When Listening To Your Body Doesn’t Work

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“Hey coach, when should I be taking a break from training”?

“Just listen to your body and you will know.”

I see that conversation played out a lot on the internet and in the gym, and while I agree with its concept, I don’t think it is always implemented or carried out properly.

Since your undies are already in a bunch, let me explain my reasoning.

On occasion, people will tell me that they just listen to their body when it comes to deloading in their training or taking a day or two off. I see several problems with this. The first is that some of the peoples will take copious amounts of preworkout mixes, or a load of caffeine before they lift. This can effectively override your CNS, inhibiting your body’s ability to tell you that something is wrong. That is the point of preworkout, after all: To over stimulate your body. Constantly taking a bunch of preworkout supplements will prevent your body from telling you it is time to take a time out until it’s too late, leaving you on the bench for weeks.

This argument usually comes from those who think they are doing some sort of Bulgarian Training. Bulgarian is great if you are loaded to the gills on PED’s, and if you are loaded to the gills, you will not be doing “Bulgarian” for any real length of time.  Some have even claimed that Russian lifters such as Klokov and Misha do not take scheduled deload weeks, which Marshall has verified as being a lie, since he has personally trained with those kinds of athletes.

I think that everybody wants to do Bulgarian training: Maxing every day with no real rest days. It would be great if we just could just max all the time and see gains with no injuries or need for rest. That is a fantasy world, however. You can look at Bulgarian lifters; they washed out of their own programs pretty quickly because their bodies broke down. On top of that, they couldn’t even compete because they were on so many PED’s.

You might be living in a fantasy world to think that scheduled deload weeks are a bad idea, you are probably not as advanced of a lifter as you think, and a week of light lifting can be tremendously beneficial for you.  When brand new lifters are told to “listen to their body”, what are they supposed to be listening for? They might not know the difference between DOMS and a real injury that is going to affect them down the road. By waiting until something is wrong to fix the problem, you have just screwed yourself over. Taking schedule time off (Even when you don’t think you need it) can offer some benefits to the mentality of your training as well. Going light for a few days can leave you mentally hungry and prepared to hit it hard in the following weeks.

Is it better to take a break when you are operating at 20% and you feel destroyed, or is it better to hit it hard for 2-4 weeks, and take a scheduled deload week, regardless of how fine you think you are? You know my opinion already, I look at the results and longevity of athletes who followed scheduled deloads. How about you?  Leave your opinion in the FB comments.