Is the recovery week necessary? I get asked that a lot. And here we are… I remember when I was on my first round of P90X, and I was so fired up to get maximum results in a 90 day period that I wanted to push and push and push myself to the limit. The idea of taking a “recovery week” did not appeal to me. Why not just keep lifting hard? Wouldn’t that give me better results?
Well, I trusted in what the smart folks at Beachbody designed, so I took the recovery week, and I learned a couple things:
#1 — The recovery week is actually a tough week! It’s not a bunch of sitting around and stretching. Core Synergistics is an hour long, and it’s tough! The cardio is a little easier without Plyo on the schedule, but it still gets the heart rate up and the sweat flowing.
#2 — Giving the major muscle groups a week off actually gets them stronger, fully rejuvenated, and ready to take it up a notch as you start the next phase. I was shocked with how much stronger I was coming out of the recovery week.
I will always take my recovery weeks. While I love pushing myself, I must remember that muscles grow while resting, not while working. If I never give the muscles the extra rest they need after 3 weeks of hard lifting, my results will actually suffer! I know it sounds backward, but it’s true.
The same goes with the “48 hour rule”. Since muscles grow while resting, you have to give the major muscle groups 48 hours of rest between heavy resistance days. That’s why alternating lift days and cardio days is such a good idea. I know we want to get ripped as fast as possible, but if we go at it foolishly, overtraining and wearing our bodies out, we will end up with inferior results.
It’s not just about the lifting. It’s about timing the workouts, timing the nutrition, and timing the supplements. So much goes into a successful physical transformation. And since the folks at Beachbody have put it into a complete plan for us, my advice is to follow their plan! Take the recovery week! Alternate lift and cardio days to rest the muscles. And supplement properly to refuel yourself and bounce back faster (with a post-workout supplement like RECOVER or something similar).
Don’t get me wrong, you can substitute, do more intense cardio (like MAX 30, the Asylum, etc.), and create hybrids, but no matter what you develop as your training schedule, give your body those recovery weeks it needs and you’ll see better results in the end!
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