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Taking Breaks in your fitness routine

Updated on April 23, 2016

“Never Give Up”, “Work Hard, Train Hard” are common phrases posted all over the fitness world. All to promote this idea that slowing down, giving up are not acceptable to fitness lovers. However, I often take breaks from my training, my diet plans and my fitness.

Sometimes I’ll back off my diet, allowing more carbs or just simply not plan out my meals. Other times I back off my gym routine for a day or even weeks at a time. While most trainers and fitness enthusiasts would advise against interrupting your work, I not only indulge in it myself, I recommend it to everyone who has been working towards a fitness goal.

Here's Why:

Fitness Should be Fun

While many, including myself, took up fitness to lose weight, get healthy and build muscle; the process shouldn’t all be blood, sweat and tears. Enjoying watching your body change and become healthier is a huge part of the journey. When it feels like a chore, a job or torture its no longer fun. When it starts to feel like an obligation, take a day, even a week off. Sometimes, all it takes is simply switching up your routine, trying a new workout plan, or new location can get you out of your fitness funk. I often bounce between HIIT workouts, strength & conditioning and mixed martial arts, all to keep my interested and keep my body guessing. This keeps everyday lively and new and rarely do I dread hitting the gym.

Life Gets In the Way

Similar to getting burned out, sometimes life events can get in the middle of your fitness goals. When it comes to holidays, vacations or even school obligations, take a break if you need to. I’ll almost always take a small hiatus so I can fully enjoy my vacations or focus all my attention on my exams. Meal prepping and fat burning take a back seat when I’m lying on the beach or studying textbooks. Don’t let fitness and eating healthy take away from the other aspects of your life, take time away or even modify your regiment when needed.

Bumps and Bruises

The most common reason to take time off is a must; injuries. Always, always, always rest properly when nursing an injury or excessive muscle soreness. When it comes to training never be afraid to rest when you feel unnatural pain. This is not to be mistaken for typically muscle aches and pains from a vigorous workout. Push through tight, achy muscles. But, be cautious when anything becomes bruised, swollen or worse.

Defining Your Break

Before you go out and binge, or throw away all your gym clothes; Put limits on your breaks. Set time limits and even guidelines on what and how you’re going to break from your fitness grind. You never want to lose ground from your progress while resting. To avoid this, it’s good to have limitations. For example, when I am breaking from my meal prep, I hit the gym just as hard as I usually would to keep myself on track and vice versa when I’m breaking from the gym I still eat like I usually do. This helps keep my body in check from losing any ground.

Also, be sure to identify why you feel you are needing a break and work on either the mental or physical reasons why while breaking. If you feel you aren’t making progress, work out the kinks of possible hinders from your progress. If you are battling a plateau, plan out what changes you need make for success during your break.

However, the biggest defining factor to work out before your break is the end. Have an end date or end action that will boost you back into the daily fitness work you have been putting in. If you leave the end open, your week break could end up being a month-long lazy cycle. Set a date and know that after that deadline, you are back in action.

The fitness industry has everyone thinking breaks are for the weak, for those who don’t want it. That could not be further from the truth. I take breaks, many people I know take breaks. Often times, I come back even harder than before after my breaks and end up seeing even better results. In the end, know yourself, know your body and make choices based on your needs only.

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