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Workout Boredom and Taking A Break

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created July 19, 2012 at 6:18 AM

So, what do you guys do to shake up your workout routine when it grows stale?

And do you ever just take a couple of weeks off working out? If so, how do you make sure you go back to it?

My mom told me that her doctor once told her that she'd lose weight taking a break, and she found this to be true. Any idea if it is? And why? Is it muscle or fat loss? I don't want to lose muscle.

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on July 23, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I'm back in action and very, very cool! It took just as long to lose the 5 pounds as it did to gain it. No worries, here!

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:22 AM

I feel for you. I hurt my shoulder 6 months ago and my bench and press is still only 70-80% of what it was.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 19, 2012
at 10:00 PM

My box is $120/mo which comes out to $10 per class going 3x per week.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Good man that shouldn't be a problem then bud, I'm sure you will be itching to lift after a couple of days :)

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:45 PM

ahh bad times bro, wish you a swift recovery, and i'm sure you will destroy training when your back, but at the end of the day "don't risk it for a biscuit"

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:44 PM

I'll still be walking and cycling tons. I have to do that. Thank you for the reassurance.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:43 PM

Oh, yeah. I'm very compliant with my eating regimen, and I'll still be doing long distances walking and cycling.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:16 PM

This is not hard and fast thought, the type of lifts, the amount of recovery (sleep, food, protein), volume of lifts, etc all play a role in these windows.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:16 PM

Neal, 7 days is a good average, but it's not exactly that easy. Essentially you lift, tear muscle fibers and get weaker. Then as the muscle fiber repair themselves, you start to get stronger. At some point atrophy sets in and your start getting weaker. Eventually you will pass through the point you started at. Most studies say the initial loss is 5-12 hours. Then the gain peaks 4-6 days after the lifting session. Atrophy would then set in around 7 days, but it's closer to 12 days before you loose all the strength you gained.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:03 PM

apparently within 7 days of not training you lose strength its crazy but then you have muscle memory which will help rebuild and bring back the strength quicker than it took to build up. never fear having a few days of and come back more motivated and ready to Kill It

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 19, 2012
at 05:59 PM

@crowbar....that amount of movement combined with your workouts could very well lead to burnout. Take a break, mix it up, and I think you will feel rejuvinated.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Unfortunately, crossfit is a bit out of my budget right now, but I'll research it and see if I can add elements without taking formal classes.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Okay, I will stick to one week. Thank you.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:42 PM

This is a good point. I may by frustrated with plateaus in gains and plateaus in weightloss. I wll look into strength training programs. :)

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:40 PM

I have been wondering if I have been over doing it lately. I will look into HIIT.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:38 PM

I walk 5-8 miles a day, and cycle abour 40. so outdoor time is incorporated. :) I do want to try kettlebells, It is the routine, you're right.

962f28300ea91e3327d22ccc673fb684

(50)

on July 19, 2012
at 01:21 PM

Need more info as to what you are doing? I'd say-- its summer-- get outside and MOVE! Summertime I do sprint outside, do crossfit workouts outside w/o equipment, road cycle, rollerblade, swim, standup paddleboard, rockclimb... anything to be under the sun, outside a gym, and feel my own sweat. For the sprints and the crossfit workouts, there is a great iphone app called "seconds"- you can organize interval training on there, and it syncs well with your music/ Pandora.

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 19, 2012
at 12:55 PM

2 weeks is too long for a total break. CD is right, you will begin to lose muscle.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 07:37 AM

Thanks! I'll check it out.

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10 Answers

2
Ee2c03bbe9c17e4b2e4a0f99457e279a

(120)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:28 PM

Get outside for a change a scenery. Try trail running, do some MovNat style workouts, take some kettlebells and combine with some hill runs. A lot of the time it's the repetition and routine that gets boring rather than working out. Maybe look at doing a class or joining a sports club.

C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 19, 2012
at 05:59 PM

@crowbar....that amount of movement combined with your workouts could very well lead to burnout. Take a break, mix it up, and I think you will feel rejuvinated.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:38 PM

I walk 5-8 miles a day, and cycle abour 40. so outdoor time is incorporated. :) I do want to try kettlebells, It is the routine, you're right.

2
9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

on July 19, 2012
at 11:46 AM

Try crossfit. There are some criticisms of it, but none that it is boring. I think it is great fun and always different, and provides great results.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:44 PM

Unfortunately, crossfit is a bit out of my budget right now, but I'll research it and see if I can add elements without taking formal classes.

9a5e2da94ad63ea3186dfa494e16a8d1

(15833)

on July 19, 2012
at 10:00 PM

My box is $120/mo which comes out to $10 per class going 3x per week.

1
47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on July 19, 2012
at 06:30 PM

I'm on a short medical break from training, right as I hit peak performance in running and am regularly lifting weights. I so want to get back in the gym or in the running shoes, but I don't want to set myself back. I have gained like 5 pounds in 3 days, but that's cool. I know that once I'm cleared I'll be good to go and usually rests do me well.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:45 PM

ahh bad times bro, wish you a swift recovery, and i'm sure you will destroy training when your back, but at the end of the day "don't risk it for a biscuit"

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 20, 2012
at 12:22 AM

I feel for you. I hurt my shoulder 6 months ago and my bench and press is still only 70-80% of what it was.

47edf681280750c3712a3a56f2eae33b

on July 23, 2012
at 08:27 PM

I'm back in action and very, very cool! It took just as long to lose the 5 pounds as it did to gain it. No worries, here!

1
F0a3e3f17d9a740810ac37ff2353a9f3

(3804)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:29 PM

It's been awhile since I've gone two weeks without training at all, but it's not uncommon for me to go two weeks between weight-training sessions. I do this if I just want to maintain strength, as I gain both size and strength if I lift weights once a week.

