If you’re training for a competition or a race, it’s important to reduce the intensity of your exercise just before the event, otherwise you may not be able to perform to your potential. The same rule applies to any type of cross training, whether it’s cardio or weight lifting.
Adequate rest is also essential if you’re recovering from an injury or any type of surgery that requires you to abstain from exercise for a while. The simple rule is this: follow the doctor’s orders! You may be advised to rest for several weeks or avoid any strenuous exercise like cardio training or weight lifting. If you think you might be ready to return to your routine sooner, check with your doctor to get the all clear.
You may worry that a long hiatus from training will ‘undo’ a lot of the strength and/or muscle gains you’ve made. Yes, it’s true that strength and musculature will decline after a long break from the gym. However, don’t fear! Thanks to a phenomenon known as muscle memory, which you can learn more about here.
How much sleep do you need?
While it might seem that some people can get away with sleeping less than others, all adults need roughly the same amount of sleep. According to the National Sleep Foundation in the U.S, adults aged between 18 and 64 need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night, while older adults (65+) need between 7 and 8 hours.
With weightlifting, some people have a tendency to take the slogan ‘no pain, no gain’ a little too literally. While it’s true that, over time, you need to add more weight to each exercise to maintain muscle growth – a process known as progressive overload – this should never come at the expense of good form. Yes, it’s gratifying to achieve a new record, like a new one-rep max on a deadlift or bench press, but it’s unrealistic to expect to break records in every workout - otherwise we’d all end up benching 2000+ pounds!
Your results are much more dependent on your diet than your training routine. Why? Because you spend much more time eating and digesting food than you do exercises. Not getting enough calories and the right nutrients will make it harder for your body to recover from intense training sessions, which will impede your progress.