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What is a "break"?

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Old 12-02-2010, 09:21 AM   #1
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Default What is a "break"?

I have increased the intensity of my exercise to a point that is not sustainable long term. Plus I'm getting up at 4:40 in the morning to do it! Definitely not sustainable! 5:00 I've handled for a year, but 4:40 is still night time. LOL! My plan is to keep up with this unsustainable work until Christmas, about a four week program. I may extend it through my Christmas break because I'll have a lot of extra time, so I guess it's a 4-6 week plan. In any case, following this time period I plan to take a "break".

What is a break to you? A week with no exercise? A week with little exercise? A week of vegging on the couch? I haven't taken a break since I began this program a year ago. I have what I call a "baseline" of activity which has become very routine and easy for me. (Thus the need to go extreme) It's spinning M/W/F and lifting T/TH. Should I revert to just that for a week?

Does anyone have any suggestions or thoughts? I don't know how to relax.
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Old 12-02-2010, 12:46 PM   #2
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minimum of one week.
NO EXERCISE--- walk, at a strolling pace, not a brisk pace, and you can stretch/foam roll (this is actually a great idea-- will help aid recovery)

You will not lose even one little bit of your fitness taking a week to 10 days off, and will probably in fact, make GAINS by allowing your body to fully recover from a year of hard work.

Taking a spinning class is not taking a break... only lifting 2 days is not taking a break.

sleep in a little, go for a walk and stretch before work or at lunch time, and thats IT.
and you wont gain weight from not exercising for a week...this will be good for you, psychologically, when you realize it. Just make sure your food is spot on, and maybe drop the cals a little more than you would normally eat, and i think you might see a HUGE drop on the scale by the end of the week Seriously--- taking a break will allow your body to relax and let go of a lot of water weight and inflammation in your muscles and joints, and may also trigger some more fat loss, because your body wont be as stressed
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:09 PM   #3
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Yeah my break and relaxation is AFTER exercise hahahaha. No, serioulsy I too have a baseline or foundation for exercise that allows me to feel good physically and mentally and why ruin in it. If you are feeling especially tired or weak, then take another day of no exerise. Enjoy feeling good! Great job with your Dedication btw!
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Old 12-02-2010, 01:40 PM   #4
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Mkroyer, you've just described my perfect world! LOL! Yoga, relaxation, and poundage lost. Is there anything better? Merry Christmas to me. LOL! There is a yoga class at the gym I always forgo for other things. Maybe a couple classes will do me good during my break. I've taken the class once so I know it's not hardcore. It's pretty relaxing. Great suggestions, thanks!

Twimmomma, you've been pretty dedicated yourself! 605 miles completed? Wahoo!
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mini goals: ~211-10% lost;12/24/09 ~203 class I obesity 1/28/10; ~199 Onederland/15% 2/19/10; ~188-20%; ~185 half way 5/14/10; 179-bye 180's 6/12/10; ~174 overweight 7/3/2010;169-bye 170's 8/13/10;~164-30% 10/23/2010159-bye 160's~11/1/10; 153-35%~12/23/10; 149-bye 150's~2/11/11; 145 normal~2/14/2011; ~141-40%; 139-bye 140's ~135 GOAL! (129-45%; 117.5-50%)






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Old 12-02-2010, 01:48 PM   #5
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I think a "break" is whatever you feel you need. In other words...take a few days off of working out completely. If you feel you need a few more...take them...if you feel you'd do better with some kind of cardio...do that. I greatly suggest listening to your own body...it usually has all the right answers!
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:15 PM   #6
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Eliana-- when i took my break from training last spring, i lost 11 pounds in 2weeks! i had not taken even a day off in over 2 1/2 years at that point, so it was LONG overdue! i had been running between 55-70 miles PER WEEK for almost a year, along with 3X week personal training, and spin classess, etc etc..... your classic obsessive overtrainer.

If you have been trainiing for over one year without a significant, STRUCTURED break, then you NEED to take one, whther you *feel* like you need one or not!


One or 2 or 3 days isnt going to cut it.

The first couple days you might feel like you are going crazy, but then all of a sudden, youll get a big weight loss, and youll feel more energized and less run down and stiff, and youll realize that you are doing something great for your body to have long-term success, and it will get easy

i suggest making it as structured as possible, so you dont feel so aimless....
ie; make a plan, foodwise and activity wise. Realize you wont need as many calories, and you wont need as many carbs, so adjust accordingly. Plan on walking for 30 minutes a day when you would normally go to the gym ( or take a yoga class or whatever) and then dedicate 15 or 20 more minutes that would normally be spent exercising to stretching, foam rolling and mobility work. The foam rolling is key and will help your muscles and joints recover by encouraging them to release all the stored water and fluids from inflammation. Do some basic mobility exercises followed by stretching, and then call it good. Stay active, but dont turn everyday activity into workouts! Dont start sprinting up your stairs just to get your HR up...that defeats the purpose of the break..