So, assuming an adequate diet, you can almost certainly go two weeks without losing muscle, although individual responses vary, usually by age.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:44 PM

I'll still be walking and cycling tons. I have to do that. Thank you for the reassurance.

1
91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:07 PM

Also if your going to have a break make sure your diet is really clean this will allow your body not to put much on if any weight on at all, eat clean live lean!

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:43 PM

Oh, yeah. I'm very compliant with my eating regimen, and I'll still be doing long distances walking and cycling.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:46 PM

Good man that shouldn't be a problem then bud, I'm sure you will be itching to lift after a couple of days :)

1
C45d7e96acd83d3a6f58193dbc140e86

on July 19, 2012
at 01:10 PM

Taking a week to two week off can probably do some good as long as you know that you have the willpower to start back again. The fact that you are considering this probably is a sign that you are overtraining (or under recovering) and need a short break. There is no basis for losing weight because of taking a couple weeks off of working out. Upon returning, I would recommend mixing up your routine, or scrapping a routine altogether. If you have never done HIIT or something more crossfit in nature, try it a little. My personal preference is to lift very heavy every 6 days, and do several HIIT sessions during the week also. But each person is different.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:40 PM

I have been wondering if I have been over doing it lately. I will look into HIIT.

1
81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 19, 2012
at 12:54 PM

I think you need to find something that works for you. Some people prefer cycling various work outs at regular intervals. This is what I did for years. I primarily lifted weights and ran (LSD). I must also mention that I plateaued and maintained the same level of strength and fitness for years...that was the frustrating and boring part.

I discovered strength training about 8 months ago (which is not what the bros in the gym consider weight training). Using the Starting Strength program, I shattered my old PR's in less than 8 weeks and I set a new PR every time I walk into the gym. I replaced running with long walks/hiking. It never gets boring to go into the gym and set a PR. Long walks/hikes are always fun and relaxing.

I now squat 375, bench 265, and deadlift 395. That is a 1035 raw total. My goal is 1200 raw total at 'natural' weight (I am 5'8" and shooting between 160-165 BW). Despite not running as part of my training, I ran a 5K with a friend who runs all the time. I maintained their pace and finished with a 25:34 time. Not bad for a walker right?

The key for me is as long as I am making progress (measured in increased strength) then training is exciting. Before, my goal was to 'get ripped'...now it is to get stronger. One is measurable, one is not. That has been a huge difference for me.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:42 PM

This is a good point. I may by frustrated with plateaus in gains and plateaus in weightloss. I wll look into strength training programs. :)

1
3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 11:54 AM

For weight lifting I typically go three weeks high weight, low rep (4 sets of 3-5 reps) followed by one week of volume (4 sets of 8-10 reps). I also will take a one week break if I have a big race (I'm also a bit of a runner).

If I am really in a rut I will sometimes do a week of hardcore Crossfit. I typically do not do Crossfit, but it is invigorating to do and really lets me see how the "functional strength" routine I do is providing huge benefits to my general fitness.

For weights cycling rest weeks in occasionally (4-5 times per year MAX) can be very beneficial -- you give your body time to recoup -- but two weeks is too far and you will start to loose muscle. For cardio, you can build intensity weeks into your program where you drop your milage by 50% or more and up the HIITs -- but doing that more than a couple of times a year will stunt your long term efficency (assuming you want to run marathons).

WRT "lose weight taking a break" -- This is probably mostly water weight. your body will hold back water if you are working out and hydrating appropriately. When you stop your cells will start to release it.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:16 PM

This is not hard and fast thought, the type of lifts, the amount of recovery (sleep, food, protein), volume of lifts, etc all play a role in these windows.

91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 06:03 PM

apparently within 7 days of not training you lose strength its crazy but then you have muscle memory which will help rebuild and bring back the strength quicker than it took to build up. never fear having a few days of and come back more motivated and ready to Kill It

81fca18329e68e227cdfef3857bfef96

(1320)

on July 19, 2012
at 12:55 PM

2 weeks is too long for a total break. CD is right, you will begin to lose muscle.

3ce6a0d24be025e2f2af534545bdd1d7

(26217)

on July 19, 2012
at 06:16 PM

Neal, 7 days is a good average, but it's not exactly that easy. Essentially you lift, tear muscle fibers and get weaker. Then as the muscle fiber repair themselves, you start to get stronger. At some point atrophy sets in and your start getting weaker. Eventually you will pass through the point you started at. Most studies say the initial loss is 5-12 hours. Then the gain peaks 4-6 days after the lifting session. Atrophy would then set in around 7 days, but it's closer to 12 days before you loose all the strength you gained.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 05:43 PM

Okay, I will stick to one week. Thank you.

1
91f5be33a7ec9f59a5c528af3c75175d

on July 19, 2012
at 08:07 AM

Yea I like @Andy's answer cycle it, or try a new programme I.e 531 or strength programmes or even add some elements of crossfit just to spice it up and increase the intensity. For a list of new programmes go to www.bodybuilding.com sorry for the link but if it helps you out then I have answered your question :)

1
078f89f5194e97954801fd70d3037dd6

on July 19, 2012
at 06:42 AM

I usually cycle 4-6 weeks of heavy lifting and then 4-6 weeks of lighter weight but high reps. Also incorporate a lot more cardio in the latter. Www.bodybuilding.com has a lot of great workout routines to follow or give you ideas.

Cc3ce03985eac5ebcbb95fc2329f13b0

(7370)

on July 19, 2012
at 07:37 AM

Thanks! I'll check it out.

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