You hear it all the time: “you have to be consistent with your workouts if you hope to build muscle and burn fat” and “being consistent is the only real way to make any gains.”
While we all know that this advice is true for muscle building and fat burning, new science is shedding light on the age-old practice of taking breaks between training phases.
It's a common practice for bodybuilders to take a one-week break or rest period at the end of bulking and cutting cycles. This is done primarily to rest the body and allow it to “normalize” in anticipation of the start of a cutting or bulking phase and the corresponding changes in training practices.
But new science shows that taking a total break can make you fat. In fact, the science shows that missing workouts and taking extended breaks from exercise – not exercising consistently – increases your chances of getting fat - more so than eating fatty foods!
So here's the straight-talk from FUSION: If you're reaching the end of one training-phase and about to start another, don't take a total break from activity. Instead, continue doing light cardiovascular exercise, or play a sport. Do something – just don't become a couch potato. This will not only stop you from getting fat, but it will keep your conditioning up so you have less “catch-up” work to do once you get back in the game.
Source: DOE/Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (2008, February 9). Irregular Exercise Pattern May Add Pounds.
- FUSION Research Team