20-Somethings - Please tell me again why it's good to take a week off of exercising?

Here we go again
09-19-2008, 01:24 PM
So I'm on day two of not exersising. Tell me again why it's good for me to rest my body when I've been on a plateau?

I'm not weighing myself so I can't tell if there's a difference in the scale. I feel so tired today and I think part of it is b/c I didn't exercise yesterday.

What are the benefits of resting your body?

09-19-2008, 02:20 PM
I don't know anything about the scientific aspect but...

For me it's a mental thing...I eat less when I don't work out because I know I'm not working out. Plus I think it's good to do more with your thoughts than think about weight...it gets so tiring after a while. I like to come home and chill...spend some quality time with my TIVO or something. When I plan not to work out, I don’t feel as guilty as I do when I’m supposed to work out and I just didn’t get around to it.

09-19-2008, 02:50 PM
Seems like maybe a nice walk would make you feel better while still giving your body a rest.

09-19-2008, 03:08 PM
As a disclaimer, this is theory, not practice. I'm still struggling to exercise 3 days or more per week.

But in human biology class, our professor said that it is during rest that muscles repair and grow. But, he pointed out that didn't mean that a person had to skip a day of exercising, instead (and especially with resistance exercise), you should exercise different muscle groups on consecutive days, so if you exercise mainly your legs one day, you could rest your legs, but exercise your arms the next.

Here we go again
09-19-2008, 03:19 PM
My body feels so funny. I havent worked out for two days and I'm more sore now than I have been in the last month! Funny how that happens. I think I may try to rest my body and start again next Monday. I'll do some stretching in the mean time.

Cats tongue
09-19-2008, 03:20 PM
I've never heard of completely not exercising for a week to break a plateau... But then again I'm one of those people who can't go for more than like a day without some form of exercise... or I go NUTS.

I would say switch it up. What in a normal week is your exercise routine? If it's running or walking or something, try swimming or biking. Take up weight lifting. Apparently that's the biggest bang for your buck. I plan to really start up the weight lifting this semester. :) I want some abs!

But yeah, I think the theory behind resting for a week is just to change up your body's metabolism.

09-19-2008, 03:40 PM
i dont think i cud manage a week off....

09-19-2008, 04:47 PM
Well, your not totally "resting" you body, its still working, just less and being able to "focus" on other things besides repairing the muscles you have been working. remember to drink plenty of water and stay within your calories.

09-19-2008, 04:55 PM
Well, truth is, I don't think it's a good idea to take a week off. I don't remember reading that in any thread, but I could have missed it. :)

There are two things about resting your body:
One is when you're working to build strength and muscle. What builds the muscle is the repair phase, not the working phase. So you *must* rest the muscles between workouts if you want to make progress. That doesn't mean not exercising at all, however. You can take a day off, or you can work one group of muscles one day and another group the next day (like doing arms and shoulders one day and legs the next, and so forth). The only group that I know of that you can work every day and still get optimal results are abs/core.

Two is constant cardio. Part A of this is that if you do the same cardio all the time, your body gets adapted to it and it's not as useful to you. If you go to the gym every day, do the exact same circuit of machines, do the exact same 30 mins on the elliptical, then your body is going to adjust to this, compensate for it, and eventually you won't make any progress. Part B of this is that even if you are mixing it up, at some point your body is going to get exhausted and overworked from not getting a day off. So you need to mix things up, even within the type of workout you do, and you need to take a day off now and then to let your body rest and recoup.


Having said all of that, I've NEVER heard of anyone saying take a whole week off, and in fact I think taking a whole week off is hugely counter productive. A week is long enough to lose progress in both weight lifting and cardio, and will make it harder to go back when you do decide to continue.

2 days or 3 at most .. .but not a whole week. Ideally you'd work out anywhere from 5-8 days, then take a day off. Then 5-8 days, then a day off. That way you're rotating muscle groups, you're giving yourself a recovery day, and you're not staying away from it long enough to lose any progress.


Here we go again
09-19-2008, 05:12 PM
I did read that several places. I think I'm going to take two days off and start up again.

09-19-2008, 06:12 PM
Strange I have never heard of it either. I don't plan time off from cardio exercise but there is no question that at least one day each week ends up being too busy for me to get in my normal amount- so that day is my easier day. Even if my weight loss stalls- I am more likely to add in more exercise (moderate intensity) ie extra walk or short bike ride vs stopping for a week. If you are burning the calories the weight will come off- sometimes it just doesn't completely coincide with your higher exercise intensity and food intake. I was seeing fairly consistent weight loss every day or two for a while now I see bigger drops and then nothing for 4 days. So the body and fat loss is just not linear and predictable, I just continue to believe I am doing the right things.

