This week I have been training like an absolute demon. There is nothing better or more motivational then leaving the gym after a highly productive session. Setting new personal best's on nearly every exercise and increasing my reps at the same time - that's what effective training is all about. So seeing that I am on such a great run at the moment, it seems funny that I will be taking a week off from the gym. I feel more energized in the gym and stronger then I did 4 weeks ago, so why would I be taking a week off now?
It's not just physical
When we think of recovery, we often only focus on muscular recovery. We take some time away from the gym in the hope of letting our muscles recover, which is well and truly recommended when you are feeling run down. We cannot train effectively for an extended period of time, and if we do try and push the envelope we will always end up breaking.
The next step up from the standard muscular recovery is system recovery. Here we are focusing on our system as a whole. Whilst you might not directly train your biceps everyday for example, you are training hard ether the less and your system on a whole is working. So whilst individual muscle groups are able to recover effectively (or to what you feel is an acceptable level to train again), your system on a whole is struggling. For me, when I start getting a cold, or just don't feel on my game I know I need to take some time off.
Well right now, I feel great. Granted I have a few slight aches and pains, but with the physical gains I am making I can more then put up with it for a few more weeks. So why then am I taking a week off now?
Don't forget Mental Application
Basically, I just want a rest. Mentally I am not as fired up as I was a few weeks ago and whilst I am making some awesome gains, I am just not into it. I believe that you first need the 'desire' to train to get the job done properly. Without desire, if you keep pushing your limits at the end of the day you will only do yourself damage. Not physical damage either. Physically, you will recover pretty quickly. But what I am talking about is all mental. Keep pushing it when you really don't want to train, and you could end up resenting training all together. If that happens, instead of being away from the gym for a week or 2, it might be 2 or 3 months, maybe forever - and that will be more detrimental to your physique then anything!
So I'll have a week off, let the thinker upstairs recharge and come back bigger, better and more focused then ever. If you have similar goals to me, remember to schedule recovery times too - your physique will thank you for it.