Ask The Trainer #144 – Workout Cycles & Recovery

Ask The Trainer #144 - Workout Cycles & Recovery


I have a question about workout cycling. I currently have the schedule of weight training (45-60 min) M, W, F and cardio (20-30 min) Tues and Thurs. And I supplement with Kre Alkalyn EFX, Karbolyn Fuel, GlutaZorb, and Test Charge.

I’ve noticed that when I reach a plateau after a couple of months, I can take a week off from the workout schedule and notice better results afterward. What would you recommend for somebody say 5’8″, 160#, 10% body fat as a duration in weeks before breaking for a week a maximize results? Also, what would you consider a realistic goal for muscle gain on a yearly basis?

Thanks again & prove ’em wrong!



Hi, Michael. No problem my friend. I’m honored you find the newsletter beneficial!

I’m impressed with both your training split and your supplement stack! It’s great you recognize the importance of focusing on recovery because most people do not. Even so, the progress you’ve made thus far has subsequently increased the demands of your physiology. Therefore, you need even longer recovery periods between training sessions.

As your muscular size and strength increases, it inevitably results in an even greater depletion of the biochemical resources you need to recover and grow. If you continue moving in this direction for any length of time, this depletion becomes acute. Exhaustion sets in, greatly diminishing your ambition to train.

Rest Is Critical

When you deplete your local reserves of adaptive energy during training, resting is the only way to restore energy from deeper biological sources. You must allow enough time between intense workouts to completely restore your local adaptive energy reserves. If you fail to rest and force yourself to grind through workouts in an exhausted state, you will lose muscle size and strength.

If you ignore this, you will end up in a more severe state of exhaustion. You will also experience more unwelcome side effects. These may include a weaker immune system, depression, inability to concentrate, and more aches and pains throughout your body.

Recovery Efficiency

There is a bell curve that represents individual recovery efficiency. It ranges from those with a sluggish recovery ability to those endowed with superior recovery ability. Regardless of where you fall on this spectrum, overtraining ultimately has the same consequences for everyone. It just effects some sooner than others, based on their recovery ability.

More recovery time is the remedy. But, how much? I think it’s a great idea to take 1 full week off following a consistent 8-week training cycle. This should replenish your localized adaptive energy stores.

Add 2 Extra Rest Days

When you resume your training regimen, add 2 extra days of recovery between weight lifting sessions. This will help you avoid falling into the same pattern again.

When I make this suggestion, some people believe more inactivity will make them fat. Not true. You can still be moderately active on these extra rest days. Whatever you do, make sure it doesn’t over deplete your local energy reserves so they are not ready in time for your next weight training session.

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking you must directly train every muscle of your body every single week. Your physiology doesn’t pay attention to the calendar. Your muscles recover and grow on their own time.


Certain muscle groups overlap with secondary muscles during certain workouts.

For example, when you do pulling exercises on Back Day, you also stimulate your biceps and rear deltoids. When you do pushing exercises on Chest Day, you also heavily use your triceps and front deltoids. As you do certain exercises standing up, like dead-lifts or barbell rows, you engage your hip and leg muscles.

At the end of the day, your body’s ability to recover between workouts dictates muscular growth and strength. This is something most trainees fail to consider.

So, how much progress can you make in one year? That’s a tough question to answer because there are many variables to consider. For example, age, genetics, stress levels, nutrition, sleep quality, and your job type all factor into this.

Training History Matters

Over time, your body becomes more efficient at adapting to imposed stresses. Therefore, if you’ve trained consistently for decades like I have, results come much more slowly.

However, for relatively new trainees, the amount of progress that may be realized can be very profound. In fact, I’ve seen some younger new trainees pack on 30-40 quality pounds of muscle within 1 year! Naturally too!

Otherwise, it’s very realistic for an average person to pack on 7-10 pounds of muscle in a year. That may not sound like a lot. But, picture 7-10 lb. of sirloin steak sitting on your dining room table. Now suddenly adding that much muscle in a year isn’t too shabby!

I hope this information helps answer your questions, Michael. Thank you so much for reading our newsletters. We sincerely appreciate it!

Prove ‘Em Wrong,
Chad Shaw

Have A Question For Chad?

Just click the button below.