Believe it or not, but taking a week off from working out can help you lose more weight
Remember what the first month of your resolve to get in shape seemed like? That excitement of heading to the gym in your freshly-purchased yoga pants and sports shoes, the will to turn into P.T. Usha on the treadmill and burn all the calories at once, the motivation to channel your inner Arnold Schwarzenegger and lift the of the heaviest weights... wasn't that feeling so great? And it became greater and better with every inch you lost and every kilo you dropped.
But boredom is a virtue just as being fit in life is. Soon, that weight loss hits a plateau; the same workout routine starts seeming monotonous; those dumb-bells seem old and stale; and those machines seem ineffective. And all the efforts to up your workout intensity leads to absolutely no results, even more boredom, and well, your body simply giving up in the end. So much so, that the pain of not losing any weight any more starts seeming more bearable than those muscular cramps and joint aches which you get as a result of overtraining.
If this sounds like your current situation, congratulations! You're just being human in life, and it's time you pay heed to this advice:
You Really Need a Break
As Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara-like as it sounds, but it's true. You do really need a break from hitting the gym. Firstly because the monotony of going to the same place and following the same workout routine amidst the same set of people needs to break. And secondly, because be it in love or in exercise--absence does make the heart grow fonder.
Moreover, Even Science Wants You To
You can blame science for being the vicious third person in your love affair with exercise, but it's really not all that negative.
Taking a week-long break from your workout is actually a thing. Science calls it 'de-loading' and advocates the idea for its super power of helping your body recover faster. According to a study conducted by researchers Jonathan N. Mike and Len Kravitz at the University of New Mexico, recovery from exercise training is an integral part of the overall training program and is essential for optimal performance and improvement.
If You Listen to Your Body, Your Body Will Listen to You
Pain, soreness, and no results are your body's way of conveying that you really do need to de-load. So, stop ignoring the signs, ladies.
Let's break it down for you: Basically, we don't actually get fit while exercising. Those workouts are just stimuli that elevate our heart rate, break down muscle fibre, and secrete adrenaline and cortisol (stress hormone) in the body. The actual work happens while you're away from the gym, letting your body recover and giving it time to repair tissue damage, strengthen the heart and other muscles, and restore depleted fuel reserves.
Now imagine giving your body the whole week to do so. Trust us, you'll come back even stronger and more efficient than before.
The After-Effects Are Even Better
Not only will you feel more energized and fresh when you hit the gym back after a week-long break, but you'll also end up breaking your weight-loss plateau for a while and might shed a few kilos too.
Because you know what? With that break, you haven't just broken the monotony of your routine, but have also surprised your body. So your comeback workouts are going to be hell effective. What more do you want from life?
But Remember, It's a Break--Not a Break-Up
Ladies, don't confuse a week of taking rest for a lifetime of letting loose. Make sure that this break doesn't extend beyond a week. Otherwise it can backfire. According to a report in Huffington Post, putting exercise on hold for more than two weeks can lead to loss of muscle mass and a decline in fitness.
Also, if you spend your de-loading week eating like a maniac and not getting off that couch at all, it'll do you more harm than good. So eat clean during the break and go for a run or a walk in the park while you're away from the squat rack and dumbbells.