Workout Plan Recovery Week

by Frank
(Salt Lake City)

So I took a week off to recover from a cold my daughters gave to me. Started back up again this week and I feel stronger and better, which got me thinking. Should I incorporate a rest week into my routine? My initial self diagnosis says yes, but is there any science behind this?


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Workout Plan Recovery Week

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recovery is key to improving fitness levels
by: Monica

A week of recovery is a very important variable in any workout plan and can make you stronger, faster, more focused. The cool thing is you can actually plan recovery weeks around sick weeks, travel weeks, holidays, etc.

There is tons of research on this but my favorite writer on this subject is Ian King. This interview says it all!

Your workout plan should feel like surfing a wave. You paddle out to catch a wave. This is the first couple of weeks of workouts that prepare you for harder work (in your case you were just working on endurance, stress reduction, and consistency).

Then you start to ride the wave. This is when you're working on your actual goal of getting stronger, building lean muscle, losing fat, improving speed and endurance, etc.

You make adjustments when necessary to keep riding the wave (this is where a lot of people screw up by being too rigid and boring with their workouts). You are doing great though by listening to your body and thinking about whether you should be choosing free weights over machines, what food you should be eating, and all the other things we've discussed.

If you do everything right you don't fall off the board and you ride out the wave effortlessly. This is your recovery week.

Then you paddle back out and start over with a new wave, a new workout plan (this is also where so many people get it wrong by not progressing to something new). If you think like I do and I suspect you do then you totally understand this fun metaphor.

Sometimes during recovery weeks I do nothing, other times I do only yoga, and other times I just go for relaxing walks. I try to do what feels right for my body.

During the holidays I was on a 6 week plan and after this I took a week just to practice yoga and have fun at the park with the kids. I came back way stronger because of this. I had been struggling with pushups at the end of my workout plan and after a week off was able to do them again no problem. Just keep listening to your body.

I have a hard time taking a week off
by: Jeri

Hi Monica,
I probably should've incorporated more recovery weeks then I wouldn't have to nurse this knee injury (it's getting better). I know you say to listen to your body & everyone's different but how often should it be incorporated? I had a "forced" recovery week last year only because I was sick but I usually feel guilty skipping my workouts because it helps me to deal with stress. I guess I'm always worried about losing my level of fitness not to mention I used to make excuses for not exercising for years & years & I never want to get myself in that situation ever again.

How To Plan Recovery Weeks
by: Monica

Hey Jeri

Great to hear from you again. It's normal to want to go hard all the time especially when you've lost a lot of weight the way you have and have kept it off for some time now. Big losers experience a lot of anxiety and guilt when they take time off from workouts and with good reason.

I mean who wants to go back to being 30, 50 or 70 pounds overweight again especially when you busted your butt to lose that. I know I would feel horrible if I gained my 30 lb back.

The real trick is getting on a plan that challenges you so much that you feel the need to take a week off. Most people just don't ever step out of their comfort zone enough to experience this feeling.

My last workout plan included exercises I had not been doing or had not done in ages. It included equipment I had never worked with more than a few times and was specific to my goal of being able to move with grace on a low flying trapeze.

I had very specific goals and there were weeks when my workouts were so hard I just didn't want to do them but I got through the 6 weeks and then I was so stoked I just wanted to keep going.

This is when my body said NO more. I had planned that into the workout but like a dummy I tried to keep going. So I stopped and gave my body that week of recovery. It's just as important as your workouts if you want to keep getting stronger, leaner, fitter, etc.

Find a workout plan this is going to challenge you beyond what you think is possible. Plan to be on it for 4-6 weeks and build so much intensity into it that you feel the need to take a week off after it's over. If you're not sure what plan let me know and I can recommend one.

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