Im not joking when i tell you you will likely lose a lot of weight if you committ to at least 7 to 10 days. It wont be FAT, necessarily (maybe a little)

You will also be rewardedc with an increase in performance when you start up again
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"All the Secrets of your foundation shall come to light.... and when you lie, uprooted and broken in the sun, then shall your lies also be separated from your truths" Nietzche

"I do not workout. I TRAIN.
I do not eat. I FEED.
I do not sleep. I RECHARGE.
My greatest fear in this life is the fear of being ordinary
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Personal Bests

MARATHON- 3:58
10K- 44:42
1/2 Marathon - 1:50:48
5 miles - 36:12

Last edited by mkroyer : 12-02-2010 at 06:17 PM.
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Old 12-02-2010, 06:45 PM   #7
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I can't imagine not exercising for a week!

Over the summer I work out way more since there's more light and I'm biking, hiking, kayaking, swimming, etc. Now I'm walking 30-50 minutes twice a day, yoga a couple of times a week, lifting my weights, too.

Monday I took a break the whole day, yesterday I got my morning walk but not my evening. Today I'll get my evening walk, but not my morning. Tomorrow and this weekend I'll bike and hike.

Unless you are injured there's no need to stop for a week.
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Old 12-02-2010, 07:23 PM   #8
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seagirl-- that is actually precisely WHY we need to take recovery weeks from exercise-- to keep FROM getting injured.

The general guidelines for someone who trains aggressively is a recovery week every 8 to 10 weeks, although this of course varies based on the individual. Fitnees gains and muscle growth are made during rest and recovery-- we are not even talking about the importance of recovery for fatloss, either

just a few of the effects of NOT taking appropriate recovery/training breaks:
-Decrease in performance
-Decrease in desired body composition
-Decrease in sleep ability
-Decrease in strength
-Decrease in immune system
-Increase in stress
-Increase in sensitivity to mental and environmental factors
-Increase in fatigue
-Increase in stiffness and joint pain vs DOMS
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"All the Secrets of your foundation shall come to light.... and when you lie, uprooted and broken in the sun, then shall your lies also be separated from your truths" Nietzche

"I do not workout. I TRAIN.
I do not eat. I FEED.
I do not sleep. I RECHARGE.
My greatest fear in this life is the fear of being ordinary
."
Personal Bests

MARATHON- 3:58
10K- 44:42
1/2 Marathon - 1:50:48
5 miles - 36:12

Last edited by mkroyer : 12-02-2010 at 07:31 PM.
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Old 12-02-2010, 08:00 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mkroyer View Post
The general guidelines for someone who trains aggressively is a recovery week every 8 to 10 weeks, although this of course varies based on the individual. Fitnees gains and muscle growth are made during rest and recovery-- we are not even talking about the importance of recovery for fatloss, either
WOW...I find all this quite fascinating! One question though...what exactly constitutes "training aggressively"? 1 mile/day, 3 miles/day, 10 miles/day, etc.? That is where I believe the basis of advise comes from. If the OP does not train as you do (which is impressive, to say the least) would she really NEED to take off an entire WEEK and do nothing...nada...no exercise whatsoever?

I don't believe most people run 75 miles per week. If I did that, I'd take 2 weeks OFF and have a slice of pie whilest I was doing it! lol!

I stick by my advise...LISTEN TO YOUR BODY...IT KNOWS MORE THAN YOU THINK...and it usually (barring any medical problems) communicates quite well with us...we just need to learn how to LISTEN. It'll let you know when you need to do nothing! Just my opinion though

Enjoy your "down" time...however long it may be!
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:01 PM   #10
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Eliana, thanks for posting this. I've been thinking about a break as well.

Over the summer, I think I verged on overtraining. I was running about 25-30 miles/week. I know others run/exercise far more than that, but one of the things about overtraining -- you don't have to be a marathoner or ultramarathoner or a decathlete to overtrain -- you just have to do too much for your body at that point in time.

Anyway, I kind of know deep down that I need to take a break before I start a "formal" half marathon training program in January. And MK, you've sold me on it. One week! Walking, gentle yoga and a foam roller, here I come!
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Old 12-02-2010, 10:26 PM   #11
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"Breaks" only really work for people who train hard though, am I correct? Running 4-5 miles twice a week and doing an exercise video/body weight exercises 4-5 times a week (with one day "off") is hardly strenuous, especially considering my age and fitness level (moderate, and I feel fine).
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Old 12-03-2010, 05:16 AM   #12
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This thread has been really interesting and helpful to me.
From my experience, although I don't exercise to anything like the intensity of mkroyer, I've learnt that taking time off to completely rest has been what I've needed and my personal trainer has insisted on it.
Two weeks ago I started struggling at the gym. My usual workout routine is:-
Mon - Bodytone Class followed on with Step Class (1hr 45mins)
Tue - Gym cardio workout (treadmill run, eliptical etc (1hr plus)
Wed - Gym warmup followed by Step Class (1hr)
Thur - Gym cardio & strength workout (1hr 30mins)
Fri - Personal training session (1hr)
Sat - Step class (1hr)

