Those who seek to build muscle mass have different views on vacations, with some believing that several weeks of consistent weight training workouts should be followed with a break of at least one week, while others fearing the very idea of taking a vacation from bodybuilding, to the point where they try to find a gym even when they are on a pleasure trip with family or friends. The true answer to how a bodybuilder must deal with vacations in order to avoid any significant negative impact on muscle mass is somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.
It’s very easy to become obsessive with weight training, to the point where skipping a workout quickly brings about fears of significant muscle mass reduction, and this can cause those who pursue bodybuilding to actually try and avoid vacations so that they can remain consistent with their weight training workout routines at all times. This, to the outsider, seems excessive, and there is no doubt that, mentally, living such a one-track bodybuilding lifestyle can bring about depression and alienation from family and friends.
Others aim for breaks from weight training workouts every several weeks, performing their weight lifting and aerobic sessions for 4-6 weeks, and then taking a 1-2 week sabbatical from building muscle mass before beginning another 4-6 week cycle. This technique can delay bodybuilding progress significantly, so I recommend, instead, planning breaks from weight training around special occasions (Christmas, summer vacations, birthdays, etc), and saving unexpected vacations for times when illness strikes (flu, injuries, etc), so that you can comfortably move away from building muscle mass for 1-2 weeks during times of the year when you have places to see and people to spend time with, or when you are sidelined with an unexpected illness or injury.
The amount of muscle mass lost during a vacation from weight training can be significant if the time away from such workouts is excessive, so a reasonable period of time to vacation from weight lifting is one week, and preferably, a vacation should never exceed two weeks, as the body begins to reduce muscle mass after a 1-2 week period (depending on individual genetics). If you are taking a trip that requires a longer time away from your normal weight training workout session, consider following an abbreviated schedule, where each body part is trained once per week with lower volume, at least to try and encourage maintenance of muscle mass during your trip. This technique can be used for a vacation of any duration, but is especially important if you are taking a trip that will exceed two weeks. Such an approach allows for very short weight lifting workouts that stimulate the muscle sufficiently to delay catabolism (muscle loss).
In regards to the frequency of breaks from weight training, this will depend on your individual schedule and lifestyle. Generally, if you wish to build maximum muscle mass, the less breaks of an extended duration that you take, the more progress you will achieve, yet a one week vacation several times per year is beneficial for the mind and body. Just make sure that such vacations occur at extended intervals, with at least two months (preferably three) of weight training consistency preceding a break.
Also, do not neglect the importance of proper diet during a vacation from weight training, as abandoning sufficient protein or carbohydrates during time spent away from your bodybuilding workouts can cause rapid muscle mass reduction, where otherwise, by observing an effective eating plan, very little negative change will occur. Most are not opposed to eating on vacation (that’s half the fun), but just make sure to consume sufficient protein during such periods, and aim for carbohydrates at maintenance levels in order to discourage unnecessary muscle mass loss or fat gain (although some fat increase is fine during vacations if you remain dedicated and consistent with your weight training workouts and diet throughout the remainder of the year, since you can quickly burn any accumulated fat when returning home from vacation).
Many bodybuilders believe that using extremely heavy weights for their workouts will lead to larger muscle mass gains when compared with a higher rep workout focus, and this theory is correct to a degree. Heavy weight and lower rep bodybuilding sessions do produce larger, more dense looking muscles, so it’s no surprise that most who strive for increased muscle mass perform at least a portion of their weight lifting workouts using a lower rep range.
Yet, the problem for many bodybuilders is that their desire for low reps and high weight far too often causes them to sacrifice proper weight training form, which can lead to serious injury. If research were conducted on the subject, I would not be surprised to learn that the majority of those who experience injuries are modifying form for heavier weight, which causes muscles to function in awkward ways, leading to muscle strains, tears, and tendon issues. In fact, muscle mass is maximized only if consistent weight training can be maintained for an extended period, and many individuals find themselves taking unplanned vacations from their bodybuilding workouts due to chronic pain stemming specifically from improper exercise form.
The desire is usually strong to modify form in order to increase weight used for a particular exercise, especially when using low reps and heavy weight, and when a lifter does not immediately correct such behavior, he or she will gradually modify form to the point where the exercise not only becomes dangerous, but is then far less likely to build muscle mass.
What all bodybuilders who seek to maximize muscle mass must remember is that the term “heavy” is relative, and proper weight lifting form is far more important than the amount of weight used. Therefore, when you are contemplating adding weight to a bodybuilding exercise, make sure that you are doing so with proper execution in mind at ALL times, adding weight in very small increments to avoid encouraging incorrect, awkward exercise performance.
If you find yourself gradually modifying form in order to consistently add weight to an exercise, then you should immediately reduce the amount of weight used by 10-20 lbs, focusing on the mind/muscle connection during each set, only adding weight (in small increments) when you are once again confident that form is 100% correct. Many fear a lack of results if weight is not added for 2-3 exercise sessions, when it’s actually very common for muscle mass to continue improving while you stay with the same weight for several workouts. By using improper form to try and artificially enhance the amount of weight used in a workout, you will actually risk building less muscle mass in the long run, as the injury potential increases, and the risk of removing emphasis away from the intended muscle group is high.
Remember that the success of your bodybuilding pursuits will be based primarily on how consistent you are able to perform your weight training workout sessions, and using heavy weight with improper form will lead to injuries, thus impacting your overall muscle building progress in a negative way.
I designed the MuscleNOW bodybuilding program to provide you with the correct amount of low and high rep training so you can minimize injuries and maximize muscle mass. In addition, I offer pictures and vivid descriptions of each exercise so you can maintain perfect form. Please view the hundreds of muscle building testimonials that will show how truly effective my MuscleNOW bodybuilding program will be in building muscle mass naturally, without supplements or steroids.
Most who seek to gain weight fail to realize that popular bodybuilding “bulk” diet methods also force the body to add a large amount of fat, which ruins appearance. I cannot stress enough the importance of a proper bodybuilding diet in ensuring that weight gained is in the form of muscle mass, as otherwise, fat will comprise the majority of body weight increase; I am sure you’ve heard many brag over 20 new lbs of weight in a short period, yet one must ask, 20 new lbs of what? If it’s simply fat weight, with three inches added to the stomach, you’re not going to improve your mirror reflection, only the scale reading. Again, the goal is to improve appearance as a result of weight gain, meaning you must gain muscle mass, and the only possible way of ensuring such a state is to minimize body fat increase. High calorie, haphazard weight gain diet plans lead to substantial fat accumulation, which is the very opposite of what you wish to achieve — never forget this!
I suffered from very high body fat levels in my attempt to gain weight, and unfortunately, many others follow similar flawed advice that leads to massive fat gains (easily found on various muscle building Internet sites and bodybuilding magazines). If you are looking to gain fat, simply eat large quantities of junk food, but if you’re goal is to improve appearance with muscle, such improvements require specific, detailed diet and weight training rules, none of which originate from “traditional” weight gain tidbits.
Remember, building muscle mass naturally is only possible with proper weight lifting and diet methods, and you risk high levels of body fat through the adoption of common weight gain advice (especially if you decide to use a weight gain powder!). I have personally gained over 60 lbs of muscle mass, and had to burn over 50 pounds of fat due to errors in my weight gain approach; learn from both my success and mistakes through the MuscleNOW bodybuilding program, where I will teach you how to gain weight naturally, without bodybuilding supplements or drugs. The hundreds of muscle building testimonials here at MuscleNOW.com are evidence that my MuscleNOW bodybuilding program is all that you need to gain weight (muscle mass) naturally, without supplements or steroids.