The Art of NOT Working Out…

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So the headline is a little misleading…on purpose. There is really no benefit to never working out.

However, a planned deload or step back can often be a very necessary and beneficial aspect of training. Do not misinterpret as an excuse to lay around and do nothing for a week. After 8, 12, 16 week programs, a week long deload is often prescribed. In the most simple of explanations, a deload is basically a week of active recovery.

During a deload week, one would often reduce their intensity (weight lifted) by about 40-60% and NOT increase the volume (sets x reps) performed. Deloading is simply a short period of recovery. If heavy deadlifting, pressing, and squatting is not typically part of your routine then a deload week is probably unnecessary although I would recommend planning a few lighter loads along the way. Avid runners, would benefit in the same way by monitoring their volume and intensity over a long training program.

If your strength increases stall or plateau, if small nagging injuries keep popping up, if motivation is becoming an issue, take a step back. Do not take time off but reduce the volume, focus on form, implement some newer variations of exercises. Heavy lifting takes a physical toll but for some people it is a mental toll as well. A weak day, or a failed 5 rep max for a powerlifter is much like a couple pounds rising for a weight loss client. We work so hard yet things don’t always go perfectly as planned. The day to day is really irrelevant, its the months towards progress. If you have one bad week on the scale, if you had one weak week in the gym its really not a set back if you don’t allow it to be, if you don’t fall of the wagon.

If reducing the intensity (weight lifted) in a workout doesn’t sound like too much fun to you then as an alternative you could work with the same intensity but keep the volume (sets + reps) pretty low compared to your normal standards.

With your extra time off from working out, spend time foam rolling, spend time identifying flaws in your diet.


About the Author:

Taylor Carpenter is a nationally Certified Personal Trainer, Corrective Exercise Specialist, and Fitness Nutrition Specialist through the National Academy of Sports Medicine. Taylor was featured as a fitness expert in the first publication of NASM's "The Fitness Edge".
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