Relaxation and Some Thoughts

Relaxation and Some Thoughts

Nov 30, 2012

For the week, I’ve done a lot of relaxing and haven’t really lost any weight.  I’ve been getting tons of deep sleep lately.  So much so that I almost don’t wake up from my alarm.  I am talking 10-11 hours on the weekend without even trying.  I am not sure what this means.  All I know is that I have a lot of energy all the time and that feels great.  Its a possibility that my body is still in a state of recovery from the months and months of heavy and hard training I’ve put it through.  I am OK with that.

I think that strength athletes enjoy the work involved in gaining strength.  The work can feel like therapy, intoxication, or (in my case) makes me feel the most alive.  Somewhere along the way, we can get it in our heads, a mindset that more work = more results.  This can’t be further from the truth.  There is a law of diminishing returns.  We can perform so much stress in the gym that we can stagnate in our training, lose strength, or hit that wall/plateau.

I recently had a conversation with another athlete about taking some time off.  He didn’t advise it.  He said that I had to continue so I didn’t lose any strength.  Well, I know that is going to happen.  That is just common sense.  This guy probably only has his next competition in mind, but I am set on longer term progress.  I look forward 5-10 years.  I don’t want to be so beat up with scar tissue and joint issues that I can’t have the career I want in this sport.  So if taking a month off heals my body and keeps me in the gym longer over time…I am going to do it when I am able to.  The last time I took a month off, my next competition I pressed a 10 kilo or 22 lb personal best with no increase in bodyweight.  This took me from a national caliber bench presser, to a world class bench presser.  I believe that these rest periods give our bodies a chance to catch up with the volumes, workloads, and stresses that aren’t meant for our bodies to handle.  It is absurd to think that we can’t break from the training we do.

Bottom line (if you take anything from this post, take this point) is that if you can’t recover from what you put your body through, you won’t grow, or get stronger.  There is recovery from micro sessions (daily training), from meso-cycles (1-3 months), and macro level training (yearly training lengths).  Have a plan to recover from all.  Sure we can recover from daily training fairly easily through sleep and diet.  Meso cycles may only require a week or two of rest.  Macro cycles may need a month or two.  Am I saying that a month off every year is required for you to get stronger?  NO.  What I recommend you start thinking about is how you will approach your recovery for the long run.  Haven’t taken time off in a few years?  Well try taking a month off after your next meet.  When you come back to training, ease back in slowly.  It may be the thing you need to help you grow stronger.

I’ve been out of bench press training for about 2 weeks now.  Strangely, I feel that I have gotten thicker and seemingly more muscular (even though I haven’t gained ay weight).  Coincidence?  I think not.  Just an adaptation of taking some time off after over a year of stress to the body.

Sometimes we have to take 2 steps back so we can take 3 steps forward.

I still got a week of light squats and deads, followed up by a week of light bench pressing before getting started again.  The next competition is the 2013 IPF Arnold Classic Pro Bench Press Competition.

Got some ART and Graston done on my back and triceps this week.  Releasing scar tissue now, so problems don’t flare up in the future.

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One comment

  1. I could not agree with this post more, Brady. I had a lot of problems taking off any time earlier in my career, and had experiences with both mental and physical exhaustion. You burn out without time off! I cannot stress enought the importance of leaving well enough alone.

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