Little Pippo Marini working on his active recovery at the Invictus Athlete Camp.

Benefits of Taking a Week Off

Written by Invictus Member Rachel Ragosa

Right about now, most of us are knee deep in our New Year’s resolutions. Whether you want to lose weight, improve your back squat, or finally get that handstand push-up, it takes dedication, hard work, and rest. Yes, I said rest. One of the most overlooked elements in meeting your goals is letting your body rest.

If You Don’t Stop, Your Body Will Make You
I experienced a pretty significant burn out about two months ago. The two-a-days I was putting my body through were too much, and I was not prioritizing sleep and recovery time. I noticed my lifts were going down, not up. I felt tired all the time. I wasn’t getting stronger. I was getting weaker. Predictably, I ended up with a shoulder injury that has taken months to heal. I learned a valuable lesson: you need recovery time. Rest is just as important as activity. Like everything, it is a balance.

Active Recovery
If you choose to take a week off, this is a perfect time to work on some mobility and ‘active recovery’ time. Slow and careful stretching can help push lactic acid out of your muscle tissue and promote healing. Don’t get too crazy with it. This is still a recovery week. Epsom salt baths are another fantastic way that you can relax and recover while feeling productive. If you want to truly indulge, a recovery week is the perfect time to go for a massage or cryotherapy session.

How Often to Take Some Time Off?
I feel like this is a personal decision based on your fitness level, age, and lifestyle. If you feel run down, your lifts aren’t going in the right direction, or your sleep is suffering, it may be time to take some time off. That being said, don’t take too much time away from the gym. It can be hard to get started again once you get out of the habit. A week should be enough time to recover without knocking you out of your fitness routine. When in doubt, talk to your coach. They can help provide some insight on reasons you aren’t progressing as fast as you would like.

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