Having one of these things alone may be a sign you need rest, but having more than one of them means you really should take some time off. Don’t worry though, “time off” doesn’t’ necessarily mean you have to stop going to the gym.
Ways to Take a Break
Now that you know whether you need a break or not, here’s a few ways that you can take a break and give your body the needed rest it deserves. Obviously the easiest way to take break is to take time completely off. Yes, I mean stay away from the gym completely. Take about a week to just eat well, get good sleep, and REST. This tends to be the most difficult for serious lifters to do but if you have never done it before, doing so will really rejuvenate you. I definitely suggest this for those of you who may have never taken any sort of break before.
Another way you can take a break is to partake in “active rest.” To do this, simply do other forms of low impact, easy exercise for your time off. If you’ve been lifting, do some walking, stretching, light swimming, easy biking, etc. Do things to get the blood flowing but do not do anything challenging or strenuous. Some people literally don’t know how to do this though. They only know how to workout hard. So for those people, I suggest just taking the time off completely.
The last way you can take a break is to “deload.” This means you go into the gym and do your typical workout, but decrease the load you use. You can also do this by decreasing the amount of sets you do or the amount of exercises you do. The goal here is to just do significantly less than usual. This option is good for those who just can’t make it a week without hitting the gym. But, just like the last option, some may not be able to pull back enough. Once again, these people should use the first option and just stay away from the gym for the week.
So, if you haven’t take a break for a while and are experiencing any of the signs discussed above, do yourself a favor and take a break. Take some time off. Relax. You will feel better and will once again be excited to hit the gym once it’s over. You won’t lose all your gains. In fact, you will perform better after you take the time to rest. Even if you are someone who is not experiencing the signs shown above, it is still a good idea to take a break or deload every 6-8 weeks or so. This will make sure you are always fresh and ready to give the gym your best!
Bookmark this article so you can reference it later and share it with a friend that you know needs to take some time off! Remember, rest is your friend, especially when you’ve earned it.