I started lifting weights about 17 months ago. I spent over a year working out 5 days a week. I didn't rest unless I was injured. I pushed and pushed and then one day, after about 13 months of training, I looked at myself in some pictures that were just about a year old. What I saw was pretty much the same thing I was seeing every morning in the mirror. Not much had changed despite spending a year working out.
I started doing alot of reading at places like http://www.bodybuilding.com, http://www.discussbodybuilding.com, http://www.burnthefatinnercircle.com, and http://www.global-fitness.com and I realized my mistake. I thought my body would change in the gym. What I found out is that my body changes more when I'm resting than when I'm working out. Rest is an important component of a body transformation program. It is why everyone tells us to get enough sleep. At the same time, it is why we are told to take a rest from lifting every 12 weeks or so.
I had always noticed that I would have little aches in my knees or shoulders, but I always took that to mean that I was sore from working out. When I took my first one week break I quickly realized that the aches were due to working out alright, working out constantly without rest. The one week off was hard to take because I was afraid of losing the gains (no matter how small) I had made. When I returned from the one week off I found that things were just the opposite. I was stronger than when I had left. I was able to resume my workouts with even heavier weights. My endurance on the treadmill was even better than prior to the break.
This time will be no different. My aches and pains are gone completely. All my body needed was a little rest. Interestingly, these aches and pains only become noticeable after 6 to 8 weeks of intense training. I've concluded that every 8 weeks or so, my body will require a bit of a break and I plan to give it that break.
This brings about some new expecations from my side.
- I expect to make better gains
- I expect my body to feel better
- I expect to avoid injury
- I expect to get stronger
My goals will be focused on these expectations. Check back to see how I'm doing. Keep me accountable. That's why I write.