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Wednesday, October 17, 2012


How long can you  throttle an engine before it breaks down? Even the most powerful engines need some garage time, have their oil changed, and wheels re balanced.

The bug has bitten you hard. You squat, you deadlift, you push, you pull, you climb, you run, you swing, you jump....all with great intensity..all at varying weights and times. And you love it! Love it so much in fact that you're scared if you missed more than one day of working out you'll magically turn soft and weak.

In the very beginning of opening the gym I had to stress the importance of consistency (funny, this post was written almost exactly 2 years ago). So in one way I'm glad I have to write a post dedicated to telling you all to take time off. I mean how awesome is it that the majority of the folks who go to PSKC are hardcore consistent with their workouts?

But there is a problem....if you never miss a workout, you're in serious risk of becoming OVERTRAINED.

Simply can't hammer your system religiously 4-6 days/week for unlimited weeks. You need rest. You need to recover/rejuvenate/reload. Think of your long term training cycle just like the stock market. Over a longer period of time, we hope to see consistent gains in the market, just like we want in your fitness/performance. However, that doesn't mean it will be a consistent linear mark on returns. To be a long term investor you need to understand to have peaks, you must have valleys. (see below)

But you need to be in it for the long term, understanding that some short term dips in your portfolios are okay. In this analogy these short terms "dips" are what we're referring to as "rest days/deload/recovery".

What happens when you don't let your body rest and heal up? You're running the risk of being overtrained which can ultimately lead to: INJURY

The biggest thing that can set you back in regards to making consistent gains in your fitness levels is injury. If you're stubborn and refuse to take planned "deload" days/week you're increasing your risk for injury.

To get stronger, fast, more awesomer, you need REST.

There are 3 legs on the table that supports awesomeness.

1) Training - this is the easiest part. We handle this for you. We push, pull, squat, deadlift, swing, climb, sprint, run, row, jump (you get the picture). We do them at varying distances and time lengths. And the most important part is that we do things you don't like to do. (cough D with deadlifting..cough..cough..Dale with running).

2) Nutrition - a bit more difficult, but once you learn HOW to eat (don't eat dumb sh!t), it's just a matter of having the discpline NOT to eat the dumb sh!t. Click HERE to learn more.

3) Recovery - this is the 3rd and equally important part of the triangle. It's the least sexiest one of the three and for some of you psychos out there it's the most difficult one to uphold.

So if you're training right AND allowing proper recovery time. This is basically what happens with your body and how you get stronger. The workouts are like a punch in the face, a shock to the system, a stress (good stress). Your body starts breaks down as a result of the stress, you allow ample time for your body to recover from the stress impacted upon it, there is a period of "supercompensation" where your body/mind goes from Clark Kent to Superman, then you dominate your next training session and the cycle repeats as my dad always says "onward and upward".

However, if you're traveling down the path to overtrained this is what is happening:
Boils down to too many stresses over a period of time and not enough recovery/supercompensation. Click HERE to read more.

How can you tell if you're getting close to becoming overtrained? Here are some signs to look for:

  1. You're losing motivation to train ("getting through it" vs. "crushing this m@therf@cker")
  2. You're feeling "under the weather"
  3. You're not sleeping well, feeling restless
  4. You haven't had a great workout in a while (no PRs and/or not making gains)
  5. You're constantly sore from workouts and your joints ache

"If you're gonna be stupid, you better be tough"

If you're experiencing these signs take some time off. Use common sense, take some planned days off (2-4), get some rest, allow your system to reset and come back hungry to train. If you don't do this, you will get injured. And you won't be able to pinpoint the exact time you hurt something (back, elbow, knee, hip, whatever), it will be the result of an accumulation of weeks/months of consistent stress without adequate time for recovery. Then one morning you go to get the Folgers in the coffee maker and boom your low back is locked up and you can't unfold yourself.

Somethings to help boost your recovery:

  1. Eat an anti-inflammatory diet (see above). 
  2. Take anti-inflammatory supplements (fish oil, KillCliff)
  3. Mobilize yourself. When's the last time you stretched or did joint mobility at home? If you don't know the answer you're wrong. 
  4. Take planned rest days and even deload weeks. And yes that means you. If you've been hammered by coming two days in a row and you're wicked sore, take the next day off! Even if you see the workout and it's one of your favorites, take a seat on the bench champ, you'll need it. There's a reason why Wendler's 5/3/1 program calls for a deload week every 4th week from heavy lifting. Jim is a "lifer", he's been there and done it. Don't think you're smarter than someone like him take his advice. 

Some folks are advocates for a 3 days on/ 1 day off cycle or a 5 days on/ 2 days off cycle. Some folks preach taking one week off of training for every 6 weeks of hard training. I'm not that dogmatic in the approach. It boils down to the individual and what capacity/level they are on.

It's really simple, don't be stubborn, be smart and listen to your body. If you're feeling run down, take some days off, get fresh so you can come back more awesomer.

I promise if you take 3-5 days off your body won't turn into mush, you won't lose your strength and capacity. Odds are you'll be stronger and more hungry to be awesome.

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