Nobody can be at 100% all of the time. When athletes try to play with that intensity, they usually wash out of their game after a few years. Those professionals who have the ability to step back for a few months every off-season to allow the bodies – and more importantly their minds – to rest are usually those with much greater longevity in the sport of their choosing. When it comes to bodybuilding, the same tenets apply.
Those bodybuilders who take 2 to 3 months off of continuous training following a tough competitive season are usually the guys that end up being able to compete for 10 year or more. On the other hand, the men who complete a show, take the afternoon off, then return to the gym at full voracity the next morning are more likely to burn out, either mentally or physically, before their more relaxed peers.
The same rules can apply to you, on a much smaller scale. We all know that as a non-professional bodybuilder, you have many more things in life that are more important than bodybuilding. Family, work, school, and friends should always come first. Bodybuilding is but a tool to help you enjoy these things more! Finding the time and discipline to force yourself to train, eat right, and use proper supplementation for months without a break is very tough when you have other things on your mind. For this, reason, a program where you “follow all the rules” during the week (Monday through Friday) then give yourself a break on the weekends might be your best bet!
You should be training Monday through Friday. Saturday and Sunday should be automatic rest days. It may be easy to force yourself to hit the gym on a Thursday or Friday when you’re feeling run down if you know that from Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon, you don’t have to think about the iron! One caveat – don’t start your week with chest when training in this manner – the bench press area is packed on Mondays!
Force yourself to eat extremely clean from Monday through Friday. Zero cheat meals, and complete portion discipline. However, when the weekend rolls around, you stop counting calories and protein grams, and just eat whatever your body craves. Just keep the junk food in small portions to prevent digestion problems.
Use your supplements religiously from Monday through Friday. When the weekend comes, give yourself a break! Multivitamins should still be taken over the weekend, but leave the creatine in the cabinet. Your body will be much more receptive to it on Monday anyway!
And when the weekend rolls around…
Don’t think about anything related to bodybuilding on Saturday or Sunday. The good news is that after conducting yourself with 100% discipline in all of these major areas for the last week, you’ll probably keep up many of the habits you developed during the week. You may discover your body is craving solid carbohydrate sources and a protein shake by noon on Saturday! However, the mental recharge and the fact that you know you don’t have to stick to such a rigid regimen will keep you refreshed and with a positive mindset during those rigorous weekdays.