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How NOT to Return from an Exercise Break
By: Marc David

Several sites, including this one, recommend that you take a break every 8 weeks after working out with weights. But how do you come back from that break and get back into your routine?

Does anyone suggest you just jump back in and do the same intensity as when you last left off? Definitely not.

This article will share a personal insight that I’m positive many people have faced when returning from a break or an injury. It will answer the question: how should I return to my workout after a week’s break from anything but relaxation?

Every 8 weeks I take a complete break from the weights. This allows my joints to recover, my body to heal, and gives me time to think about the next 8 weeks and my objectives. Upon returning to the gym you can take one of two approaches. Return full speed ahead, since you’ve had the rest, with the same intensity and the same weights. Or you can ease your body back into the program and reestablish the mind-to-muscle link that you have probably read about. (I suggest the second approach.)

Upon my return, I stepped up to the aerobics machine. A type of stair-master to be exact, and immediately selected level 10 out of 20. My memory recalls (if I used a journal) that I had previously been able to handle this level. By the end of the workout, I felt overworked, tired, out of breath and was at level 6. My body could handle it, but not as efficiently as it had previously. (I was not at all satisfied.)

Easing your body back into a workout for the first week allows the mind-to-muscle link to be reestablished. It further allows your body to adjust to an increased level of intensity for the upcoming months. Coming back from a break and then immediately going into an overtraining mode does not entice your body or your mind want to continue the abuse.

If given the two approaches to returning from a break, I now opt for the second approach. Easing your body back into the routine will allow for a mind-muscle-link to be reestablished and your progress will most likely increase. Take the first week to get accustomed to your routine (60% intensity) and the next 8 weeks to accomplish your goals (100% intensity).

About The Author

Marc David has a degree in Criminal Justice from Sacramento State, a 16 year history of non-competitive bodybuilding and is the owner of Freedomfly -the fitness network! For free fitness tools, discount supplements, fitness consultation, and workout routines, visit

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The Power of Stretching    - Dave Snape


Your muscles ache from a good stretch. This is quite
normal and is part of the process. Stretching has
seemingly been with us and particularly with athletes
since the beginning of time.

A very key point to good stretching is to hold the
stretch for at least seventeen seconds. This is a
pearl of wisdom gleaned from a ballet teacher a few
years back. She said that any stretch under 17
seconds was just not effective.

The 17 second rule is exceeded in the high intensity
Bikram's yoga where stretches are held for about 30
seconds. Don't forget the high level of heat that is
used in Bikram's to extract that last little bit of
stretch out of your muscles. An interesting twist that
is not necessary to gain benefits from stretching. But,
it can't hurt, right?

So what kind of benefits can you expect from
stretching? That's an easy one. Have you ever seen the
movie, Blood Sport? Did you know that Frank Dux could
truly stretch his body to the extreme. The actor that
played him was quite elastic as well.

Great elasticity is also something you might see in
well trained Spetsnaz (Russian) agents. They often work
out with Russian kettlebells too. They are for superior
strength gains and the ability to withstand ballistic

Why are stretching and flexibility considered important
to these people? Stretching gives one the ability to
have explosive power available at one's fingertips
without the need to warm up. Of course most of us are
not martial artists or agents. But, you'll be happy to
know there are plenty of other benefits.

Let me give you an example. After learning to sit in
the full lotus position for long periods of time, my
ankles became very flexible. One day I was walking
along and my left foot fell into a pothole. This mishap
pushed my ankle sideways to about 90 degrees from it's
normal position.

Amazingly, this didn't even hurt, not one bit. If my
ankle hadn't been so flexible, I may have suffered a
sprained ankle. At the very least, it would have hurt
for days.

Key point: stretching helps you to avoid injuries.
Not only that but if you do have a muscle, tendon or
ligament injury it should heal faster, theoretically

Stretching actually grows the ligaments, tendons and
muscles being stretched. They really grow longer over

Check with your physician before undertaking any type
of exercise, including stretching.

Here is some good instructional material on stretching:

Dave Snape

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