Now that I feel 100%, I am even MORE excited about achieving bodyweight mastery.
4 Benefits Of Taking A Break From Training
1. It Gives You A Chance To Reflect
Are you on the right path?
Sometimes we get tunnel vision and train just to train. Are you training in the right manner?
Is it consistent with your goals?
Here’s a quick check list for an assortment of goals:
Goal: Build Muscle
Training: Bodyweight Training (or weights) that make you fatigue within a lower rep range.
Rest Period Between Sets: 30 seconds (low end) and 90 seconds (max)
Nutrition: Eat Big – Get enough protein, healthy fats to increase testosterone and tons of veggies.
Goal: Build Strength
Training: Resistance Training that forces you to fatigue at an even lower rep range than building muscle
Rest Period Between Sets: At least 90 seconds but preferably more
Nutrition: Not quite as much as the building muscle goal but still more than you need for maintenance.
Goal: Getting Lean
Training: HIIT, shorter workouts that are high intensity
Rest Period Between Sets: Short; 30-60 seconds
Nutrition: Must eat super clean and low carbs (or cycle carbs)
2. It Gives Your Body A Chance To Rest & Heal
Your muscles do not grow when you workout. They grow when you are resting.
Your body repairs the tissue that was torn while working out and you get bigger/stronger.
When you take a chance to rest and heal you give your body a chance to grow.
A lot of people think they need to train harder when in reality their body is pleading with them to take a break.
Over training is a very common occurrence with people that are dedicated to their goals?
How Do You Know If You Are Over-training? These signs might be an indication.
- You feel exhausted after sleeping for 8 hours.
- You are sore all the time.
- You are moody and irritable.
- You can’t do the same workout that you used to be able to do.
- Your body fat is increasing even though you are training frequently.
- You get sick more frequently.
To see a great post on over-training, check out Mark Sissons’ article here.
3. It Prevents Repetitive Motion Injury
My dad is a huge runner. He runs every day at the YMCA.
However, what happens when you do the same thing over and over again for long periods of time?
Your likelihood of getting injured dramatically increases.
Yesterday, he came over because we have a problem with flooding in our basement. Before he left he said, “Oh yeah, my ankles have been killing me. Every time I run they hurt.”
My recommendation? “Take a few weeks off from running and bicycle instead.” I also recommended sitting in the hot tub and tracing the ABC’s with his ankles. Dynamic stretching is one of the BEST methods of rehabbing.
Cross training is important.
In order to progress in one area of your fitness you need to get good at others. This is a whole body approach.
4. It Rejuvenates You
While I was in grade school I was infamous for asking my mom for “R & R Days“. I didn’t need to pretend like I was sick. I’d just say, “Mom, I need a rest and relaxation day. Can I stay home?”
She wouldn’t always let me do it but frequently she would.
When you stop training for a period of time it rejuvenates you and gives you greater energy to tackle your goals.
Remember that growing in strength and muscular size is not an linear equation. Sometimes you have to take one step back in order to take two steps forward.
Every once and awhile take a break. Reflect and renew.
Then you’ll be able to begin again with more drive, energy and focus.