Mid week 2 weeks ago I suddenly felt really tired during my workouts, not bored, TIRED. I watched the clock through the whole of my workouts for a week, felt exhausted and started to have little niggles (an old calf injury flared up, my right knee started twinging).
I got to my personal training session Thur (had been changed from the Fri) and was just done, I had NO energy. So after speaking to my PT I decided I would take Fri-Sun as rest days to hopefully give my body chance to recover. I planned to be back at it Monday.
However due to the worst snow we've had in the UK in 30 years I couldn't physically get to the gym on Monday, so ended up having 4 days in a row rest, unknown for me lol. Tue I made it to the gym and had a brilliant workout, I was really pumped up to workout hard and make the most of the time I had there, and didn't want to leave. I actually ran my fastest 5k on the treadmill by almost a minute.
Then again due to the snow I've been unable to go to the gym since...
My weight has thankfully stayed pretty stable, the niggles have gone and I'm excited about working out again. I'm hoping to be able to make it to step class in the morning but if not I'll deal with it.
This last 2 weeks has taught me though that I can survive without my usual exercise routine and that I need to listen to my body much more than I have done.
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Old 12-03-2010, 01:05 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thesame7lbs View Post
but one of the things about overtraining -- you don't have to be a marathoner or ultramarathoner or a decathlete to overtrain -- you just have to do too much for your body at that point in time.

Anyway, I kind of know deep down that I need to take a break before I start a "formal" half marathon training program in January. And MK, you've sold me on it. One week! Walking, gentle yoga and a foam roller, here I come!

^^^^
This

What is overtraining for you is not overtraining for me, is not overtraining forher, ya know?

On the other, the point of taking the structured break is to PREVENT overtraining.... not as fix FOR overtraining, although this as well....

For myself, its more about aggressive STRENGTH training that requires me to take breaks... not so much the running....
I know Eliana does a lot of lifting...

also, the MORE conditioned and fit you are, the more OFTEN YOU SHOULD BREAK.
I know that probably seems backward....but highly conditioned people put a LOT of stress on their bodies to maintain/improve upon that level of fitness. People at really low BF levels, or athletes working towards performance goals work on progressive training schedules with the breaks built in.... take your basic marathon training program... you build mileage and intensity for a few weeks, then take a step back/recovery week...... repeat
when you STOP getting better, faster, stronger, LEANER etc... it is time to take a break and allow your body to recover fully, so that you can continue to progress FORWARD
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"All the Secrets of your foundation shall come to light.... and when you lie, uprooted and broken in the sun, then shall your lies also be separated from your truths" Nietzche

"I do not workout. I TRAIN.
I do not eat. I FEED.
I do not sleep. I RECHARGE.
My greatest fear in this life is the fear of being ordinary
."
Personal Bests

MARATHON- 3:58
10K- 44:42
1/2 Marathon - 1:50:48
5 miles - 36:12
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Old 12-03-2010, 02:19 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by joyfulloser View Post
WOW...I find all this quite fascinating! One question though...what exactly constitutes "training aggressively"? 1 mile/day, 3 miles/day, 10 miles/day, etc.? That is where I believe the basis of advise comes from. If the OP does not train as you do (which is impressive, to say the least) would she really NEED to take off an entire WEEK and do nothing...nada...no exercise whatsoever?

I don't believe most people run 75 miles per week. If I did that, I'd take 2 weeks OFF and have a slice of pie whilest I was doing it! lol!

I stick by my advise...LISTEN TO YOUR BODY...IT KNOWS MORE THAN YOU THINK...and it usually (barring any medical problems) communicates quite well with us...we just need to learn how to LISTEN. It'll let you know when you need to do nothing! Just my opinion though

Enjoy your "down" time...however long it may be!
I do train aggressively. Obsessively so. My current unsustainable routine is:

M/W/F:
morning: 45 minutes stair climber and/or elliptical, 45 minute spin class
evening: One hour treadmill walk with incline or swim

T/Th:
morning: 45 minute run, include incline, 45 minute heavy lifting session
evening: One hour treadmill walk with incline or swim

Saturday: 1 hour body plus abs class AND 45 minute spin class.

I WILL need a break at the end of this. Plus I have worked out aggressively since last January with no break 5-6 days per week. I have not missed one day. I ran on vacation.
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Long term goal: To still be calorie counting 11/9/2010
mini goals: ~211-10% lost;12/24/09 ~203 class I obesity 1/28/10; ~199 Onederland/15% 2/19/10; ~188-20%; ~185 half way 5/14/10; 179-bye 180's 6/12/10; ~174 overweight 7/3/2010;169-bye 170's 8/13/10;~164-30% 10/23/2010159-bye 160's~11/1/10; 153-35%~12/23/10; 149-bye 150's~2/11/11; 145 normal~2/14/2011; ~141-40%; 139-bye 140's ~135 GOAL! (129-45%; 117.5-50%)






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Old 12-03-2010, 02:26 PM   #15
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Yup take a week off. Maybe go on a leisurely walk or so, max. Your body needs scheduled breaks just as much as you need sleep.

You will feel awesome when you start back up again.
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