09-19-2008, 11:53 PM
Eleventy million years ago, when I was full-on training in a group with a coach and everything, all the advice available spoke to taking a week off every few months or so (sorry, my memory doesn't extend back that far so I can't remember exactly how often!

BUT, and this is a very big but, that DOESN'T mean totally taking a week off. It means stepping back from the level you are currently exercising at. So we used to go for a reasonably slow jog 5 out of 7 days, and not do any hill work/fartleks/sprints in our "week off". It's an easy week rather than a week off.

I'm with PhotoChick (I seem to agree with you a whole lot, don't I!). Taking a whole week with no exercise, when you aren't sick, doesn't seem like a very good idea. You can lose a lot of fitness in a week. Just ask anyone who's been sick. It takes a fair amount of catching up.

Now go for a walk!

Here we go again
09-20-2008, 01:50 AM
Hey girls! I didn't want to take a week off but I'm glad that i took a couple of days. My body needed it, I was at the beginning stages of shin splints and some other stuff. I did only cardio nothing else Wednesday night. I did nothing Thursday. Today I only did some strengthening. I'm going to do cardio and different strengthening tomorrow. Thanks for all of your help. I've been looking on you tube, I never thought to look there before. It's amazing!

09-20-2008, 06:07 AM
i know that resting for a day or two periodically has been good for me. i'm a little obsessive once i set my mind to something, so i don't really think it'd be possible to not exercise for a whole week. :)

i was sick this weekend (and due to some good advice) took it easy for a couple of days. and it's true, i was more sore/lethargic (sickness aside) when i wasn't exercising...but i was truly refreshed coming back to it. i took 2 days off, 1 lite day and today i was back to my normal. i was pleased to see my weight had dropped tonight when i weighed in too!

i don't know if it works out like that every time, but maybe? i know that it was the right thing for me to do in my situation.

basically...listen to your body--if you are getting exhausted, sick, shin splints etc...modify/reduce your exercise for a few days and see how you feel.

i'm just reiterating some good advice i got from a few other 3fc-ers...hope this helps you too

take care,

09-20-2008, 10:47 AM
I'm so happy that I found this thread. This is the first time in FOREVER that I've taken a week off. I really didn't do it on purpose. I had something to do after work one day, then I got sick for a few days, then had a small procedure done on my foot...so all those factors contributed to just not working out for the week. I feel like I'm missing something (ok, I am!) and even more guilty because people keep commenting on how great I'm looking. I know I'll get back on track, but it's nice to see that a week off won't KILL me and that every now and again, it's not so bad for me.

I'm so glad that I have this place as a resource, too. When I start to feel lazy, it gives me that extra push. Thanks:-)

09-20-2008, 01:13 PM
Alright, the science behind taking a week off goes something like this:

First, remember that fat is simply stored energy. When you're dieting you're creating a calorie deficit from the calories you consume each day to the calories you expend. The only idea of your weight having a "set point" defined by your genetics isn't completely untrue. Your body gets used to weighing say, 250lbs. Losing weight is a stress on your body. That's why when people lose a bunch of weight your body can go into survival mode and sort of shutdown so you stop losing weight. It panics so it's like "wow, we were 250lbs and now we're only 220...what's going on? Are we enduring a famine? Is it the middle of winter? Are we going to run out of energy soon?" so your body slows down your metabolism to conserve your energy (it's back from our caveman days and doesn't have anything to do with whether your weight is healthy for you or not. Your body acclimatizes to being 250lbs so it's not used to only being 220). This is also a reason for increasing your calories during a plateau. It shows your body you ARE getting enough food and not starving yourself.

All resting does is show you're body that no, you're not starving and you're not expending huge amounts of energy to survive. Your fine and your energy stores are sufficient. Essentially, it takes the stress off your body so your metabolism goes back to what it was before and you can start losing weight again.

The other side to the coin is that exercise (especially resistance training) creates microtears in your muscle fiber and you rebuild them during rest. Resistance training is significantly harder on the body than something like steady-state cardio. Your muscle repairs itself and strengthens itself during rest which is why rest is so critical.

That being said, when I hit a plateau I couldn't bring myself to take a whole week off. Instead I did a week of no weight training or HIIT training and stuck with steady state cardio (I almost killed myself from the boredom) and my calories 10%.

Hope that helps. :)